Last week we took a look at the part ‘Faith’ is or is not playing in our society. We could see that statically faith that our Founding Fathers had in God and his Word has and is dwindling in today’s society. Faith in man and in self is dangerously replacing our foundations and proving to be a failure of foundation. This week we will take a look at our society’s beliefs about God and Jesus.
Most Americans believe in God – or at least some type of “higher power”, “universal power”, “supreme being”, or God-like power. Eighty-six percent of adults believe in some such concept of God no matter how the individual defines that entity. That is a substantial decline from 96% to 98% that registered such belief every year from the 1940’s through mid-1990’s. [Gallup Politics, June 3, 2011, http://www.gallup.com/video/147893; Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-14 OL-PH”, a national survey among 2,036 adults eighteen or older, January 2014; Gallup.org, ! “Religion”, http://www.gallup.com/poll/1690/Religion.aspx on August 14, 2014]. The vast majority of the 86% indicate that they never doubt the existence of God.
For millions of Americans, indicating that they believe in God does not mean that they embrace to notion of a personal, omnipotent Creator being. Only about six out of ten adults (62%) describe their idea of the God they believe in as “the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe who still rules the world today” [Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-14 OL-PH] . A growing number of adults are defining God as their own capacity for divinity (24%). One of the fastest growing and most frequently chronicled faith groups in the United States is the segment that holds a skeptical view of any and all forms of divinity…believing that there is no God or that we have no way of knowing if there is or isn’t a God. Still, though, 54% agree that the complexity of the universe is a convincing argument for the existence of God – that the enormity and sophistication of the universe is beyond the control of humanity, cannot be explained by chance, and thus requires the existence of a supreme being that is continually and expertly guiding all creation.
Dubious about God’s omnipotence, just 29% believe that God controls what happens on earth, while a larger share (37%) claim that God does not control what happens here. Just 8% assert that God neither observes nor controls anything that happens and a sizable remaining portion (25%) are either not sure or dismissively maintain there is no God [HarrisInteractive.com, “Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles, and Heaven Declines”, December 16, 2013]
A view that is held by a minority of Americans (41%) is that God cares enough about us individually to have a unique plan for each person’s life. However, the more popular view seems to be that God, if He exists, may guide us but that what we do is up to our own determination [Wave III Baylor Religion Survey, “The Values and Beliefs of the American Public”, September 2011].
And then there are society’s views on God and Jesus. Just 52% of adults “approve” of God’s job performance…what world do they live in? Seventy-one percent approve of His work in making everything out of nothing…surely God appreciates that. As might be expected there is additional confusion regarding the person Christians consider to be the Son of God – Jesus Christ. Eighty-two percent believe that Jesus Christ was a historical person – that is, He was a human being who walked the face of the earth some two thousand years ago. Fewer people (two out of every three adults) believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Almost the same number believes that He died and was resurrected as described in the Bible. Unfortunately that statistic has been steadily dropping to what it is today…87% in 1994 to 65% today. In 1994, 78% accepted as a true historical event the Virgin Birth of Jesus by Mary. Today that percentage is held at just 57% by the adult public.
Despite the concerns Americans display about God and Jesus, the proportion who claim they have made a personal commitment to Him has remained steady over the past two decades. In 1994, 64% claimed such a commitment to Christ and it was still at 62% in 2014.
When we look at the social attitudes today’! s society takes toward God and Jesus is it any wonder that Christianity has declined in its ability to impact our national morals? This presents a massive challenge to God’s churches in bringing God’s Word into the daily lives and routine of every citizen. When God no longer matters to a society it is easy for the government to take His place. Will we ever see “In God We Trust” replaced with “In Washington We Trust”? It can happen if God’s children become too comfortable. It’s happened before and can happen again. After all, the Bible talks of the coming “TRIBULATION”. What kind of a world will we leave future generations?
Next week we will take a look at society’s beliefs about the Bible. Is it just the world’s most popular literary piece or is it truly a document of guidance written by inspired men of God to provide us guidance for living on earth? Our society’s opinion will shape the nation we live in and eventually our world experience.
– Bob Munsey
P.S. – I have done a study on the Barbary pirates and our dealing with them. Secular historical revisionists have used a letter written during the 1796 treaty to twist our Constitution into supporting separation of church and state. Unfortunately, our leadership and judiciary have bought this lie and thus contributed to a morally failing nation. In a few weeks, as I can work it into the subject matter, I will quote the subject paragraph in the treaty and briefly explain how it has been misinterpreted by those looking to keep Christian principles out of government decision making.