In Depth: Topics A to Z

Religion

Trend: How Important Is Religion in Your Own Life?

Trend: What is your religious preference -- Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, another religion, or no religion?

Now I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one -- a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little? The church or organized religion

Trend: Do you believe in God?

Trend: Do you believe in God or a universal spirit?

Trend: Please tell me whether each of the following is something you believe in, something you're not sure about, or something you don't believe in.

Trend: Next, I’m going to read some aspects of life in America today. For each one, please say whether you are -- very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied. How about the influence of organized religion?

Trend: Next, I’m going to read some aspects of life in America today. For each one, please say whether you are -- very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied. How about the influence of organized religion? Would you like to see organized religion have more influence in this nation, less influence, or keep its influence as it is now?


Trend: How important is religion in your own life?

Trend: At the present time, do you think religion as a whole is increasing its influence on American life or losing its influence?

Trend: Do you happen to be a member of a church or synagogue?

Trend: Did you, yourself, happen to attend church or synagogue in the last seven days, or not?

Trend: How often do you attend church or synagogue -- at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom, or never?

Trend: (Asked of Protestants) What specific denomination is that?

Trend: Would you describe yourself as a "born-again" or evangelical Christian?

Trend: Do you believe that religion can answer all or most of today's problems, or that religion is largely old-fashioned and out of date?

Trend: Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, or the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man]?

Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, the Bible is the actual word of God, but multiple interpretations are possible, the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, or the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man]?

If Americans were more religious, would that be positive or negative for American society?

Do you believe in heaven?

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2011 May 5-8

85

14

1

1994 Dec 16-18 ^

90

9

2

1981 Jan-Dec †

84

11

5

1968 Jun 26-Jul 1 †

85

11

4

^ WORDING: Which, if either, of the following do you believe in -- [ROTATED: heaven/hell]?

† WORDING: Which of the following do you believe in -- [ASKED IN ROTATION WITH OTHER ITEMS]?

Do you believe in hell?

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2011 May 5-8

75

22

3

1994 Dec 16-18 ^

73

24

3

1981 Jan-Dec †

67

26

7

1968 Jun 26-Jul 1 †

66

29

6

^ WORDING: Which, if either, of the following do you believe in -- [ROTATED: heaven/hell]?

† WORDING: Which of the following do you believe in -- [ASKED IN ROTATION WITH OTHER ITEMS]?

Would you like to see organized religion have more influence in this nation, less influence, or keep its influence as it is now?

More influence

Less influence

Keep
influence
as it is now

Other
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2011 Jan 7-9

29

29

39

*

2

2008 Jan 4-6

24

34

40

*

2

2007 Jan 15-18

27

32

39

*

2

2006 Jan 9-12

30

33

36

*

2

2005 Jan 3-5

26

33

39

1

1

2004 Jan 12-15

31

27

41

--

1

2003 Jan 13-16

29

25

45

*

1

2002 Jan 7-9

29

22

47

*

2

2001 Jan 10-14

30

22

45

1

2

* Less than 0.5%

(vol.) = Volunteered response


Which of the following statements comes closest to your belief about God -- you believe in God, you don't believe in God, but you do believe in a universal spirit or higher power, or you don't believe in either?

Believe
in God

Believe in
universal spirit

Don't
believe in
either

Other
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2010 May 3-6

80

12

6

1

1

2008 May 8-11

78

15

6

*

1

2007 May 10-13 ^

78

14

7

*

1

2004 May 2-4 ^

81

13

5

*

1

1999 Dec 9-12

86

8

5

1

*

* Less than 0.5%

(vol.) = Volunteered response

^ Asked of a half sample

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: a presidential candidate's views on evolution are a legitimate indicator of whether he or she is qualified to be president, (or) a presidential candidate's views on evolution are not really relevant and therefore should not be discussed as part of the campaign]?

Legitimate
indicator

Not really
relevant

No
opinion

2007 Jun 1-3

25%

70

5

Which of the following best describes you -- [ROTATED: you have always had the same religious preference, you have switched from one religious preference to another, or you have moved away from any religion whatsoever]?

Always
the same
religious
preference

Switched
from one
religious
preference
to another

Moved away
from any
religion
whatsoever

No
opinion

2006 Jun 9-11

72%

15

10

3

Here are some of the reasons why people change their religious preference or leave religion altogether. For each, please say if it is a major reason why (you have switched from one religious preference to another/you have moved away from religion altogether), a minor reason, or not a reason at all. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

ASKED OF ADULTS WHO HAVE SWITCHED THEIR RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE OR WHO HAVE MOVED AWAY FROM RELIGION ALTOGETHER


2006 Jun 9-11
(sorted by "major reason")

Major
reason

Minor
reason

Not a
reason
at all

Doesn't
apply
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

You disagreed with the teachings of your original religion

40

24

34

2

1

You found a new religion that is more fulfilling

38

14

46

1

1

You grew dissatisfied with your local church and as a result changed religions

26

18

52

4

1

You disliked the fact that the leaders were struggling with each other to control the direction of your religion

25

18

54

2

1

You married someone from another religion

12

10

74

3

--

You moved and could not find a church of your religion that you liked

9

14

75

2

*

* Less than 0.5%

(vol.) = Volunteered response

How do you personally feel about the Catholic religion -- very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very unfavorable?

Very
favorable

Mostly
favorable

Mostly
unfavorable

Very
unfavorable

No
opinion

2006 May 5-7

14%

43

19

11

14

2002 Apr 22-24

14%

38

25

14

9

2000 Mar 17-19 ^

18%

46

19

8

9

^ Asked of a half sample

What are some of the reasons why you say you have an unfavorable opinion of the Catholic religion? [OPEN-ENDED]

ASKED OF ADULTS WHO HAVE AN UNFAVORABLE OPINION OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGION

2006 May 5-7

%

Do not agree with their views/practices/doctrine

26

Sexual scandal/cover-ups/child molestation

19

Partial to/belong to another religion

8

Idolization of saints/Virgin Mary

8

Is an organized religion

6

Hypocrisy

5

Dislike all religions

4

Views on abortion

4

Poor past history with the Catholic Church

4

Dislike their views on birth control

4

Not letting women be priests/sexist

4

Cult-like religion

2

Confessions/communion issues

2

Issues on homosexuality

1

Greed of money in the church

1

Celibacy of priesthood/no marriage

1

Other

14

None

6

No opinion

4

Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

Have you, personally, ever seen a movie that had a profound effect, either positive or negative, on your religious beliefs or practices, or not?

Yes,
have

No,
have not

Not religious
(vol.)

No
opinion

2006 May 5-7

26%

72

*

1

* Less than 0.5%

(vol.) = Volunteered response

How did the movie affect your religious beliefs? Did it -- [ROTATED: strengthen your religious beliefs, (or did it) cause you to question your religious beliefs]?

ASKED OF ADULTS WHO HAVE SEEN A MOVIE THAT AFFECTED THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

Strengthen
religious beliefs

Question
religious beliefs

No
opinion

2006 May 5-7

81%

14

5

COMBINED RESPONSES

2006 May 5-7

%

Have seen a movie that affected religious beliefs

26

(Strengthened beliefs)

(21)

(Questioned beliefs)

(4)

(Unsure)

(1)

Not seen a movie that affected religious beliefs/Not religious (vol.)

72

No opinion

1

(vol.) = Volunteered response

As you may know, books and movies that raise doubts about Jesus and the Bible such as The Da Vinci Code are getting a lot of attention from the public. For each of the following, please say whether you think it is a major reason why these books and movies are getting so much attention, a minor reason, or not a reason at all. How about -- [ITEMS ROTATED]?

A. Many people enjoy a conspiracy

Major reason

Minor reason

Not a
reason

No
opinion

2006 May 5-7

51%

28

14

8

B. People see them as entertainment, not as serious commentary on religion

Major reason

Minor reason

Not a
reason

No
opinion

2006 May 5-7

38%

38

18

6

Which of the following comes closer to your view about books or movies that raise doubts about Jesus Christ or the Bible -- [ROTATED: they are a reflection of the human nature of some people to be skeptical about religion, (or) they are the work of the devil trying to destroy people's religious beliefs, whether the authors are aware of it or not]?

Human nature
to be skeptical
about religion

Work of the
devil to destroy
people's
religious beliefs

No
opinion

2006 May 5-7

72%

19

9

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