New Pew survey: 21% of atheists believe in God

posted at 4:41 pm on June 23, 2008 by Allahpundit

Behold, my friends, the ultimate nuance.

atheist.jpg

Think that’s odd? Follow the link and scroll down to pages 9 and 11, where you’ll find 12% professing a belief in heaven and 10% praying at least once a week. (Note: That doesn’t mean meditation. That was posed in a separate question.) I can’t believe I have to ask this, but … do we actually need separate sects within atheism for those who are, um, actual atheists and those who aren’t?

Not much else will surprise you, particularly the coincidence between faith and politics on page 5, but do note the surprisingly low percentages for Jewish respondents on page 4. Is Judaism now more of a cultural institution than a religious one?

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It is actually an excellent poll question, to ask a question plus its negative in a different form. It let’s you know how many people actually understand the question (or are paying attention to it).

When you see other polls where atheism is increasing in this country, something else might be going on.

mpbk on June 23, 2008 at 6:18 PM

21% of athies beleive in GAIA

davod on June 23, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Not to be a self-promoter, but yeah, we thought of it.

BigD on June 23, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Yeah, I figured somebody must have.

malan89 on June 23, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Not only do 21% belive in God, 8% are absolutely certain. Weird.

melda on June 23, 2008 at 6:25 PM

I would like to see exactly how the pollsters asked the question.

Also, if I were to make a guess about how many atheists there are in this country based on comments and content on the internet I would think it would be about 40 percent. What is up with that?

terryannonline on June 23, 2008 at 6:30 PM

I prefer to think of myself as a 7th Day Atheist.

Blarg the Destroyer on June 23, 2008 at 6:36 PM

So. . . these atheists are really . . . agnostics? And they just don’t know that?

Troy Rasmussen on June 23, 2008 at 6:37 PM

Maybe they confused “atheist” with “a theist”.

jdpaz on June 23, 2008 at 6:46 PM

George Carlin was an atheist. Now he believes in God too. Too late for him though. Like Jesus said, if you reject me before men I will reject you before the Father. Unless he had some sort of 11th hour conversion, he has been rejected.

Mojave Mark on June 23, 2008 at 6:48 PM

One figure that I’ve never seen from polling organizations, for obvious logistical reasons, is “percentage of people who like to mess with pollsters.” Perhaps we have an indication of that percentage here? Reached by a pollster when I’m in the right mood, I might be tempted to give similarly bizarre answers.

Splunge on June 23, 2008 at 6:53 PM

last Saturdays Bible study drew 11 women and no men

rokemronnie, maybe some of us guys need to convert to Judaism and help our Jewish sisters … err, I mean brothers.

flenser on June 23, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Gershom Scholem (I think) wrote an excellent piece on why a Jew is always a Jew, no matter what he thinks or does or says or claims.

That sounds rather un-American, somehow. This is supposed to be the country where people can be what they want, not be chained to the past.

flenser on June 23, 2008 at 7:03 PM

That decision has always been made by the larger, non-Jewish community.

JiangxiDad

From what I can see, and what Anna says, it’s made more often by the Jewish community.

flenser on June 23, 2008 at 7:06 PM

One figure that I’ve never seen from polling organizations, for obvious logistical reasons, is “percentage of people who like to mess with pollsters.” Perhaps we have an indication of that percentage here? Reached by a pollster when I’m in the right mood, I might be tempted to give similarly bizarre answers.

Splunge on June 23, 2008 at 6:53 PM

Good point. If I had been polled I would have found it impossible to resist the urge to claim that I am a devout Pastafarian who is absolutely certain of the existence of the FSM.

Ars Moriendi on June 23, 2008 at 7:10 PM

Chalk it up to people who don’t know what these terms mean. My guess is the poll never defined the group. People confuse atheist with agnostic all the time. Speaking of which.. the poll asked about “certainty.” How can 55% of agnostics be certain God exists when by definition they believe it’s impossible to know.

We need to use the term Deist again to capture the group of people who believe in God, just not religion.

Spolitics on June 23, 2008 at 7:22 PM

How many believe that if there is life in outer space, it must be of superior inteligence?
Just how, by Thor’s Thundering Thighs, could it possibly be any stupider?

Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here.

TABoLK on June 23, 2008 at 7:23 PM

New poll: 21% of Atheists don’t understand the meaning of Atheism and are actually Agnostic.

NTWR on June 23, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Is Judaism now more of a cultural institution than a religious one?

What do you mean “now”? I’d say in my generation that this has been the case as long as I’ve been aware of Judaism.

RightWinged on June 23, 2008 at 7:52 PM

JiangxiDad on June 23, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Thanks for the bailout, Dad. Kind of bungled that.

Jaibones on June 23, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Seems like the atheists worry more about God than christians do….

DfDeportation on June 23, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Thor rules! wohoo!

Don’t take that away from me.

TheSitRep on June 23, 2008 at 8:38 PM

I do not believe in the talking snake.

JayHaw Phrenzie on June 23, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Thor rules! wohoo!

What are you, a heretic? Everyone knows that Odin is the All Father.

flenser on June 23, 2008 at 9:10 PM

I notice Allah didn’t say which category he’s in.

OneGyT on June 23, 2008 at 9:12 PM

This is all the effects of Rick Warren’s new book, “The Purposeless Driven Life”.

shick on June 23, 2008 at 9:18 PM

effects=effect

shick on June 23, 2008 at 9:19 PM

BURN THE HERETIC ATHEISTS !

BL@KBIRD on June 23, 2008 at 9:23 PM

The believing ones I mean…

BL@KBIRD on June 23, 2008 at 9:24 PM

Maybe atheists castigate instead of incinerate. Not up on their dogma.

BL@KBIRD on June 23, 2008 at 9:25 PM

What are you, a heretic? Everyone knows that Odin is the All Father.

The problem is that it’s hard to alliterate something amusing about Odin. Thor’s Thundering Thighs is both apt and absurd — AND it alliterates. While something like Odin’s One Eye may be considered alliterative (depending on the tradition; in some traditions any vowel sounds alliterate) and is apt, it just doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that ‘thunder thighs’ does.
Another good one would be “Jupiter’s Giant Genitalia,” but I’ve always found the Mediterranean mythoses (is that a word?) to be somewhat effete. I try to live by the rule of WWARBTVD (What Would A Rampaging, Blood-Thirsty Viking Do?).

Meetings with the boss are so much more enjoyable since I took that up. Plus, my BAB with Large Axe type weapons has improved to +15. Which is sweet.

TABoLK on June 23, 2008 at 9:47 PM

The main reason for this is that it isn’t our place to judge. God is the only judge of mankind. It doesn’t mean that people who have faith in God don’t think that others shouldn’t believe how they do. It’s that they believe God has a different plan for people.

The Holy Spirit works on Its own time unknown to any person.

We believe in a loving and just God. But also He is an all powerful God so it’s best to do what He likes as much as you can. We are tolerant because it isn’t our place to judge or ‘condemn to hell’.

ThackerAgency on June 23, 2008 at 9:54 PM

BLACKBIRD
No, atheists do much more than their share of killing & torture for “heresy”.

jgapinoy on June 23, 2008 at 10:09 PM

It lists atheists who believe in a god.
What a moronic survey.

Next.

Dave Rywall on June 23, 2008 at 11:02 PM

Believing atheist? Sounds like they need to join Slag-Bah. (Read the next page as well ….)

njcommuter on June 23, 2008 at 11:31 PM

WWAD…

right2bright on June 24, 2008 at 12:11 AM

Net believe in God/Absolutely certain/less certain 

% % %
Total population 92 71 22

Protestant 98 84 13
Evangelical churches 99 90 9
Mainline churches 97 73 25

Between 73% and 90% of Protestants are absolutely certain God exists, between 9% and 25%, not so much.

Does that mean that about 30% of Americans don’t have a clue?

This country needs a fleet of Billy Graham’s.

Speakup on June 24, 2008 at 1:04 AM

I also think it’s funny that only 5% of Agnostics “don’t know”

Dollayo on June 24, 2008 at 1:58 AM

Agnostic is Greek for the Latin ignoramus.

Akzed on June 24, 2008 at 9:10 AM

I am sorry that I spent so much time trying to figure out what you meant and suggest that you simply become a Unitarian. They believe in pretty much nothing but themselves, although they want desperately to believe there is a God just in case.

BigD on June 23, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Why? I stated that some people believe the Bible can be taken completely literal and now you’re suggesting that I join a church where people don’t even necessarily believe in God.

My statement wasn’t that confusing, and it had nothing to do with not believing in God or only believing in myself.

I believe in God. I believe in the Bible (though I’m undecided on interpretations). The only thing I don’t believe in are atheists. Yet somehow, you want me to be one.

That sounds rather un-American, somehow. This is supposed to be the country where people can be what they want, not be chained to the past.

flenser on June 23, 2008 at 7:03 PM

It makes sense if you view Jewish as an ethnicity rather than (or in addition to) a religion. A friend once explained to me that she was considered a Jew because her mother was born one even though neither of them practiced the faith.

If you look at it that way, it’s as American as saying a white person can’t become a black person even if Father Phleger really wants to.

Esthier on June 24, 2008 at 9:31 AM

I do not believe in the talking snake, however, like most good atheists, I DO believe that CyberCipher’s collie can talk. In fact, as near as I can tell, that dog is a certified genius.

JayHaw Phrenzie on June 23, 2008 at 8:51 PM

There. Fixed that for ya’. No need to thank me. Just bein’ neighborly.

CyberCipher on June 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM

I notice Allah didn’t say which category he’s in.

OneGyT on June 23, 2008 at 9:12 PM

Well, since he’s always saying “Good lord [sic]” and “in the name of god [sic]” and tossing glory to God around, I think we can deduce for ourselves.

inviolet on June 24, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Comment pages: 1 2