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Devil’s In The Details? Not If You Ask Most Americans

Welcome to the latest American renaissance… a loathsome return to the “dark ages”. A new poll tells us that more Americans believe in hell and the devil…litera lly…than believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The only good news…and I say as much with all available facetiousnes s…is that nearly two thirds of all Americans believe in miracles. Why is that good news? Because it now appears it’s going to take a miracle to get this country tracking on a set of rational rails and not hitching it’s wacky wagon to a messianic magic carpet.

More Americans believe in a literal hell and the devil than Darwin’s theory of evolution, according to a new Harris poll released on Thursday.

It is the latest survey to highlight America’s deep level of religiosity, a cultural trait that sets it apart from much of the developed world.

It also helps explain many of its political battles which Europeans find bewildering, such as efforts to have “Intelligent Design” theory — which holds life is too complex to have evolved by chance — taught in schools alongside evolution.

It further found that 79 percent believed in miracles, 75 percent in heaven, while 72 percent believed that Jesus is God or the Son of God. Belief in hell and the devil was expressed by 62 percent.

Darwin’s theory of evolution met a far more skeptical audience which might surprise some outsiders as the United States is renowned for its excellence in scientific research.

Only 42 percent of those surveyed said they believed in Darwin’s theory which largely informs how biology and related sciences are approached. While often referred to as evolution it is in fact the 19th century British intellectual ’s theory of “natural selection.”

What I find so baffling is that in real life you can’t get most of these people to accept hard and fast facts…but when it comes to faith, they’re willing to believe in the cookie monster. Global warming…not a chance. No connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11…not on your life.

If the above data isn’t enough to convince you we’re on the fast train to rampant regression, not to worry…there’ s more data to report.

More born-again Christians — a term which usually refers to evangelical Protestants who place great emphasis on the conversion experience — believed in witches at 37 percent than mainline Protestants or Catholics, both at 32 percent.

OK, it was just a few months back when James Dobson and Focus on the Family released the following statement with regards to Harry Potter.

“We have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products.” His rationale for that statement: Magical characters — witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, poltergeists and so on — fill the Harry Potter stories, and given the trend toward witchcraft and New Age ideology in the larger culture, it’s difficult to ignore the effects such stories (albeit imaginary) might have on young, impressionab le minds.

At the time, I assumed Dobson was opposed to Harry Potter because it glamorized “witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins […]” to children…lea ding young people to embrace irrational notions and engage in irrational fantasies while distracting them from their religious studies. Little did I know that nearly a third of all Americans actually believe that witches exist and probably think the Harry Potter books were written to recruit more witches.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Many of these same people believe that Tinky Winky and Sponge Bob Square Pants are characters created by militant homosexual sympathizers that are intended to indoctrinate children into the gay lifestyle. When did a duck stop being a duck?

I must admit I’m totally flummoxed at the number of foolish and fallacious fixations. Have they become the means by which people disconnect from the harsh realities that permeate their increasingly complex lives? Are average Americans so disconnected from the practice of reason and an understandin g of the technology that surrounds them that they seek comfort in the simplicity of these virtual fabrications  ?

I don’t know the answers to my questions…bu t I do know it’s increasingly important for us to find them before we return to the logic that believed witches would float if tossed into a body of water…fully ignoring the fact that the accused was condemned to death either way. If they did float, they would be put to death for being a witch; if they sank and drowned, they weren’t a witch…but nonetheless dead? Frankly, we’re not that far from the wholesale suspension of cognition.

Makes a person want to dig out the Ouija Board and look into the future…but I’m going to stick with my Tarot Cards…I’ve found the results are much more to my liking.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

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44 Responses to “Devil’s In The Details? Not If You Ask Most Americans”

  1. I’m guessing that as things get scarier people turn to religion. When they no longer feel in control they invent gods as a means to create the illusion of order and the possibility of affecting out comes. As health care becomes more elusive, job security vanishes, and the administrati on spends all their time hyping fear, people turn to their imaginary friend for solace.


    Atlanta is still in drought.

  2. “It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it’s that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    Ronald Reagan…

    Dude… if I spent half as much time worrying about Christians and their beliefs as you people do, I wouldn’t have a life…

  3. steve,
    Are you saying you do have a life now? I call bull****. ;-)
    Besides, you don’t have time to worry about what Christians think; you’re too busy worrying about what liberals think.

  4. Steve

    you mean like the republicans are fisical conservitive s ( two worst deficit spending reagan & bush II)

    republicans are better on national security ( republicans >6000 dead due to terrorism democrats

  5. as for christian beliefs there is no problem with them. The problem is their actions.

    Christianity is the religion of love and peace but lets have a death penalty

    Christianity is the religion of love and peace but lets invade a country because we are scared that the might do us harm

    Christianity is the religion of love and peace but lets all buy weapons so that we can kill someone if we feel threaten.

    Christianity is the religion of love and peace but we will bomd abortion clinic and target doctors.

    Christianity is the religion of love and peace but if you vote for the wrong person we will excommunicat e you.

  6. Reactionary religions - which all fundamentali st varieties are - are primarily a function of the rate of progress. Many human beings do not know how to respond to a changing world, much less a rapidly changing one. Religion - the more simplistic/b lack-white/c lear - the more attractive it is against the backdrop of seeming chaotic change.

    I don’t know if human beings can ever learn to adopt change in a healthy and realistic way - without resorting to fairy tales, ghosts, goblins, gods, devils, angels, etc. Religion makes for good simplistic pap and it has for a very long time. There is no reason to think people are suddenly going to put their safety-blank et aside to deal with reality as it is.

  7. Amazing how Clnton,Kerry  ,Sandy Beger,and Bush all said Saddam had WMD but Bush is the liar.

    Whatever you do don’t ever name a Teddy Bear Jesus or will get 6 months in jail and 40 lashes at best.
    Paul W-What are your thoughts on that?

  8. I’ve already given my views here, Lisa. Please try not to threadjack.

  9. Especially as the only person on this thread calling Bush a liar is you. It also has nothing to do with WMD. So what exactly was the point of your post?
    I’m not even going to ask why you’re singling me out. All I did was rag on steve.

  10. Okay Paul I went to the link and I also see like how I bring up Islam you bring up Christianity .

  11. I like how religion turned into deficit spending and global terrorism, I love it.

    Chris, Reagan was the greatest President of the 20th Century and that is an undeniable fact. America has prospered more than ever since he took once in 1981. America was beaten by the end 70’s. All the glory it had at the end 50’s and the youth of Kennedy was destroyed by his death, Vietnam, race-based assassinatio ns and the corruption of the Nixon Administrati on. Oh, and I forgot to mention the whole pacifist Carter Administrati on who could have had Iran by the balls.

    So anyway Chris, you should be saying thanks to the prosperity you and your family benefited from the Reagan Presidency because without him, we wouldn’t have the economic chances that we have today.

    Paul… I don’t worry about what liberals think other than for sheer entertainmen t purposes. BIO to me is a literary comedy site. There is some funny shit the people write here. I couldn’t comment on half the shit I read here without a sense of humor. That and it amazes me how many liberals on the internet with their blogs do not have a sense of humor and live in a world thinking impending doom is around the next corner. You all might think Christians are bad with their Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, it’s just as bad worrying about stuff you as an individual have no immediate control over, like Global Warming, the Economy, what others think, etc. BIO just makes me laugh…

  12. Steve we can control Global Warming. This is how Al Gore wants to handle it:

    http://www.d uk/pages/liv e/articles/n ews/news.htm l?in_article _id=479572&i n_page_id=17 70

  13. Steve

    I was there and you are wrong, Reagan was a disater for many of us, but he was a great communicator . You really bought all his smoke and mirrors at the time.

    Your wrong about Kennedy. The only two things he accomplished were starting the moon program and getting shot. Because he wanted to get elected for a second term over 56,000 soldiers died in Nam. If he had not been shot there is no guaranty that antthing that Johnson did would have happened.

    As for Carter your are absolutely right. Good man lousy president.


    What’s the difference between Islam and Christianity . They will both as soon kill you as look at you. Christianity is just in a lull right now. Given a chance they will revert to their murderous ways.

  14. No difference Chris unless you are gay or a woman.

  15. Quote:

    No difference Chris unless you are gay or a woman.

    Lisa, are you implying that Christianity is a more accommodatin g religion when it comes to homosexualit y or women’s equality, than Islam?

    You may be accurate if you discount the millions of Evangelicals who follow Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and the late Jerry Falwell, each of whom argued that both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina were an act of god’s retribution for our society’s acceptance of feminism and homosexualit y; also, the tidal wave that killed hundred’s of thousands of human beings (many Americans) over the Christmas holiday that terrible year was the result of god’s anger over particular forms of holiday celebrations that differ from that of the Evangelical Christian – according to James Dobson.

    But, if you discount all those millions of people, you seem to be left with a majority in numbers (a minority in perceived political influence) who are perfectly accommodatin g to both women’s equality and homosexualit y. Notice how this hold’s true for the majority (minority in perceived political influence) of Islam as well. Interesting; wouldn’t you agree, Lisa?

  16. Also, who here petitioned for Harry Potters’ exclusion from bookstores because it celebrates witches, while also attempting to convert people to the cause of witches?

    Does Sponge Bob Square Pants attempt to indoctrinate children into the homosexual lifestyle, Lisa and Steve?

    Was Darwin correct, everyone?

    I only ask because we seem to have strayed off topic – a way to change the conversation perhaps, as the above statements are that ridiculous?  (Even more ridiculous is the reality that I think some people commenting on this thread agree with them.)

  17. Wow Alex you need to lower your daily dose of KOS and DU. They really got you brainwashed into thinking like a stepford lib.

  18. We can stop Global Warming Lisa by shutting off Al Gore’s food supply…

    I totally disagree with you on Reagan Chris… I see a lot of small businesses and his picture is on the owner’s wall. There isn’t a president that promoted opportunity like he did. If you haven’t, you should read his diaries. He says somethings that kind cleared a lot of myths about what he did or didn’t do as President and really what President actually controls. I think his perspective would change a lot of what people think about a sitting President. He was pretty honest and candid in those diaries.

  19. lisa

    was anything alex said untrue?

  20. Alex… Why are are you asking me about indoctrinati on of Sponge Bob Square Pants and his alleged homosexual acts?

    We’re an Elmo household…

  21. I am simply bringing the conversation back to the topic addressed in the post, Steve. I like Elmo too :)

    Lisa, I don’t understand your statement?

  22. Steve

    I will read his diaries. However keep in mind that what he did is more important than what he say. He doubled a regressive payroll tax (SSN) while cutting other taxes. He started us on the road to bankruptcy with his borrowing. He weaken unions and gutted the antitrust laws.

  23. Lisa, It fascinates me how quickly conversation s can collapse into “Wow Alex, you need to lower your daily dose of Kos and DU.” Why did you not address my criticism of your unfounded statement regarding homosexuals, women’s equality, and Islam?

  24. What’s to address Alex? Don’t you live in the modern world. Christians may be against homosexualit y but I can bet there are people against it who aren’t religious and Islam well you should know how primitive that religion is unless you have your head buried in the sand.
    In this country the law can’t execute you for being gay or perform an honor killing. We are not governed by Sharia Law.

  25. Alex what’s to address? Laast time I checked we were a modern culture not governed by Sharia Law.

  26. The assumption being that the whole of Islam will “execute you for being gay or perform an honor killing,” Lisa? Do you stand by that statement?

    When was the last time a homosexual was executed in the Muslim World? And, did the majority of Muslims celebrate that action, Lisa?

    Your statement attempts to generalize from a small minority to Islam in its entirety, which is unfounded. You need to address why you have made such a generalizati on, Lisa.

  27. This country also has has 6.7 million muslims as of 2001. The few gay bashing that i have read about were done by christians.

  28. Oh yes, we are a modern culture, Lisa? Please read the original post, paying special attention to the large numbers who do not believe in Darwin’s theory, a and who believe that witches exist, and that there is a literal Hell where said “witches” (and homosexuals) will go after their death - how far from its “primitive state” have many Christians in this nation actually allowed the religion to progress?

    Christianity has been constrained by the secular West; Islam has not. That is to say, society keeps religion at bay, while many believers would just as soon avoid these societal constraints.

    Please address that as well, Lisa?

  29. You guys need to chill. What do you care if people don’t believe in evolution? Why does that bother you so much? And there is no proof of that either,it’s also a theory.
    So those of us who are not religious aren’t forced to believe anything we don’t want to.
    In a modern world you have a right to choose what to believe.
    So what are you doing this weekend,goin g to a witch burning?

  30. So those of us who are not religious aren’t forced to believe anything we don’t want to.


    We have presidental candidates who talk about their religous convictions. We have a president who talks to god and gets answers. We have the abortion issue, the gay issue, creationism, the cervic cancer issue, the aids issue, and the abstinence program to name a few.

    What do you care if people don’t believe in evolution? Why does that bother you so much? And there is no proof of that either,it’ s also a theory.

    If you truely believe this then there is little hope of you ever being rational. There is plenty of proof of evolution and none for god. there is nothing attributed to god that can not be traced to evolution or pure chance.

  31. Quote:

    So those of us who are not religious aren’t forced to believe anything we don’t want to.

    Lisa, are you saying that the entirety of the Islamic world forces people to believe what they do not want too?

    Evolution is a just a theory; so is cell theory; so is gravity. Simply shocking, Lisa.

    Lisa, if those who believe as you do desist in their efforts to teach Creationism in science classes, then I will indeed stop “caring if people believe in evolution.” Indeed, when the scientific community as a whole patently denies the validity of Creationist science, and thus refuses to endorse its teaching in science classes, and yet many believers insist on teaching Creationism in science classes - doesn’t that sound like allowing de-progressi ve, Christian, forces to affect society, Lisa?

  32. In the modern, Islamic world, you get the right to choose what you will and will not believe, Lisa. Do you deny this?

  33. Lisa,

    “What do you care if people don’t believe in evolution?”

    I don’t want to live in a society populated with idiots.

    “Why does that bother you so much?”

    Because idiots are pretty much useless to society.

    “In a modern world you have a right to choose what to believe.”

    In a modern world, if we want to succeed and progress, we need to rational, critical, scientific thought.

    “So what are you doing this weekend,goin g to a witch burning?”

    Rational, critical, scientific thinkers do not burn witches. Religious people do. Nice try at the ol’ sleazy con bait ‘n switch, though.


  34. By the way if we are going to teach creation in class which one would you go with and what proof do you have that it is the most correct

  35. Jersey:

    “Because idiots are pretty much useless to society.”

    Pot calling the kettle black there Jersey…

  36. Steve, your statement doesn’t prove “Jersey’s” wrong. It is a diversion from the issue at hand - a simplistic attempt at that. Similar to Lisa’s labeling me a Daily Kos frequenter; your methods are not effective.

  37. Dude…Alex… Shut up already…you are over analyzing everything people say that you disagree with.

    I am merely giving Jersey shit like I always do… 90% of what Jersey and I do here is give each other shit. We’re still blog buddies. Share links… read each other’s blogs…etc.

    Lisa is merely doing the same thing to watch you get your panties all bunched up. She is laughing at your responses with great joy and pleasure. If at one moment you take the antagonists on this blog seriously then you have really fallen for it. We got better things to do with our time…

  38. steve,
    We got better things to do with our time…
    Again, I call bull**** on this statement.

  39. Interesting, Steve claims that his role is “the antagonist,” which means that their is no personal interest in the claims he make’s; he does not necessarily believe his statements to be true, but merely say’s such statements to get a rise out of participants . Steve has also claimed this role for Lisa.

    I appreciate your honesty Steve, although it was unnecessary as I already assumed that your statements were hollow. I do agree however, as this is obviously your intended goal, you do have better things to do.

  40. Alex,

    Wow! Such serious hostility Alex. Try not to think of me at night when you sleep. Nothing like going to bed angry…


    C’mon man…:)

  41. Steve is correct Alex I do find you quite ammusing. I come here yes to give opinions and to read others but sometimes I just can’t help myself but to laugh.

  42. Alex says:

    “Interesting  , Steve claims that his role is “the antagonist, which means that their is no personal interest in the claims he make’s; he does not necessarily believe his statements to be true, but merely say’s such statements to get a rise out of participants . Steve has also claimed this role for Lisa.”

    This assumes that one cannont be an antagonist and still have an interest in the claim one makes. Why do you jump to this conclusion. One can surely believe in the statements made and still intend to antagonize.

  43. And we live in the hope that someday you and steve will say something rational

  44. Hey…we’ve been waiting years for you Chris to say something thought provoking and witty…

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