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Entered on: October 15, 2003 11:25 AM by Ross
Fox News Belief Poll  
More Americans believe in God than in heaven, but over a third believe in ghosts and UFOs.  
Fox News, of "Fair and Balanced" fame, has released the results of a survey just completed, revealing that 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God, 85 percent in heaven and 82 percent in miracles. Though belief in God remained at the same level from earlier surveys, belief in the devil increased from  
63 percent in 1997 to 71 percent today. In other beliefs, about a third of Americans believe in ghosts (34 percent) and an equal number in UFOs (34 percent), and about a quarter accept astrology (29 percent), reincarnation (25 percent) and witches (24 percent).  
An interesting gender gap was found on many of these topics. Women are more likely than men to believe in miracles (12 percentage point higher), and eight points more likely to believe in heaven. Not surprising to skeptics, the significant gender difference exception was for belief in UFOs, at 39 percent of men compared to 30 percent of women.  
Age also revealed differences, with 86 percent of adults between the ages of 18 to 34 believing in hell, which drops to 68 percent for those over age 70. Similarly, 79 percent of 18 to 34 year olds believe in the devil compared to 67 percent of the over-70 age group.  
Not surprising given the traditional split between conservatives and liberals on so many social issues and attitudes, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they believe in God (by eight percentage points), in heaven (by 10 points), in hell (by 15 points), and considerably more likely to believe in the devil (by 17 points). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they believe in reincarnation (by 14 percentage points), in astrology (by 14 points), in ghosts (by eight points) and UFOs (by five points).  
Equally distressing for nonbelievers, most Americans think religion plays too small a role in people's lives today (69 percent), with only 15 percent saying it plays too large a role and seven percent saying "about right." In a related finding, over a third (37 percent) say they attend church, synagogue or other place of worship at least once a week, 13 percent almost every week, 12 percent about once a month and 19 percent seldom attend. Three percent attend on holidays and 15 percent never attend.

NEWS 129 - 27 Comments
From: Creeko Entered on: October 16, 2003 9:00 AM
It?s frightening to think that 92% of Americans are so weak minded that they blindly believe in something that, even if they dedicated their whole lives to the study of it, could never prove the existence of a sanctified being.  
Hell if I had to choose between God or Aliens, I choose Aliens hands down. If there is life on earth the chances of it occurring in some other part of the universe are far greater than me believing in some holy creator.  
The problem with these statistics is that in American, it is frowned upon to be a nonbeliever, subsequently people probably have a tendency to say they believe even when they really don?t give a shit just to avoid being shunned.  
I think this survey is claiming the non-give-a-shitters as believers. Imagine if you will, someone who could care less if God truly exists, if he claimed to be a nonbeliever then he would have to defend his views, on the other hand, if he says he believes, he gets left alone.  
I?ll stick with logic and reason over fairy tales thank you. Like I?ve always said, if God really dose exist, why doesn?t he miracle my ass into believing?  

From: Ross Entered on: October 16, 2003 9:02 AM
On a related note, Roche and I were having a conversation yesterday about how an aetheist could never become president of this country. This article from the good folks at Skeptic put this article out today that discusses the same thing:
From: Ross Entered on: October 16, 2003 10:09 AM
Excellent points all, Creeko.  
I lump my girlfriend, when I first met her, into the non-give-a-shitters you mention. When conversation turned to religion for the first time, I told her that I was an aetheist and she was mildly shocked. I asked her how religious she was, and she really wasn't very religious, but went to church on occasion to appease her family. But when pressed, she didn't really have any strong religious beliefs. A non-give-a-shitter. Only claiming belief because it's socially required.  
Needless to say, she knows how I feel about that kind of thing now.
From: John Entered on: October 16, 2003 12:52 PM
Creeko - I couldn't agree more! My wife was quite religious when we met nearly a decade ago. I'm happy to report that she is now an aetheist which she became on her own terms. She has read most of the enlightening books that I have which aided her in her conversion. This is one thing we both agree on.
From: Swerb Entered on: October 16, 2003 6:02 PM
The thing I find odd is, isn't believing in god synonymous with believing in heaven, hell and miracles? Wouldn't you think that anyone who believed in an all-powerful Christian god would automatically believe in all that other crap? Are there subgroups of believers out there where people say, "I believe in god, but miracles are just too unrealistic for my tastes"? What's most enlightening about this article is how stupid and fickle people are.
From: Ross Entered on: October 16, 2003 6:27 PM
Swerb, two things: One, not everyone who believes in god believes in a Christian god. If you pick a hundred Christians, you'll get 100 different opinions on what Christianity encompasses. Lots of self-proclaimed Christians don't take the Bible literally, or selectively adhere to parts and throw out others. Me, I throw it all out like wet wipes after a ball-buster.
From: Swerb Entered on: October 16, 2003 9:29 PM
Yeah Bert, I agree about flushing the whole thing, but I guess I just don't understand the Christian mentality. I prefer it that way, actually...
From: Ross Entered on: October 23, 2003 10:57 AM
I was having a discussion with Heather about raising kids last night. Of course, that's a ways off, but this is the kind of shit I think you need to hash out well in advance of doing the real thing.  
Anyway, Heather is now comfortable with my atheism. However, what she's not so comfortable with is the fact that I plan to not indoctrinate my children - AT ALL - in the ways of religion. My problem with her problem is that it's based on how her family will react, rather than any objection about how the child will turn out. In any case, she asked if there was anywhere she could read about people who have raised their kids this way, so I started to look. I couldn't find any books on Amazon, but I found an interesting page on :
From: The Bone Entered on: October 23, 2003 11:45 AM
Neat site. I've been wondering how this is going to work when Kristen and I raise chitlins. I'm certain Kristen's going to want to bring the poor bastards to church. I'm not too worried though. I'll just explain to them why it's all horseshite. My mom made me go to church when I was a kid. In fact, I went to a Catholic school for 3 years where we wet to church twice a week, and had a seperate religion class every day. I was opened minded enough to break free from that trap. I'll just teach my kids to question everything and look towards science for answers.
From: Ross Entered on: October 23, 2003 1:21 PM
Isn't Kristen then going to get super pissed at you for undermining her brainwashing efforts? I'd just as soon avoid the conflict before the chitlins come into the picture. I've been trying to read as much as I can today from parents who have faced this problem - there are no easy answers, though. There is always someone in the family who is going to use underhanded tactics (fear, treats, cartoons, etc.) to pull your kid over to the irrational side.  
The trouble is, kids are so suggestible that in order to not have them be religious, you almost have to brainwash them to your way of thinking, which is almost as bad as the thing you're trying to avoid. I guess the best you can do is stress that your beliefs should be based on evidence, not on tradition, authority, or revelation. Problem is that most kids aren't very good at critical thinking, partly just for the reason that they soak up religion so easily - in developmental stages, they pick up "the rules" very quickly from adults - how to speak the language, how to avoid getting run over by a car, etc. So the critical thinking route doesn't work too well early on, I'm pretty sure.  
I do know what you're saying, though. I too had plenty of religious exposure growing up in GR, but to tell you the truth, it took a long time to escape it fully. Even though I was never very strongly religious, it had a negative effect on me and I don't want any of that happening to my kids. I want them thinking as clearly as possible as early as possible. I figure that's the most important thing you can do for your kids, even more important than educating them about anything specific like math or reading.
From: The Bone Entered on: October 23, 2003 1:44 PM
I think the only thing you can do is tell them what you believe. Most kids will want to emulate their parents. In your case, you have very strong atheist beliefs and Heather seems to border on ambilience, at least until you are married :) so the kiddies will probably want to emulate you. At any rate, I prefer my kids to come to their own conclusions. The whole point is they should exercise their minds and realize that religion is backwards superstition. There really is now way of knowing how the kids will turn out in the long run. I've heard of cases where kids raised in atheist households go religious, christians become muslims, muslims be christians, hell my cousins went from christain refromed to mormons and their father is a grand atheist.
From: Ross Entered on: October 23, 2003 3:22 PM
See, that's my point, though: by telling your kids what you believe, you're not helping them come to their own conclusions. They're going to want to believe what you believe, and not come by those beliefs the way you did, which is what you optimally are shooting for. So yeah, you don't want to cram atheism down their throats because that can be just as dogmatic as religion. I guess when I think about it, my Dad was kind of like that - he's an atheist, but he never discussed it with me. When I was older, I asked him why he was and he explained it all to me, but he clearly was waiting for a time when I was able to make up my own mind on things. However, he didn't stop my mom from bringing me to church. Funny thing is, I don't know that he thinks he did the right thing - he somehow sees value in church but not necessarily in belief in god, if that makes any sense. I suspect it's just a case of him reminiscing on going to church as a kid as a positive thing, but throwing out all the messages that church brought with it. In other words, he's being irrational.
From: BigFatty Entered on: October 23, 2003 3:25 PM
Kids! Jesus Christ, just what the world needs - the spawn of Jackasses. I'm doing the world a favor and keeping my spunk to myself. The only purpose kids could serve this, they might be the ones to wipe your arse when you are old and crotchety. More likely, they will put your incontenant ass in a home at the first sign of anal leakage. My plan is to start a savings account from the money that would be wasted on some rotten kids. That $100-300,000 you'll spend will buy me a hot young nursemaid to do my wiping. Sure, she'll steal me blind, but that is what she is supposed to do. No heartache and dissapointment there.  
Get a dog - save your money and your life. You think relationships are difficult now..............
From: Ross Entered on: October 23, 2003 3:28 PM
More likely, they will put your incontenant ass in a home at the first sign of anal leakage

Then you're right, Fatty - if you had kids now, they'd already have put you in one!

Reminds me of the Denis Leary routine about his old age, when he's being taken care of by his 30 year-old born again Christian son "and make sure you wipe this time, I was itching all week for chrissake!"

From: BigFatty Entered on: October 23, 2003 4:01 PM
Kids are going to be exposed to all sorts of differing views. I'm hearing that you guys want them to come to their own conclusions with an open mind. If either parent actively pratices their beliefs, that will influence the child. Realistically, that happens all the time.  
In my family, my mom brought me to church a few times when I was too young for it to be of any consequence. It remember going only 2-3 times, and I like going for the cookies. I believe she has changed her mindset on religion after moving here. My parents never really discussed their beliefs, nor practiced anything. We asked them questions about religion, but it was answered pretty genericly - a some people believe in god type of answer. Not that anything was right or wrong.  
Being in GR was not a neutral environment. Just about every kid went to church, and God was treated like an everyday common truth. I wanted to go to church with my friends, because they did. My moms let me, but I do remember she remained neutral (even though I think she didn't like it so much).  
In my opinion, both parents need to keep to themselves on their beliefs. Of course, kids are going to ask you if you believe in God. You should tell them, but that it is only one view. I agree with Ross about young kids being brainwashed early by being dragged to church. Kids take things at face value, and those first experiences will stay with a person their entire lives in one way or another.  
I think the best thing you can teach your kids is to believe in what makes sense to them, but more importantly that these beliefs could and should change as they gain knowledge and life experience.  
You also need to accept the possibility that your child might find comfort and meaning within religion.
From: Ross Entered on: October 24, 2003 8:48 AM
Fatty, you make some excellent points. My problem is that while Europe is rapidly becoming more secular, this country is going in the opposite direction. Belief in god has been on the rise for many years. Granted, some of it may be due to our shitty president, but it's still an overall trend: we are getting more and more mired in meaningless traditions and superstitions. What do you want to bet that some of the big discoveries in biology due to stem cell research don't come from this country? We're fucking hillbillies, man! Maybe Johnny Depp (and you, Fatty) had it right when he moved his family to France.
From: The Bone Entered on: October 24, 2003 10:30 AM
Here's another survey that is very disturbing.

From: Ross Entered on: October 24, 2003 12:40 PM
I get a Not Found error. Is that link correct?
From: BigFatty Entered on: October 24, 2003 5:48 PM
That survey is bullshit. I went through the results and felt they where highly suspect. I looked at their survey methods and feel they are not a true random sampling of Americans. They did not say where the ramdom number list came from. I doubt they just dialed numbers at random. 1000 numbers to cover the entire US? Maybe. Another flag was they called these people mutliple times to get the information. That just smelled fishy. Who would take a random call, answer questions on a personal subject and agree to multiple call-backs. People with strong beliefs, that's who.  
Here's the kicker. The company info -  
Company Profile  
Since 1984, George Barna and his team at Barna Research Group, Ltd., have been carefully and strategically tracking the relationship between the church and American culture. Today, Barna Research maintains the most comprehensive database on the spiritual condition of the nation. And they want to help make that information available to you so that your ministry operates as strategically and effectively as possible. Among the major thrusts of the company's research are to challenge prevailing assumptions and to identify new opportunities for the church to be the agents of transformation that God intends.  
The 'data' is more than likely being used to bolster their member's church's flock. Didn't the churchy advertising clue you in to a slight bias?  
My own bias..... I hate surveys. The news loves them. The ones that make headlines are rarely 'independant'. Even if they are, the media tends to glamourize the data to make it more interesting. They will draw conclusions that are not in the survey.
From: The Bone Entered on: October 24, 2003 6:19 PM
Yeah, that's why I'm disturbed.
From: BigFatty Entered on: October 24, 2003 8:05 PM
That statement with your head is priceless!  

From: Ross Entered on: October 24, 2003 10:35 PM
On their "about" page:  
Would you like to serve the body of Christ by working with the premiere marketing research company in America that is dedicated to assisting God?s people to do the work of the kingdom? Located on the coast of sunny, southern California, an hour north of Los Angeles, we are seeking individuals who want to distinguish themselves as professionals who are helping ministries fulfill God?s vision. We conduct primary research to help them identify ministry opportunities and challenges.  
Nuff said. Anything that comes from them is bullshit.
From: John Entered on: October 27, 2003 8:56 PM
You said it Bert, what a load of crap. They are fucking idiots! It's crazy that so many people want to force this shit down our throats.  
With that said I would like to address the issue of raising kids in a religious town. It sucks! The best you can do is teach them to question everything. This is scary because it will most likely bite you in the ass. It's quite possible they will eventually question your authority. This is better than having brainwashed chitlins though. I agree with Fatty, you can provide the knowledge but in the end it's their own experiences in life that will lead them in whichever direction they will go. The best you can do is make sure they have all the information they need to make an informed opinion. In the end it's up to them to decide what to believe in, not the parent.
From: The Bone Entered on: January 3, 2004 10:26 AM
This article makes me so mad I can't stand it.

From: Ross Entered on: January 3, 2004 4:36 PM
Yeah, I read this yesterday. It's absurd but why would it make you mad? Pat Robertson has always been one of the dumbest public speakers around, spewing forth absurdity upon absurdity. I cannot be shocked by anything the man says.
From: The Bone Entered on: January 3, 2004 7:52 PM
I'm pissed that it gets printed in a fucking newspaper. It's written by an AP writer and published in a Virginia newspaper. People need to be fired.  

From: Ross Entered on: January 3, 2004 9:53 PM
That I will grant you. Anyone, like Larry King, who pretends to be a serious journalist and pays lip service to psychics or mediums or any other supernatural-inspired charalatan should be fired, beaten, and sodomized by a rusty pipe.

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