There are news reports out this morning on a new poll stating that “76 percent of Americans are True Believers.” However, I find it more remarkable that basically one-fourth of Americans said that they do not believe in God. Given the continued lure of faith-based politics, it is remarkable that atheists and agnostics still have so little influence on politicians. There are few groups that can claim one out of four Americans and yet politicians continue to denounce those who do not believe in God. That includes people who simply say that they do not know one way or the other. The poll has some other interesting facts.
Thirty-eight percent of Americans believe that they have received direct orders from God to take particular actions in their lives. Of those who believe in God, 53 percent believe God plays an active role in dictating weather and disasters. Only 17 percent believe that God does not play such a role.
By the way, despite common misconceptions, there is little difference between Democrats and Republicans on such questions. Some 42 percent of Republicans believe that they are acting on God’s orders as opposed to 40 percent of Democrats. Fittingly, “independents” are least likely to believe in such divine direction.
Yet, I am struck by the large number of atheists and agnostics given their small influence on politics. Compare more powerful groups like the 34 percent of gun owners or 22 percent Tea Party supporters or 12.9 percent over 65 or 3.5 percent Gay population or the 2.2 percent Jewish population. Non-believers constitute 25 percent of the population but continue to be not only marginalized politically but vilified socially. It is an interesting contrast with other groups of similar or strikingly smaller size with more power politically.
What do you think?