Gallup Poll: Americans Still Believe Religion Solves Their Problems

Saturday, 28 Jun 2014 04:23 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A growing number of Americans consider religion to be outdated, but more than half still turn to it to answer "most or all of today's problems," according to a new Gallup Poll.

Fifty-seven percent of 1,028 adults polled said they believe religion is the answer to their problems. But that number has dropped drastically since the 1950s, when Gallup first asked the same question and 82 percent said they thought religion was key.

"The 82 percent choosing the 'can answer today's problems' options in 1957 is in line with a number of other measures from that decade showing a high level of religiosity, including religious service attendance, importance of religion, and the percentage of Americans with a formal religious identity," Gallup said.

The number went down by 1975, when 60 percent said they believe in religion as a panacea, and since that time, the numbers has hung around that level, reports The National Journal.

Liberals tended to consider religion outdated, by 49 percent to 36 percent.

Meanwhile, the poll said, back in the 1950s, only 7 percent believed religion to be old-fashioned, but in the new poll, 30 percent of the respondents believed that.

The difference of opinion was most notable in groups where people are more traditionally religious, including in the South, among conservatives, and with people who are older than 65.

"These groups, in turn, are also the most likely to say that religion can answer most or all of today's problems," said the Gallup report. "Still, across almost all of the demographic and political categories, the percentage saying that religion can answer most or all of today's problems is higher than the percentage saying that it is out of date.

The changing views are closely related to Americans' personal religious habits, reports Gallup, including measures of how often people attend church services and having a formal religious identity.

"Still, the majority of Americans continue to believe that religion can answer today's problems, another indicator that the nation, by far, remains a religious country," the Gallup report said.

"And, with the trend leveling off in recent years, it appears this aspect of the secularization of U.S. society may have slowed, if not halted, for the foreseeable future."

This poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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