Beliefs change over time and nowadays it is difficult to classify someone solely as "believer" or "non-believer". There are some researches which show that the share of Americans who believe in God with absolute certainty has declined in recent years, while the share of those saying the do not believe in God at all has grown. However, a new Pew Research Center is trying to answer some more precise questions. When people say they do not believe in God, what are they rejecting? Are they rejecting belief in any higher power or spiritual force in the universe or are they rejecting traditional Christian idea of God? On the other hand, when people say they do believe in God, what do they believe in – God as described in the Bible, or some other spiritual force or supreme being?
According to Pewforum.org, a new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force. The survey questions that mention the Bible do not specify any particular verses or translations, leaving that up to each respondent’s understanding. But it is clear from questions elsewhere in the survey that Americans who say they believe in God “as described in the Bible” generally envision an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving deity who determines most or all of what happens in their lives. By contrast, people who say they believe in a “higher power or spiritual force” — but not in God as described in the Bible — are much less likely to believe in a deity who is omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent and active in human affairs.
It is also interesting that high percentage of those people who religiously identify themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”, sometimes referred to as “religious nones”, believe in a higher power of some kind. Almost nine out of ten Americans believe in a higher power of some kind but belief in the Biblical God, an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving and, at the same time, vengeful God, is on decline.
The data also shows that highly educated Americans are less likely to believe in the God of the Bible. Two thirds of those with a high school education say they believe in God of the Bible, roughly one half of those who have obtained some college education say they believe in the Biblical God, and among college graduates fewer than half say they believe in God as described in Bible. Also, college graduates are less likely to believe that God or some other higher power is actively involved in the world and people’s lives.
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