CREEDE HINSHAW: God's dropping in the polls? Is He concerned?

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The headlines scream that Dow Jones isn’t the only one losing percentage points these days. The Lord God Almighty has lost 6 percentage points this year, according to the most recent Gallup Poll.

I can hear the protests now in skeptical quarters: “Somebody tampered with the polling machines. An atheist replaced suitcases of ‘God ballots with suitcases of unbelief ballots,” etc., etc.

Like it or not, Gallup says belief in God in the United States has declined to 81%, the lowest since 1944. God has lost 6% since the last survey five years ago, and we Southerners, of whom 86% still believe in God, dropped 7% in our belief since the last poll.

The pollsters did not ask people to speculate on the causes for people’s declining faith in God’s existence, but I suspect there is plenty of finger-pointing to be had. We’re losing faith because of the liberal Supreme Court from the 1960s. Or maybe it’s Joe Biden’s fault, or Nancy Pelosi’s or Donald Trump’s. Or blame it on Scientologist Tom Cruise’s big comeback or cable TV or frozen dinners or COVID.

A professor of religion, refusing to blame society, suggested that belief in God might have suffered because of so-called Christians who have given God a black eye, a so-called backlash caused by adherents or faux believers behaving badly.

Rather than trying to lay blame, let’s ask the next question: For crying out loud, are we people of faith going to address this erosion? Are we content to let the “nones” (now 29% of our population), drag down our belief in God? Does God need a public relations firm? Shouldn’t somebody worry about God’s declining reputation?

We need a crusade, don’t we? Who’s going to step up to the plate: What about churches or Sunday School teachers? What about a renewed emphasis in Vacation Bible School? What about the Pope, or Franklin Graham, or your favorite preacher, rabbi or imam? What about a blog, a tent revival or renewed fervor at Bible colleges and seminaries? Can’t somebody do something?

Maybe we shouldn’t get so lathered up over this. The survey I’d like to see in some detail has little to do with belief in God’s existence, but everything to do with the kind of God Americans either believe in or don’t believe in.

I don’t think God is too worried about the Gallup Poll. The Bible describes God as feeling grief, and it’s possible these results have produced some fleeting divine sadness. But the One who is from everlasting to everlasting, who has seen the rise and fall of civilizations, who has been addressed by many different names over the millennia, who has created trillions of galaxies and sextillions of stars and planets, who knows the inner turning of each heart, and who has created every human in the divine image, has no interest in the results of a fleeting, ephemeral popularity contest. So much for the headlines.

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