How religious are Americans?

I was intrigued by Bush’s observation that America might be undergoing a third great awakening. So, I turned to the Baylor Religion Survey that came out this week to see what the numbers revealed. Most of the coverage has emphasized that the report found that there are 10 million fewer Americans who have absolutely no ...

606649_BushPraying5.jpg
606649_BushPraying5.jpg

I was intrigued by Bush's observation that America might be undergoing a third great awakening. So, I turned to the Baylor Religion Survey that came out this week to see what the numbers revealed. Most of the coverage has emphasized that the report found that there are 10 million fewer Americans who have absolutely no religious affiliation than previously thought. But there are equally fascinating numbers buried in the study—which is based on a survey by Gallup of a nationally representative sample of 1,721 people in the winter of 2005. (I've rounded all numbers up or down and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.) There isn't a single African-American atheist in the sample, but one of the researchers at Baylor told me that the omission wasn't a methodological flaw, but rather "there are just so few atheist African-Americans that you're not going to pick them up in a sample of 1,700." Here are a few of the more interesting results:

Religion and Politics

Percent of Americans who think that God favors the United States:
19

I was intrigued by Bush’s observation that America might be undergoing a third great awakening. So, I turned to the Baylor Religion Survey that came out this week to see what the numbers revealed. Most of the coverage has emphasized that the report found that there are 10 million fewer Americans who have absolutely no religious affiliation than previously thought. But there are equally fascinating numbers buried in the study—which is based on a survey by Gallup of a nationally representative sample of 1,721 people in the winter of 2005. (I’ve rounded all numbers up or down and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.) There isn’t a single African-American atheist in the sample, but one of the researchers at Baylor told me that the omission wasn’t a methodological flaw, but rather “there are just so few atheist African-Americans that you’re not going to pick them up in a sample of 1,700.” Here are a few of the more interesting results:

Religion and Politics

Percent of Americans who think that God favors the United States: 19
Percent of Republicans who think that God favors the United States: 30
Percent of Bush voters who disagree: 57
Percent of Southerners who disagree: 62

Percent of evangelicals who think God favors a political party: (From the way some people talk you would think this number would be much higher.) 8
Percent of Bush voters who think God favors a political party:  7

 

God sells
I knew the Mel Gibson flick Passion of the Christ had done well but I almost fell off my chair when I read this:

Percent of Americans who had seen Passion of the Christ: 44
Percent who have read The DaVinci Code: 29
Percent who have read one of the Left Behind series: 19
Percent who have read one of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life books: 19
Percent of evangelical Protestants who spend $50 or more on religious products a month: 54

 

East coasters are superstitious
A greater percentage of them believe in alien UFOs, tarot cards, haunted houses, and communicating with the dead than anyone else.

Finally, a fact that suggests a certain amount of theological confusion: 10 percent of Jews believe Jesus is the son of God.

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

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