The Chaves readings this past week focused centrally on the shifting prevalence of different religions throughout America over time. One thing that really stood out to me were the statistics regarding belief in God or a higher power. On the General Social Survey, there are six statements that indicate one’s personal belief in a god of some sort, ranging from certain disbelief to certain belief. In 2014, 91% of the American population had some sort of belief in God or a higher power, even if it wavered at times, which is still the vast majority of the United States, but it is undeniable that those with a certain and fixed belief in God has been on the decline. In 2014, 58% of the American population “knew God really exists and had no doubts about that.”
I thought this was really interesting in the context of all that has happened historically between 2014 and in 1964, when 77% of Americans had a total and unshakeable belief in God. The United States endured the stock market crash, the tragedy of 9/11, and a shifting and unpredictable political climate, not to mention the rising prevalence of focus on television, celebrities, and social media. All of these things would shake up an unmistakable belief in God, for even the most devout worshipper. General acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights were on the rise by this time as well, which would probably appall conservative Christians, as well as those from other religions, and make members of the LGBTQ+ community question their faith in return. I would want to know if such a decline in faith could be considered as inevitable over time, if it could be attributed to all the disasters that shake the world every year, or if people just felt more comfortable answering questions regarding their faith honestly over time due to more acceptance?