By Aaron Earls
More than half of Americans still say they believe in God without any doubts, but they are a shrinking majority.
In the past 15 years, the percentage who say they know God exists and have no doubts dropped from 65% to 53%, according to the latest research from the General Social Survey.
Couple this lack of confidence with the growth of the religious unaffiliated and one may think Americans are increasingly rejecting God completely.
In 1991, 6% of Americans claimed “no religion.” Today, almost a quarter of Americans (23%) say they don’t belong to any religion.
But Americans aren’t embracing atheism as much as they are rejecting certainty about God.
Today, 5% of Americans say they don’t believe in God at all—slightly up from 3% in 1993.
Some statements saw similar small increases. Those who believe in God, but have doubts climbed from 15% to 18% over the last 15 years.
The percentage of Americans who say they “don’t believe in a personal God, but some higher power” grew from 8% to 13%.
In this age of doubt, Trevin Wax, director of Bibles and Reference at Lifeway, believes many Christians are tempted to embrace uncertainty about their doctrines and beliefs as well, but this approach is “fundamentally misguided.”
Wax says, “There’s nothing attractive about inviting people to become part of a community that doesn’t know what it believes, or that is fundamentally uncomfortable with its own teachings.”
Instead the author of This Is Our Time argues, “Why not have the grace and confidence to winsomely explain Christianity’s vision and doctrine in ways that invite people into a community, instead of looking for ways to make Christianity more palatable to people with completely different assumptions and presuppositions outside the community?”
For Wax, Christians “will not refresh and reinvigorate our ailing culture if we lack the confidence in the truth, beauty, and goodness of our faith.”
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.