A nation that believes rightly but …

The American people as a whole continue to be the most openly religious and traditional of all the Western technological societies, a fact frequently noticed by European visitors. It is not only that they profess religious beliefs that surprises some, but that their beliefs actually affect their lives. Throughout their history Americans have been religious, and the trend continues unabated; it is now more in evidence than ever.

The CHRISTIANITY TODAY—Gallup poll shows that 94 percent of the general public believe in God or in a universal spirit that in their mind functions as God. Only 4 percent explicitly deny the existence of such a Being. All this is significant, given three factors: First, American educational philosophy has rigorously tried to exclude any notion of God from the structure of its understanding and for over 50 years has given our children a steady diet of secular instruction. Second, the Supreme Court’s 1964 ruling that religious instruction and prayer must be kept out of the schools, in the eyes of many further secularized our educational system. Third, the “death of God” theology that flourished briefly in the 1960s, had, as most of us suspected, no visible effect on the religious beliefs of the American people as a whole.

In spite of all these influences, few people were moved to abandon their faith in God. The pronouncements of some social analysts, and some prominent churchmen as well, that America has become “post-Christian” and too sophisticated to need God anymore turns out to be grossly inaccurate. The fact is, the vast majority have always believed in God or a Supreme Spirit who rules and watches over them, and this is not affected by the amount of education ...

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