Sometimes religious faith can be a stronger force within an individual mind than a preponderance of scientific theory and fact. And just because some complain that there is a war on religion does not mean the secularist contingent is winning. According to a recent poll, nearly half of Americans believe in the creationist view of how humans and the cosmos came to be, with another 37 percent believing in divinely guided evolution. The poll also indicated that seven out of ten of those who attended religious services regularly were more likely to hold creationist views.
In the latest Gallup poll, conducted for USA Today, the findings revealed that little has changed over the past 30 years with regard to the percentages of Americans that believe in creationism as opposed to those who do not. If anything, the findings indicate that those who believe that God created the Earth and humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago (or less) constitute 2 percent more of the population than in 1982 (46 percent to 44 percent), when the questions were first asked. The number is also up 6 percent from a similar 2011 poll and one point above the 30-year average.
The poll also shows that those who believe God had nothing to do with the creation process and the evolution of the human species have also increased from 1982 (15 percent as opposed to 9 percent). However, the number is down a point from last year's survey but still 3 percentage points higher than the 30-year average.
A third position addresses those that intermingle both beliefs, that humans are evolving but doing so with divine guidance. Nearly four of ten Americans (38 percent) held those beliefs in 1982 and last year but decreased to 32 percent in the 2012 survey. The "theistic evolution" view returns a 37 percent 30-year average.
In all, 78 percent of Americans believe that God has at least some measure of control over worldly affairs.
The poll indicated that those who attended religious services on a weekly basis were more likely to hold with creationist beliefs; that is, the more religious, the more likely respondents were to be creationists. Some 67 percent of regular service-goers are creationists. When added to the "theistic evolution" contingent, those that hold some belief in God make of 92 percent of those that attend weekly services. Interestingly, 3 percent of those that attend weekly are nonbelievers.
The poll also revealed that respondents with post-graduate degrees were more likely to believe the theistic evolution view (42 percent) or that there was no divine guidance in the evolutionary process (29 percent). And Democrats were less likely to be creationists (41 percent to 58 percent) and tied with Independents as more likely to believe in evolution without the interference of a deity (19 percent to 5 percent).
Gallup concludes from the survey that the numbers hold well to the historic averages (with a margin of error of +/-4 percent), stating "there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins," which is a common cry among those with a religious bent.
Still, the survey does not indicate the increase in raw numbers commensurate with the population increase over the past thirty years. Even if one were to simply go by the 30-year averages, the increase in the creationist population is enormous.
In 1982, when the population of the United States was nearly 232 million, 45 percent of the overall population would measure out to just over 101 million people holding creationist views. In comparison, the 37 percent holding the theistic evolution belief would have been comprised of nearly 89 million Americans. As for the evolutionists, there would have been nearly 28 million (12 percent).
By 2012, with the population of the United States having ballooned to 313 million, the same percentages would generate: almost 141 million creationists, nearly 116 million theistic evolutionists, and just over 37.5 million evolutionists.
The numbers being averages, they don't add up to 100 percent, so there are millions that fall outside the survey. And yet, it is clear that Americans believing evolution is bunk and God created the Earth and humans within the last 10,000 years (creationism) or that God is the driving force behind evolution (theistic evolution) far outnumber those who hold with secular or non-belief systems. So if there is a war on religion, it has been fairly unsuccessful in the last thirty years in winning over the hearts and minds of believers. In fact, in terms of numerical strength and despite complaints to the contrary, the creationists appear to be winning.