Do You Believe in God?
Do you believe in God? I don’t, unless “God” is shorthand for “the universe is an infinitely complex place governed by marvelously simple laws and contains powers, entities, and systems so far above my limited human understanding that to ruminate about them is as reasonable as an ant trying to understand the jumbo jet fying overhead.” I don’t think there is a single Creator-force that sits around making up lists of laws for humans to obey and gets petulant if they try to put their ding-a-lings in the “wrong” hole.
But for years I’ve been pestered by the Talibaniacs of the Religious Wrong who like to spout off that 90% of Americans believe in God. Like I’m the one with irrational superstitions or something. Well, it turns out that the 90% figure is just another one of the talking point lies:
Americans are often thought of as people who believe in God. But results of a new Harris Poll show that may be changing.
The poll found that 42 percent of all U.S. adults said they are not “absolutely certain” there is a God, including 15 percent who are “somewhat certain,” 11 percent who think there is probably no God and 16 percent who are not sure.
Not everyone who described themselves as Christian or Jewish said that they believed in God. Only 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics, and 30 percent of Jews said they are “absolutely certain” there is a God. However, most Christians who described themselves as “born-again” (93 percent) said they are absolutely certain there is a God.
And there’s where they’re trumpeting the 90% figure. Sheesh, that’s like proclaiming that 90% of the residents of Green Bay are Packers fans.
About 35 percent of all adults polled said that they attend religious services at least once a month, including 26 percent who said they attend every week or more often than that.
Nearly half of all adults polled (46 percent) said they attend services a few times a year or less frequently, while 18 percent said the never attend religious services.
Aha, maybe that’s why they’re so intent on posting the Ten Commandments in every courthouse, school, and public park. People go to those places more often.
Is God Male Or Female?
The public is almost equally divided between those who think of God as male (36 percent) and “neither male nor female” (37 percent), with 10 percent saying “both male and female.” Only 1 percent thinks of God as a female.
Weird. With all their worship of the creative power of a woman’s uterus, you’d think they’d ascribe creation to femininity. Who “birthed” the Universe, after all. No, wait, I forgot – women are just breeding vessels of the man’s creativity. You know, Adam’s rib and all that. My bad.
Only 29 percent of those polled said they believe God “controls what happens on Earth.” Of those believers, 57 percent were born-again Christians. And 44 percent of respondents said they believe that God “observes but does not control what happens on Earth.”
So 71% believe God doesn’t control earthly events, or at least He could, but doesn’t want to. Makes that whole “National Day of Prayer” seem kind of fruitless, don’t you think?
Do We Worship The Same God?
Poll results show that about 51 percent of all adults, including a majority of Catholics (63 percent), believe that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God. One-third (32 percent) said they believe they do not and 16 percent are not sure. On this question, as on the others, the views of born-again Christians are different — a 54 percent majority believes they do not worship the same God and only 34 percent believe they do.
My infinite omniscient omnipresent deity is bigger than your infinite omniscient omnipresent deity, nyah nyah nyah! Sure is easier to bomb those brown-skinned Muslims into eternal damnation when their God is a not-God.
On the issue of the declining numbers of people who believe in God, there is an interesting nugget of polling procedures that are of note to the GLBTQXYZPDQ community…
Are Believers Declining?
Three years ago, in an identical survey, 79 percent of adults said they believed in God and 66 percent said they were absolutely certain that there is a God. In this new survey, those numbers declined to 73 percent and 58 percent respectively.
Why The Changes?
There are some important differences between telephone polling and those conducted online, as this survey was. Several surveys find that people are more likely to admit potentially embarrassing beliefs of behaviors when answering online surveys than to admit these behaviors when talking to an actual interviewer on the phone.
According to Harris, people are three times more likely to say that their sexual orientation is gay, lesbian or bi-sexual online than over the phone. Researchers called this unwillingness to give honest answers to some questions in telephone surveys a social desirability bias.
Is this why we think the GLBT population is 10% of the whole and they think it is only 3%?
Speaking of the infinitely complex universe… I’m a big fan of NOVA, Cosmos, Discovery Science, and any show that takes eleven-dimensional quantum physics and reduces it to an entertaining show my liberal arts brain can handle. But last night there was a show, “Monster of the Milky Way”, that discussed the black hole at the center of our galaxy.
I’m fine with black holes – they are a point of infinite density that warps space-time into a “hole” of gravitation so powerful not even light can escape. I get that… I think.
What I don’t get is that they started discussing “supermassive black holes” – black holes many millions of miles in diameter. What the heck is a “supermassive” black hole? How can one infinite density be more massive than another infinite density? Are there any physics whizzes that can explain that to me?