As Americans gather to celebrate Christmas, fewer and fewer actually believe they are celebrating the birth of a divine being who subsequently died and then rose from the dead. But if you look around during the holiday season, that doesn't seem to matter much.
Atheism continues to grow in America. That’s the clear message from a Harris poll released last week, which shows that God-belief is declining sharply. While 74 percent still say they believe in God, that figure is down from 82 percent in three previous polls in 2009, 2007, and 2005. The remaining 26 percent said they did not believe in God (12 percent) or were not sure (14 percent).
Almost all the numbers in the poll indicate that America is gravitating away from supernatural beliefs. Belief in miracles is down (76 percent in 2009, 72 percent in 2013), as is belief that Jesus was God or the son of God (73/68), or in the resurrection (70/65), survival of a soul after death (71/64), and several other supernatural religious concepts.
Belief in only a few supernatural phenomena actually saw increases when compared to previous polling. Belief in astrology was at 29 percent this year, up from 26 percent in 2009, and belief in reincarnation was at 24 percent, up from 20 percent.
The polling also confirmed previous data showing that secularity is most prevalent among younger generations. God-belief is lowest in those under age 36 (at just 64 percent) and climbs with each older age category.