A new survey by the University of Chicago has ranked the United States as the fifth most religious country. "Beliefs About God Across Time And Countries," a research project conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, asked respondents in 30 countries the following:
Please indicate which statement comes closest to expressing what you believe about God:
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 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 that God really exists and I have no doubts about it.
7. Can't Choose
8. No Answer
Researchers concluded that the Philippines had the strongest belief in God, and Japan the least. The U.S. ranked fifth behind Israel, Poland, Chile, and the Philippines. The most atheistic countries were Germany (East), Czech Republic, France, The Netherlands, and Sweden.
Finding a consistent pattern is challenging in the research For example, one might conclude that former Socialist states in Eastern Europe would show consistently high patterns of atheism. This is true in East Germany and Czech Republic, but Poland ranks as one of the most theistic countries surveyed.
The research also looked at changes in beliefs within each country over time. It concludes, "Belief in God has decreased in most countries, but the declines are quite modest especially when calculated on a per annum basis."
Which age groups showed the largest increase in belief in God? Seniors between 58-67 and 68+. The researches concluded that belief in God increases as one becomes more aware of mortality.
Finally, there were three countries that showed in increase in belief across all three categories: Israel, Russia, and Slovenia.
What can we conclude from this study? If you're looking for fertile soil to plant a church, target senior citizens in Israel.