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View Full Version : 40% of Atheists and Agonistics Believe in God, According to Latest Poll


SilentScope001
07-07-2007, 07:05 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17875540/site/newsweek/

12. Which one of the following statements come closest to your views about the origin and development of human beings? Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process (or) Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process (or) God created humans pretty much in the present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?

Current Total
God Guided Process 30%
God Had No Part 13%
Created in Present Form 48%
Other/Don't Know 9%

Evangelical Protestants
God guided process 18%
God had no part 4%
Created in present form 73%
Other/Don't Know 5%

Non-Evangelical Protestants
God guided process 42%
God had no part 9%
Created in present form 39%
Other/Don't Know 10%

Catholics
God guided process 42%
God had no part 11%
Created in present form 41%
Other/Don't Know 6%

Agnostics/Atheists
God guided process 27%
God had no part 45%
Created in Present Form 13%
Other/Don't Know 15%

The NEWSWEEK Poll, conducted March 28-March 29, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for questions based on all registered voters and plus or minus 6 percentage points for results based on registered Republicans and Republican leaners. In conducting the poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates International interviewed 1,004 adults aged 18 and older.
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...Uh. Can someone explain me how an Atheist/Agnostic believes that God guided the process of Evolution and yet manitan a belief that said God may or may not exist? Somehow, this poll just sounds...well...uh...stupid. I sincercly doubt either the atheist/agnostic's sanity or this Newsweek Poll's accuracy (mostly the latter).

GarfieldJL
07-07-2007, 07:20 PM
Sounds to me like MSNBC didn't do a good job in figuring out who went where, big surprise there.

MdKnightR
07-07-2007, 10:03 PM
...Uh. Can someone explain me how an Atheist/Agnostic believes that God guided the process of Evolution and yet manitan a belief that said God may or may not exist? Somehow, this poll just sounds...well...uh...stupid. I sincercly doubt either the atheist/agnostic's sanity or this Newsweek Poll's accuracy (mostly the latter).

I think you explained it quite well. Its a garbage poll. :smash:

Jae Onasi
07-07-2007, 10:51 PM
I think this is possible--agnostics believe 'something is out there' and are OK with calling that 'God'. To make it more valid, they should have separated out the atheists entirely from the agnostics to see how atheists polled, and that would have made more sense. It's entirely possible for someone to answer inconsistently, too--some may label themselves as agnostic for one reason or another but still believe God had a hand in making the universe.

This always reminds me of the saying "There are no atheists in foxholes."

SykoRevan
07-07-2007, 11:04 PM
I am also reminded of the "No Atheists in foxholes" theory, and that phrase and it's implication disgusts me personally. As a Strong Atheist, I feel the need to put in my 2 cents. It sounds to me like some people lied on the survey because they were naturally uncomfortable with divulging that information, or someone didn't add the numbers in correctly. And as Jae said, they should have separated Atheists from Agnostics, as they are 2 different forms of belief. My guess is, MSNBC grouped the Atheists and agnostics together to make the results support the No Atheists in foxholes theory. But that may just be my distrustful paranoia towards the mass media, ever since Bill Weir of Good Morning America and Katie Couric of the Today Show started using that phrase. I also saw the other questions on that poll, and there are 3 that stand out in my eyes.

14. Do you believe in God?

91%
Yes

6%
No

3%
Don't know

16. Would you describe yourself as an atheist?

3%
Yes

96%
No

1%
Don't know

17. Do you think this country is more accepting or less accepting of atheism today than it was in the past, or about the same?

47%
More accepting

9%
Less accepting

38%
Same

6%
Don't know

I find it interesting that only 6 percent of the people said they did not believe in God, while only 3 percent called themselves Atheists. Personally, I believe that if the question was "Do you feel comfortable telling people you are an Atheist," nobody would answer yes to that question who has ever told someone they are an Atheist, which is why I find question 17 the most interesting, as only 9 percent think the country is less accepting of Atheists. I'm kind of torn between "less tolerant" and "same," since Atheists have never really been "tolerated" by others since this country was born. Regardless, the 47% who said "more accepting" are wrong. They may be tolerant of Atheists themselves, but this country is sure as heck not. Some Atheists even have to lie about their affiliation to fit in with the other 97 percent of the country, probably contributing to the results of the poll. Calling oneself an Atheist is like putting a big bullseye right on your face, at least in my experience, and that of other Atheists I know or have talked to.

SilentScope001
07-07-2007, 11:31 PM
This always reminds me of the saying "There are no atheists in foxholes."

Personally, that theory does not make a lot of sense. Since the major reason people do go into foxholes these days are to defend secular causes (like the United States of America), it seems that one does not need to believe in God. In fact, many people can abandon their faith and become atheists within foxholes, thanks to the "Problem of Evil".

EDIT: I would have had no problem had they seperated agnostics from atheists, but, to defend them, they probraly thought that agnostics and atheists are very small groups, and they do share similar charasteicis, so it might be better to combine them than to leave them seperate and have higher chances of making errors based on a small sample size.

Corinthian
07-07-2007, 11:57 PM
That's not what the saying means, Silent Scope. And it's not a theory, it's a saying. The saying essentially means that there are no true Atheists, everyone believes in a God deep down.

SilentScope001
07-08-2007, 12:00 AM
The saying essentially means that there are no true Atheists, everyone believes in a God deep down.

And I personally disagree. I know many people who deep down don't really believe in God. :)

An Atheist states that there is no invisible being that controls the universe. I can live with that. I don't believe it, but I can concevibly see someone who does.

GarfieldJL
07-08-2007, 12:04 AM
And I personally disagree. I know many people who deep down don't really believe in God. :)

An Atheist states that there is no invisible being that controls the universe. I can live with that. I don't believe it, but I can concevibly see someone who does.


It really takes just as much faith to believe in god as it takes to believe there is no god.

Corinthian
07-08-2007, 12:09 AM
Logically, Scope, you can't tell if someone does or does not believe in something if they bury it in their spirit.

John Galt
07-08-2007, 12:13 AM
This always reminds me of the saying "There are no atheists in foxholes."

That isn't an arguement against atheism, it's an arguement against foxholes, or so they say.

I'd call this a garbage poll, poorly conducted and most likely poorly compiled.

Hallucination
07-08-2007, 12:21 AM
As an atheist I would like to say that I believe God created us in our present form.


I had to say that. :p

Pavlos
07-08-2007, 05:37 AM
I think this is possible--agnostics believe 'something is out there' and are OK with calling that 'God'.

Hmm... having spent time as an agnostic (that's a really odd way to start a sentence) I'd probably just place them in the "don't know" category rather than the "believe something" one - unless I labelled myself without knowing what the connotations of the label were. Which, knowing me, is more than likely.

I'd probably label - I'm beginning to dislike this word, it sounds like I'm putting people in boxes - someone who believes in a god but that god has no influence on their daily lives as a deist rather than an agnostic.

It really takes just as much faith to believe in god as it takes to believe there is no god.

I'd really say that's incorrect because as an atheist I don't believe in anything. Mine is the absence of faith, not the belief in nothing - which can be a difficult concept to grasp for one who believes :).

Nancy Allen``
07-08-2007, 09:28 AM
This always reminds me of the saying "There are no atheists in foxholes."

I think the quote means that when you're in a foxhole (litrially a hole you dig yourself in during combat, but can mean going through a very trying time) you hedge your bets on there being a God to save you.

Samuel Dravis
07-08-2007, 02:54 PM
Perhaps the people answering those questions made distinctions between "denying the existence of X god" and "denying the evidence for said existence of X god." I wouldn't label myself atheist if it meant being taken as someone who thinks they know that a god doesn't exist. To me that would be foolish, because it would be an unwarranted assumption on my part.

I have no clue how atheists would end up saying they believed in theistic evolution/creationism, however. Either the poll is messed up or the agnostics skewed the results.

Nancy, I believe that interpretation is simply Pascal's Wager - and I somehow doubt that an entity such as a god would reward such 'faith' by the person who believes simply because they have nothing to lose. Since that action would be inherently self-serving, I really don't see a christian-style god being too happy with it.

Nancy Allen``
07-08-2007, 06:10 PM
If you believe in the story of Jesus at the end (rather very close to the end) when he is crucified with the two criminals, one of them recognises him as the Lord and Savior and begs for forgiveness, which Jesus grants him. I'm not sure how effective turning from Atheism in a foxhole or Pascal's Wager or whatever term you want to use for it would be, but that's the story.

SilentScope001
07-08-2007, 07:25 PM
Pascal's wager works like this:
--If God exist, then if you worship God, you get infinite reward. If you do not worship God, you get infinite punishment.
--If God does not exist, then no matter what you do, you will receive 0 reward or punishment.
--It is impossible to verify if God exist or does not exist, so there is a 50-50 chance that God exist.

Therefore, it is better to worship God to get a 50-50 chance of an infinite reward and to avoid the infinite punishment.

EDIT: The "foxhole" theory is actually a variation of Pascal's wager, more like:

--If God exist, then if you worship God, then God will get you out of the foxhole alive (and the chance of escaping the foxhole goes to 100%). If you do not worship God, then God will kill you in the foxhole (and the chance of escaping the foxhole goes to 0%).
--If God does not exist, then the chances of getting out of the foxhole alive is 50-50.
--It is impossible to know if God exist.

Therefore, it is better to worship God to ensure a 50-50 chance of escaping from the foxhole alive.

PoiuyWired
07-09-2007, 05:22 AM
But the whole thing about the Foxhole theory is that it is assumed there are no alternatives. In the situation where there ARE other variants and alternatives, then it would not work right.

In this case of the foxhole, there are different "groups of gods/diety" from different religions, and many of them are mutually exclusive. So not believing in "one type of diety" does not mean atheist.

Ray Jones
07-09-2007, 07:09 AM
From Wikipedia:

The statement "There are no atheists in foxholes" is used to imply that atheists really do believe in a god deep down, and that in times of extreme stress or fear, such as when participating in warfare, the belief will surface, overwhelming the less substantial affectation of atheism.

PazaakPrincess
07-09-2007, 10:12 AM
My guess:

There were no actual Atheists polled.

People who proclaims themselves as such are generally not confused as to what they believe or more acurately what they do not believe... in my opinion.

Darth InSidious
07-09-2007, 06:17 PM
In technicality, agnosticism is the denial of any creditable evidence either for or against the existence of a God or gods, and the resultant inhabitance of the position that we cannot answer the question.

People who "believe in something" are just unclear.

I'd also like to call into question a poll in which 11% of Catholics poll as believing that God "played no part" and where 41% believe we were created in our present form. That sounds far from Catholic to me, but what would I know? I'm only a Catholic, after all...

Dagobahn Eagle
07-11-2007, 10:46 AM
As was said, probably a good deal of them were agnostic. No big mystery there.

--If God does not exist, then no matter what you do, you will receive 0 reward or punishment.You're forgetting the billions of other gods out there besides Yahweh. What if there's a god that rewards atheism? Heck, what if there's a god that rewards abolition of Christianity?

If we knew for sure that Pascal's Wager was not a false dilemma, that is, if we knew that a. God exists or b. no gods exist were the only two options, it'd be a good wager. It isn't, though.

It really takes just as much faith to believe in god as it takes to believe there is no god.Nope. It takes me no faith at all to not belive in things. I don't believe in God, Odin, Oni, trolls, or other entities - and I do so with no faith at all.

i_shot_the_jedi
07-11-2007, 12:51 PM
All that poll seems to show is that there are a heck of a lot of confused people out there. That, and labels are slapped around too freely.

--If God exists, then if you worship God, you get infinite reward. If you do not worship God, you get infinite punishment.

I do not believe any supposedly good deity would reward people simply because they worship it. In fact, I find the entire idea of eternal bliss/punishment a somewhat ridiculous proposition; and I cannot fathom why any wise, righteous god would operate such a tyrannical and hypocritical system. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Reclaimer
07-13-2007, 05:17 AM
As an Atheist, I can without a doubt say I don't believe in god. The whole "There are no Atheists in foxholes" is garbage. Yes, there are people who call themselves atheist, and they're not, but then there are people like myself, who are true atheists, and don't believe in a god. The problem with surveys like these, are that;

1) The amount of true atheists are low in the world, or people follow Jainism, a form of atheism.

2) The people who answered the questions probably not being truthful. I know some people who are atheist, but feel ashamed they are.

Surveys/Polls like these aren't accurate anyway, so I wouldn't trust it in the first place.

MdKnightR
07-13-2007, 10:26 AM
^^^^I don't know where you get the idea that Jainism is a form of Atheism. Jainism is definitely a religious faith. Just because they don't believe in one omnipotent supreme being does not make them Atheists.

Reclaimer
07-13-2007, 10:58 AM
^^^^I don't know where you get the idea that Jainism is a form of Atheism. Jainism is definitely a religious faith. Just because they don't believe in one omnipotent supreme being does not make them Atheists.

Jainism - A religion founded by Nataputta, who was a royal clan of the Nata tribe in ancient India at the time of Shakyamuni. Its basic doctrine is non-materialistic atheism.


Right there, and I never said they were total atheists. I just said their beliefs involved a form of atheism.

MdKnightR
07-14-2007, 12:41 AM
Jainism - A religion founded by Nataputta, who was a royal clan of the Nata tribe in ancient India at the time of Shakyamuni. Its basic doctrine is non-materialistic atheism.


Right there, and I never said they were total atheists. I just said their beliefs involved a form of atheism.

Can you post your source?

Dagobahn Eagle
07-16-2007, 01:33 PM
According to Wikipedia, Jainism has a god.