Poll: More than 9 in 10 Americans continue to believe in God

posted at 5:22 pm on June 3, 2011 by Tina Korbe

According to a Gallup poll released today, 92 percent of Americans say “yes” when asked the basic question, “Do you believe in God?” In nearly 70 years, that belief has remained relatively stable. In 1944, when Gallup first asked the question, 96 percent said yes.

That’s not to say American believers experience no doubts. Respondents wavered a little bit when given more than just “yes” and “no” choices. Fourteen percent, for example, said they think God “probably exists, but have a little doubt.” An additional 5 percent said they think God “probably exists, but have a lot of doubt.” Even so, a robust 73 percent still said they are “convinced” God exists.

Not surprisingly, belief varied among different age groups and across regions. Among my peers, just 84 percent say they believe in God. Southerners are 10 points more likely to say they believe in God than Easterners.

To me, this poll comes as hopeful news — a much-needed reminder that the basic fabric of American belief hasn’t changed all that much, countless cultural signs to the contrary. But I’m comforted by more than just the continuity of the tradition. I’m comforted, too, by what it suggests Americans seek. Maybe this is an extrapolation, but it seems to me the American readiness to admit a belief in God says something about our willingness to risk foolishness for the sake of truth — a worthy risk, I think.

Maybe I’ve been in doubt as to how open the American mind actually is to truth because I’m a relatively recent college graduate — and, all too often, I fear, the university experience encourages the deconstruction of “social constructs” more than it encourages the courageous acceptance of reality “in the totality of its factors.”

Or maybe I’ve just been thinking along these lines since I read the article, “Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking,” in this month’s issue of First Things. R.R. Reno writes:

Clear-minded and scrupulous analysis clears the underbrush of error — a very good thing to do — but it cannot plant the seeds of truth; it burns away the weeds but won’t fertilize the fields. To do so we must be receptive rather than cautious. We need to develop the habit of credulity, which literally means the capacity and willingness to accept or believe, for that is the only way truth can enter into our minds. To hold anything as true we have to be able to say, “Yes, I think that’s true.” Critical reasoning, by contrast, trains us to hesitate, interrogate and withdraw our assent: “Hmm, I wonder if that’s true. Perhaps it’s false? How do I know it isn’t?” We don’t so much seek as wait — wait for compelling evidence or solid proofs.

Therein lies the danger of our enthusiasm for “critical thinking.” If we fear error too much and thus overvalue critical reason, we develop a mind active and able in doubt but largely untrained to move toward belief, which is, after all, the main work of the mind. A mentality too quick to find reasons not to nurture convictions runs the risk of ending up more empty than accurate.

“More empty than accurate.” Now, that’s not a risk worth taking. More than I fear inaccuracy, more than I fear foolishness, I fear emptiness — and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

None of this is an apologetic for God — but it is a statement of pride and relief in the results of this poll and in what it says about the bravery of Americans who still dare to profess belief in a postmodern world.


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Oops.

that might be in their creed
that might NOT be in their creed
itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 6:38 PM

In a letter to Prof Dawkins, Dr Came [a philosophy lecturer and fellow atheist, from Worcester College, Oxford] said: “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.

http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/is-richard-dawkins-a-coward/

davidk on June 3, 2011 at 6:38 PM

just 84 percent say they believe in God

.
Horrors! Yet they bravely stand up to the tyranny of the other %16. Puhleeze.

ronsfi on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

My point was that if we mock AGW believers, it is only fair we mock all the other religions equally.

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Atheism & agnosticism are religions.

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

My point was that if we mock AGW believers, it is only fair we mock all the other religions equally PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT SCIENTIFIC FACTS ARE DECIDED BY TAKING A VOTE.

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Fixed

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Why would someone with the slightest intelligence spend their entire life and energy fighting a God that they are certain doesn’t exist? Unless…they know well that He exists and have failed to convince themselves that he doesn’t, and just refuse to serve Him. Either way they are inarguably, fools.

Don L on June 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Well said!

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Ditto that “Well said!”. Spending all your time and energy raging against something you claim you believe not to exist is one definition of insanity. (or as they say, “being hip deep in De Nile.”)

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

“All the other religions” aren’t trying to use their beliefs to strangle our economy, dimbulb.

Uncle Sams Nephew on June 3, 2011 at 6:31 PM

As I already said, a belief in a particular religion is not as bad as a belief in global warming, but it is just as bad in the context of logic. And as so, they should be equally mocked. If nobody believed in things for which there is no evidence, we would have total freedom for we would have no religious dogma and no environmentalist dogma.

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

In God, both.

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

I think a better question would be to ask what “level” of God do you believe in? Do you believe that God is intimately involved in your life, or, for you, is he somewhere up there just observing it all?

SouthernGent on June 3, 2011 at 6:36 PM

You don’t have to think that hard.

“Be not afraid, only believe.” Mark 5:36

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Atheism & agnosticism are religions.

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Check your dictionary. Atheism can be considered a religion for it makes a statement of certainty on something for which is can not know for a fact. Agnosticism, on the other hand, says it does not know if there is a god, one may or may not exist, and therefore is neutral on the subject.

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

in things for which there is no evidence…

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Such as life spontaneously creating itself from inorganic materials, by accident, for no reason, to accomplish nothing.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Look fellas, I’m a Christian and this week a friend of mine gave me a book to read called “23 Minutes in Hell”. I believe in God, in Jesus and Heaven and Hell. After reading this book, I was horrified at this guy’s experience. You’ve heard of people with near death experiences traveling to Heaven, then returning to earth–well, this is the opposite. The author states that this is merely his experience–and he corroborates it with biblical descriptions of hell as well as others experiences. I know Jesus died for my sins to save me from hell, and now I know more than I ever wanted to know about why he did it. consider reading this book–

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I think a better question would be to ask what “level” of God do you believe in? Do you believe that God is intimately involved in your life, or, for you, is he somewhere up there just observing it all?

SouthernGent on June 3, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Sorry, forgot reference, earlier…

In God, both.

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

If nobody believed in things for which there is no evidence, we would have total freedom.
keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Catch-22: there is no evidence that freedom exists.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

This explains why Maoist China and Stalinist Russia were the freest nations the world has ever known.

Can rocks be either free or slaves? Those terms are random descriptions for which there is no basis.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I sense a vast emptiness approaches the left as cancer consumes Hitchens.

I will pray for all your lost souls.

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I know Jesus died for my sins to save me from hell, and now I know more than I ever wanted to know about why he did it. consider reading this book–

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Took the bait…

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I’m a Christian too, but Paul never frightened anybody into faith. Not to get into it here… but some of us reject the concept of a fiery, eternal torture chamber.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

My point was that if we mock AGW believers, it is only fair we mock all the other religions equally.

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Atheism & agnosticism are religions.

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

To be fair, I’ve seen both of those mocked in these threads as well.

malclave on June 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

None of this is an apologetic for God — but it is a statement of pride and relief in the results of this poll and in what it says about the bravery of Americans who still dare to profess belief in a postmodern world.

Strange disconnect, the conversation we are ostensibly having and the one we are actually having.

I mean this: I wonder how postmodern the world actually is, if the world is defined as the individual people and their individual opinions.

Axe on June 3, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Can rocks be either free or slaves? Those terms are random descriptions for which there is no basis.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Only liberals want to give rights to nature, while denying us the right to express our belief in God.

Noted Communist Van Jones Wants To Give Human Rights To Rocks And Dirt

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Awesome ! Thanks !! I need to read that !
A few years ago, I sat over a lunch (that neither of us funished) and listened to a loved one describe a ‘Tell me! was this trip to hell ?’ vision, myself !!
Went home and all things checked out, scripturally !!
Nearly PMP, but I sure fell to my knees !!

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM

I’m a Christian too, but Paul never frightened anybody into faith. Not to get into it here… but some of us reject the concept of a fiery, eternal torture chamber.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

i know, i know. The guy isn’t trying to do that one bit–its his story. I didn’t need to be frightened into faith, the book is frightening me out of hell–and i believe its a real place, where people have real bodies and suffer real torment.

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:45 PM

They didn’t need religion to keep them down. They had communism. Which is a religious belief in how to run society.

We will never get rid of faith in a higher power. It will be with us always. It is part of the human psyche. What we can get rid of is organized religion on a massive global scale.

keep the change on June 3, 2011 at 6:53 PM

I’d be more relieved if I was this guy.

AshleyTKing on June 3, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Took the bait…

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

after a week of meat tweet jokes, I felt I had to assuage myself somehow…../

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:54 PM

the question or statement i believe in GOD that says nothin on faith for satan believes in the exsitance of

rico101 on June 3, 2011 at 6:56 PM

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Yeah, those ‘fire insurance’ conversions don’t seem terribly legit, admittedly, but with Godly counsel, those can find Him Who = Life and Freedom, now.

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Can rocks be either free or slaves? Those terms are random descriptions for which there is no basis.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Indeed and that’s the point “keep the change” is terrifiied to ponder, much less address. I likewise pointed out his “freedom” did not exist. As I noted, he painted himself into a Catch-22 corner.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM

I’m shocked 92 percent of people who are brainwashed from birth to believe god exists continue to believe. I figured it was 98, 99 percent. I haven’t been to a public school in at least a semester recruiting for my child atheist army, I guess someone else is picking up the slack. U-S-A! U-S-A!

FWIW, 92 percent of people sure as hell don’t behave as though any form of a personal god exists. I’ll not soon forget being 18 years old, a month from graduating high school, and watching in horror to what the American government does to people who clearly believe in god – if Waco didn’t make you question your god and your state, I’m not sure what would. But, not being a devil, temptation and silly introspection aren’t my thing – have fun with your personal beliefs.

/Palin12

elcapt on June 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 7:08 PM

you’re welcome. it’s a short read but i’m still reeling from his descriptions.
Best, tc

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

elcapt on June 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM

The gov’t wasn’t attacking them bc they believed in God, but bc they belived what Koresh was teaching… They wanted him for stockpiling arms in accordance to his teachings.
Nat’l security ring a bell ?

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 7:30 PM

BTW, I sat in our living room, with our 17yo son, and watched the compound burn ( which we’d both been to, btw) and we struggled, too.

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Atheism & agnosticism are religions.

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

How is agnosticism a religion?

DarkCurrent on June 3, 2011 at 7:40 PM

How is agnosticism a religion?

DarkCurrent on June 3, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Joy Behar is the High Priestess

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I’m a Christian too, but Paul never frightened anybody into faith.

Jesus sure did. In fact, Jesus tells us much more about hell than heaven. From the Sermon on the Mount to the Last Supper.

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM

after a week of meat tweet jokes, I felt I had to assuage myself somehow…../

ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:54 PM

ROFLMAO…

assuage my meet tweets…

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Better find a new bible

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Better find a new bible
Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Really? I prefer the NA27 original Greek text. Which is this “new bible” you contend is better?

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Better find a new bible

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Does yours have this?

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

sharrukin on June 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Really? I prefer the NA27 original Greek text. Which is this “new bible” you contend is better?

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 7:47 PM

You better find one where Jesus talks more about Love than of Hell.

Before it’s too late

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

sharrukin on June 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

That’s a siesta compared to the false prophet’s koran

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 8:01 PM

You better find one where Jesus talks more about Love than of Hell.
Before it’s too late
Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Oh, now you change the subject. We were discussing Jesus’ statements on heaven vs. hell not love vs. hell. I guess you realized you didn’t know what you were talking about. On a similar matter, you may want to count how many times in the Gospels Jesus mentions righteousness vs. love. Since God is perfectly righteous it would be impossible for him to be a God of love without a hell.

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Why would someone with the slightest intelligence spend their entire life and energy fighting a God global warming theory that they are certain doesn’t exist? Unless…they know well that He it exists and have failed to convince themselves that he it doesn’t, and just refuse to serve Him Gaia like us superior liberals. Either way they are inarguably, fools.

Don L on June 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

I believe in God, but I don’t know that it’s warranted to challenge the intellectual honesty of atheism on the whole with fallacious arguments like this. Some atheists deserve that (as do some Christians), but as people who hold individualist philosophies here, lets try not to paint with too broad a brush.

ReformedAndDangerous on June 3, 2011 at 8:05 PM

before it’s too late……

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I know Jesus died for my sins to save me from hell, and now I know more than I ever wanted to know about why he did it. consider reading this book–
ted c on June 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Took the bait…

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

laughed out loud there. I think I am going to install a keyboard zapper over here; give it a German accent.

bzzzzt – Nein!

Axe on June 3, 2011 at 8:09 PM

From a book called “The Brooklyn Wager”:

“Do you think about God much, Anthony?”, she suddenly spoke up.
“Every now and then.”
“Can you handle listening to a philosophical point I’ve been mulling over in my mind for a few days now?”
“Sure. Go ahead.”
“I was thinking. God is supposed to be King of the Universe, right?”
“That’s what Father Nunzio says.”
“And He existed even before He created the World, right?”
“That’s what Father Nunzio says.”
“Then how could He have been King way back then?”
“I don’t understand, Tiff. Why couldn’t He have been?”
Tiffany sat up straight to better explain the question to him.
“You can’t be a king if you have no subjects – you know, no one to rule over? That’s a contradiction in terms. God may have existed, but He couldn’t have been a king before He created people.”
“Hmm. I never thought about that. Give me a sec.”
Anthony furrowed his brow, then buried his head in his hands as he considered that poser of a query. After about ninety seconds of concentrated thought, he bolted up to his feet as if he had a Divine revelation. He paced in front of Tiffany in excitement like any expectant father would be doing in the maternity ward of that same institution.
The other people stared at him suspiciously, some pulling their kids a little closer to themselves but saying nothing out of fear of antagonizing this eccentric youth further.
“Do you realize the ramifications of your question, Tiffany? If God has only been a king since He created people, then – in a way – Mankind is very powerful.”
“What do you mean?”
“If people choose to totally ignore God and bring evil into the world against His Will – like senseless war, for example, or treating others harshly, then – in effect – humans have dethroned Him. He stills exists, but He’s not a king anymore. It follows, then, that every time someone does a kind act, they’re keeping God on His Throne, as it were, ensuring He has subjects to rule over.”
They paused for a moment to reflect on Anthony’s spectacular philosophical epiphany. He sat down suddenly, breathless and exhausted as if he was punching out after a full day’s heavy-duty labor at the docks.
“Wow! That’s really deep! How’d you ever come up with that?”
“I . . . I really don’t know. I guess listening to all those Sunday sermons when I was a choirboy had some positive osmotic effect.”

honsy on June 3, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Since God is perfectly righteous it would be impossible for him to be a God of love without a hell.

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:04 PM

i think where you will run into some misunderstandings is on the meaning of “Hell”, tommyboy. For example, the “annialationist” take is Hell is real but it entails total destruction by hellfire as opposed to an eternity of “enhanced interrogation”.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:11 PM

That’s a siesta compared to the false prophet’s koran

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 8:01 PM

An act taken by a deity is a very different thing than one taken by a prophet or one held up as an example to follow.

Jesus is that example within Christianity, and Mohamed is that example within Islam. They are two starkly different examples and we see very different behaviors from their respective followers due to this.

sharrukin on June 3, 2011 at 8:11 PM

i think where you will run into some misunderstandings is on the meaning of “Hell”, tommyboy. For example, the “annialationist” take is Hell is real but it entails total destruction by hellfire as opposed to an eternity of “enhanced interrogation”.
whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Yes, annialationism is wrong. It certainly doesn’t describe a place where the “fire is NEVER quenched and the worm NEVER dies”

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:13 PM

A place where “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:15 PM

sharrukin on June 3, 2011 at 8:11 PM

You know Jesus and God are One Being, or do you have issues with that?

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 8:17 PM

A place where “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Where ever Moochelle is bedded down.

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 8:21 PM

You know Jesus and God are One Being, or do you have issues with that?

Roy Rogers on June 3, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Not a Christian so why would I have an issue with it?

What I do know is that I would trust a Christian sooner than I would trust a Muslim due to the examples they follow. The Jesus of the New Testament is the moral example followed by Christians. Yes, I understand he is held to be the same as the God of the Old Testament, but functionally the New Testament Jesus is the moral example I cited just as Mohamed is the Islamic moral example.

sharrukin on June 3, 2011 at 8:23 PM

It certainly doesn’t describe a place where the “fire is NEVER quenched and the worm NEVER dies”
tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:13 PM

That is a reference to the dump of Gehenna outside the city walls of Jerusalem in Jesus’ era where all manner of garbage was burned. The fire ended a long time ago and I would suspect all the worms have long since passed on. The term “Gehenna” wasn’t translated as “Hell” until over ten centuries later.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM

The term “Gehenna” wasn’t translated as “Hell” until over ten centuries later.
whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Really? That would be a surprise to both Iraneaus and Tertullian both of who cited Mark 9:48 as a reference to hell prior to 200 AD.

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:37 PM

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Jesus ALWAYS referenced things those folks would understand… Ever heard the term ‘demonstration’ ??

pambi on June 3, 2011 at 8:47 PM

That would be a surprise to both Iraneaus and Tertullian both of who cited Mark 9:48 as a reference to hell prior to 200 AD

Actually that would be a surprise to me, since the term is of Germanic-Norse origin, leading to the Old English “hel” circa 700 A.D..

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Really? That would be a surprise to both Iraneaus and Tertullian both of who cited Mark 9:48 as a reference to hell prior to 200 AD.

The references have been used to mean Hell for a long time, possibly from the moment Jesus said the words, if you believe he meant Hell when he pointed to Gehenna and said “the fire will be there when the time comes, the grave will be there when the time comes.” But whatcat is right about the (anglicized) word Gehenna, i.e, the Valley of Gehenna, which, unlike Hell, is actually in the text.

PS. You can still believe in eternal punishment in Hell, you know. You have it in Revelation, the dragon being thrown into the lake of fire to suffer forever …

bzzzzzzzzt

Axe on June 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Actually that would be a surprise to me, since the term is of Germanic-Norse origin, leading to the Old English “hel” circa 700 A.D
whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Which is why both Iraneaus and Tertullian equate it to the Lake of Fire, as hell is described in Revelation. Iraneaus in “Against Heresies” and Tertullian in his commentary on the book of Revelation.

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:52 PM

The references have been used to mean Hell for a long time, possibly from the moment Jesus said the words
Axe on June 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Jesus wasn’t using it as a doctrine, Axe, since Judaism does not and did not, in His time, have a tortured-by-burning in hell forever concept. It was a doctrine developed later, with a lot of flavoring borrowed from Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. At any rate, it wasn’t a fully formed concept as most people know it today.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Which is why both Iraneaus and Tertullian equate it to the Lake of Fire, as hell is described in Revelation.
tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 8:52 PM

So when a wicked person (unsaved, whatever term) dies they are sent into the Lake Of Fire? I’m a bit puzzled – is that what you’re saying or ?, Tommyboy?

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 9:01 PM

But whatcat is right about the (anglicized) word Gehenna, i.e, the Valley of Gehenna, which, unlike Hell, is actually in the text.bzzzzzzzzt
Axe on June 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

No, the word actually in the text is γέεννα a derivitive of the Hebrew gā-Hinnom (the Valley of Tophet). For purposes of discussion I was colloquially using the english translation of “hell” to make the point apropos to the discussion. It is what every commentator in antiquity (and mostly since) understood Jesus to be discussing. I seriously doubt most of the readers here are versed in Koine Greek.

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM

So when a wicked person (unsaved, whatever term) dies they are sent into the Lake Of Fire? I’m a bit puzzled – is that what you’re saying or ?, Tommyboy?
whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 9:01 PM

No, that’s what the Bible says. Since we are all “wicked” people it’s why we need a savior. Your name is either in the book or life or it isn’t. If not, it’s the Lake of Fire. Rev. 20:15

tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 9:07 PM

I agree with you whatcat, as far as this little dust-up is concerned anyway. But it is a minority opinion. I am just trying to make some room for everyone. A reasonable person can believe otherwise, and I think it would be … embarassing to start cussing each other over Jesus.

Are you saying Jesus Christ can’t throw a curve ball?

We are so bad about that :)

And AllahPundit … oh how he laughs. Deep, evil, possibly while levitating.

Axe on June 3, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Why should it take bravery to profess what the vast majority of Americans profess? Surely it takes more majority to profess a minority opinion. Nonbelievers are one of the most mistrusted groups in America.

Mark Jaquith on June 3, 2011 at 9:10 PM

I seriously doubt most of the readers here are versed in Koine Greek.
tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM

And they really shouldn’t be expected to be so versed. It’s only when exploring how doctrines, as we know them today, came to be developed that it becomes important to be at least somewhat knowledgeable of ancient languages, customs, colloquialisms and beliefs.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 9:12 PM

And 9 out of 10 four year olds believe in Santa Claus. But at least they have an excuse…they’re four year olds.

chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

It is what every commentator in antiquity (and mostly since) understood Jesus to be discussing.

I meant to make that exact point, if I didn’t.
I see no use in further arguing etymology. If you want to refer to Gehenna as gā-Hinnom, or the Valley of Tophet, I’m there

Not physically there, mind. I’m packaged and addressed myself, and I have another destination to pack for.

Axe on June 3, 2011 at 9:21 PM

So when a wicked person (unsaved, whatever term) dies they are sent into the Lake Of Fire? I’m a bit puzzled – is that what you’re saying or ?, Tommyboy?
whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 9:01 PM
No, that’s what the Bible says. Since we are all “wicked” people it’s why we need a savior. Your name is either in the book or life or it isn’t. If not, it’s the Lake of Fire. Rev. 20:15
tommyboy on June 3, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Ah, my bad, I should have asked “is that what you believe?” to be more clear.
But, in that case your theology (Lake Of Fire = Hell) has quite a chronological problem, since the Lake Of Fire only comes into the picture at the end of time, after the Millennium and then it’s for Satan, the Beast, the False Prophet and those who followed them during that time. After that is the Great White Throne Judgement where the rest of the dead are judged by whether they did or bad things in their lifetimes -

Revelation Chapter 20

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Surely it takes more majority to profess a minority opinion. Nonbelievers are one of the most mistrusted groups in America.
Mark Jaquith on June 3, 2011 at 9:10 PM

I think “more majority” was a typo? You meant something like “bravery”? At any rate, being a minority that is in the wrong isn’t a virtue.

whatcat on June 3, 2011 at 9:25 PM

And 9 out of 10 four year olds believe in Santa Claus. But at least they have an excuse…they’re four year olds.

chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

+1

DarkCurrent on June 3, 2011 at 9:32 PM

None of this is an apologetic for God — but it is a statement of pride and relief in the results of this poll and in what it says about the bravery of Americans who still dare to profess belief in a postmodern world.

No bravery is required to answer a pollster in the US, dear.

Akzed on June 3, 2011 at 10:06 PM

chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

“I am superior to 94% of my countrymen,” -Atheist.

Akzed on June 3, 2011 at 10:07 PM

I’m starting to think they hired Tina Korbe to counter balance Allahpundit’s atheist posts.

DanStark on June 3, 2011 at 5:50 PM

What does Ed do then?

Mcguyver on June 3, 2011 at 10:23 PM

“I am superior to 94% of my countrymen,” -Atheist.

Akzed on June 3, 2011 at 10:07 PM

Who is the atheist you are quoting? I certainly said no such thing.

chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Who is the atheist you are quoting? I certainly said no such thing.

chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Almost all of the militant obnoxious ones.

sharrukin on June 3, 2011 at 11:10 PM

And 9 out of 10 four year olds believe in Santa Claus. But at least they have an excuse…they’re four year olds.

chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

+1

DarkCurrent on June 3, 2011 at 9:32 PM

And, as if on cue, my point is proven. If it weren’t so funny–and predictable–it might be offensive.

DRPrice on June 4, 2011 at 12:34 AM

I believe religion has helped bring us the blessings of civilization. Thus, it is beneficial to you even if you do not believe in it. Name a great civilization that lacked religion on a long term basis.

KW64 on June 4, 2011 at 12:59 AM

My take.

kingsjester on June 4, 2011 at 8:56 AM

“I am superior to 94% of my countrymen,” -Atheist. Akzed on June 3, 2011 at 10:07 PM

Who is the atheist you are quoting? I certainly said no such thing. chumpThreads on June 3, 2011 at 11:09 PM

I was quoting every atheist I ever talked to.

Akzed on June 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM

“since the Lake Of Fire only comes into the picture at the end of time, after the Millennium and then it’s for Satan, the Beast, the False Prophet and those who followed them during that time.”

There is nothing in Revelation to back that up. And the “last days” started immediately after Jesus’ death. (Acts chapter 2)People have been following Satan since Eve succombed to his temptation, so the book of life encompasses the entire history of creation.

tommyboy on June 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM

“since the Lake Of Fire only comes into the picture at the end of time, after the Millennium and then it’s for Satan, the Beast, the False Prophet and those who followed them during that time.”

There is nothing in Revelation to back that up.
tommyboy

Actually it says exactly that, I offered the link so you could read it verbatim. Here it is again:
Revelation Chapter 20
It is quite straightforward and clear. If the link isn’t working for you, though I don’t like long cut and pastings, the “money quote” is below.

the “last days” started immediately after Jesus’ death.

Now, you may be an extreme “preterist” – meaning you believe Jesus already returned, the Millennium is over, Armageddon occurred, etc, – I’ve just never met a preterist of such extent before (i.e. one who believes “it’s all over” in respect to all Biblical prophecy).
Book Of Revelation, Chapter 20, verse 7 thru 12 -
“When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

whatcat on June 4, 2011 at 3:39 PM

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