American’s belief in each of five “religious entities” – God, angels, heaven, hell and the devil – has continued its decline, according to a new poll released by Gallup.
The polling organization reports that since 2016, American’s belief in these five entities has fallen by between three and five percent.
And when compared to just two decades ago, the decline is all the more dramatic.
Belief in God has fallen by 16% since 2001. At the turn of the century, 90% of Americans professed a belief in God. Now that number is 74%. Similar declines have occurred for the other four “religious entities.”
And yet, a majority of Americans still believe in each of these spiritual realities, shown as follows:
- 74% believe in God,
- 69% believe in angels,
- 67% believe in heaven,
- 59% believe in hell,
- 58% believe in the devil.
Gallup notes that the organization “has documented sharp declines in church attendance, confidence in organized religion and religious identification in recent years. Americans’ beliefs regarding God, angels, heaven, hell and the devil have also fallen by double digits since 2001.”
“Still, U.S. adults’ belief in each entity remains at the majority level, and regular churchgoers, Protestants and Republicans, in particular, remain largely resolute in their beliefs.”
This substantial decline in religion in America, which Gallup has tracked, is often referred to as the “rise of the nones.”
That is, those who declare “no” religious belief at all.
On the surface, it may appear that Americans are leaving the pews in droves. And there is some truth to that.
However, that’s not the whole truth.
Some churches are losing members. But it is actually the more liberal churches that are dying.
Additionally, the “nones” are not a new group. Rather, these individuals are primarily those who, 20 years ago, would have professed Christianity to a pollster, but their theology wouldn’t have gone much deeper than that.
That is, the “nones” were never generally faithful, orthodox, committed believers in the first place.
Despite what you may here, conservative, evangelical churches are, in fact, growing.
As we’ve previously pointed out,
Nearly all the growth in Christianity in the United States and around the world today is among the more conservative and historically, biblically faithful churches. It is the liberal, biblically compromising churches that are hemorrhaging members by the millions.
Additionally, it’s important for the discerning Christian to remember that church growth does not always equate with a church’s orthodoxy. For example, Mormonism has a growth rate of 50% in just the past two decades. But that doesn’t mean that Mormonism is true.
Similarly, even if conservative churches were to decline, that wouldn’t make their professions of faith untrue.
So, despite the headlines declaring a decline of religion, remember, there is more that is going on here than meets the eye.
If you’re having doubts about your faith, Focus on the Family is here to help. Consider the following resources.
Christian author and apologist Lee Strobel recently appeared on the Focus on the Family Broadcast to discuss his new book The Case for Heaven. On the broadcast, titled “Believing in the Hope of Heaven,” Strobel examines why our culture chases immortality and the evidence for the existence of the soul.
You can also purchase a copy of The Case for Christ here.
To speak with a family help specialist or request resources, please call us at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
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