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Never Doubting God

What Surveys on Belief in God’s Existence Reveal


WHAT DO AMERICANS BELIEVE ABOUT GOD’S existence? This article examines who most believes in God’s existence and who has shown the greatest reduction in their unquestioning beliefs about God.

The General Social Survey

The results presented in this report come from the General Social Survey (GSS), which contains independent, random samples of American adults collected roughly every two years since 1972. Starting in 1988, the GSS asked respondents what they believe about God with the response options being:

1. I don’t believe in God.

2. I don’t know whether there is a God and I don’t believe there is any way to find out.

3. I don’t believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a Higher Power of some kind.

4. I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at others.

5. While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God.

6. I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it.

This report presents the percentages of respondents who chose the last option—the percentage of those who have no doubts that God exists. To the extent a skeptic is someone who “maintains a doubting attitude,” those who believe without doubts that God exists are not skeptics. The present report documents who is currently least skeptical, and which categories of people are becoming more skeptical, in their beliefs about God. (It is important to conceptualize the results in terms of categories of people because the data are not longitudinal—they do not track the same individuals over time—but are cross sectional, where different people comprise the samples at each year. Also note that when averaging across years, the most recent years are given greater weight because they tend to have larger sample sizes in the GSS.)

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About Skeptic

THE RISE OF THE NONES Imagining No Heaven — The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion; Never Doubting God — Surveys on Belief in God’s Existence; Persistence of Belief in a Purposeful Universe; Honor, Dignity, Victim — A review of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars; The SkepDoc — Premature Ejaculation in the News: How Headlines Influence Our Thinking; Is the Earth Flat? Flat Earthers Are Back — How do You Best Make the Argument for a Round Earth?; Conspiracy Theorists and the Harm They Do; Bruce Perkins and Another Terrible Tragedy of the Recovered Memory Movement; Deterrence and Its Discontents: Now That Nuclear War Seems to Be Getting More Likely Again, It’s Time to Turn a Skeptical Eye on Deterrence; Reality Need Not Diminish Our Concept of Our Place in the Cosmos; Junior Skeptic — Perpetual Motion; and more…