Religious or not, many Americans see a creator’s hand

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Human life and a complex universe are powerful indicators of creation, Americans say. In a survey of 1,000 Americans, LifeWay Research found almost 8 in 10 (79 percent) believe the existence of human life means someone created it, while 72 percent think the organization of the universe shows a creator’s design. Photo courtesy of LifeWay Research

Human life and a complex universe are powerful indicators of creation, most Americans say. Photo courtesy of LifeWay Research

(RNS) You don’t have to believe in God or identify with any religion to see a creator’s hand in human life and morality, suggests a new survey.

LifeWay Research’s overall finding — that most Americans believe there is a creator who designed the universe and defines human morality — is not surprising. After all, 3 in 4 U.S. adults identify with a religious denomination.

The surprise is that so many people who don’t identify with a religion — so-called nones — agree.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found that most Americans — 72 percent overall and 46 percent of nones — agree that: “Since the universe has organization, I think there is a creator who designed it.” This view is most strongly held by evangelicals and by older adults.

And most Americans — 79 percent overall, and 43 percent of nones — say they agree that “The fact that we exist means someone created us.”


READ: Evangelicals and scientists are closer than many realize


The phone survey was conducted Sept. 26-Oct. 5, 2014. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for overall findings.

The survey language was framed by classic Christian “apologetics” — the term for arguments for belief. Mary Jo Sharp, assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University, said in LifeWay’s news release, “The infinitesimal odds that life arose by blind chance is a formidable argument” for a creator. 

But when people were asked about how ideas of right and wrong were established, the numbers slid somewhat: 66 percent overall, and 33 percent of nones, agree that “Since people have morality, I think there is a creator who defines morality.”


READ: Science vs. religion? There’s actually more of a three-way split


“The moral argument has less sway here, perhaps because of our changing views on what is and is not moral,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

However, he said, overall the case for a creator appears strong: “People of faith have always thought that there were hints of the divine all around us, thinking that ‘all hearts have a God-shaped hole in them.’ ”

The news here, Stetzer said, is that “nonreligious people believe the same at a surprisingly high rate. This points to the possibility of a lot of conversations — if Christians would just have those conversations — telling people about the creator that they see in creation.”

The problem with that, said Stetzer, who also specializes in fostering outreach and missions, is “Christians love evangelism, as long as someone else is doing it. So, the openness is there. The question is if the conversation will be started.” 

LM/MG END GROSSMAN

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  • Larry

    I wonder what their definition of “non-religious” really means. More likely than not it is really “not affiliated with a given faith or sect”. Something which is a far cry from non-belief or being non-religious.

    The survey language was framed by classic Christian “apologetics”

    aka people who care little about honest or rational discussion as long as they can validate their faith.

    Given Lifeway Research’s fundamentalist protestant bias (they are a marketing wing of the SBC), it is highly unlikely the poll’s results really mean what are being touted here. That large numbers of atheists believe in creationism. Fundamentalists love to distort facts to support creationist nonsense and pretend their ideas are more accepted than reality permits.

    This is garbage used for marketing one’s sectarian faith.

  • Bernardo

    One of the “great” creations of the Creator? Disease!!!

    Number of humans who have died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

    Or were they all martyrs for the creator?????

  • Fran

    Many of mankind have died from inherited disease, sickness, and old age. We all die, however, because of the disobedience of of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12).

    However, God is not the cause of all those conditions, nor is He to blame for human suffering.

    It is unthinkable for the true God to act wickedly or for Him to do wrong (Job 34:10). With evil things, God cannot be tried, nor does He try anyone under trial (James 1:13). God is also not slow concerning his promises to mankind, and because of his patience, desires mankind to repent and to live (2 Peter 3:9).

    God’s purpose to put an end to all sickness, disease, old age and even death (Rev. 21:3,4) will soon be realized through his kingdom or government (Daniel 2:44) and the ransom sacrifice of his son, Jesus (Matt. 20:28).

    Millions of persons who have died due to sickness and disease have the resurrection hope back to life on earth (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15) throughout its coming reign.

  • Bernardo

    An all-knowing, merciful god would not have created diseases. Said list is evidence that such a god does not exist and said diseases are part of the evolutionary process.

  • Fran

    God did not create diseases. He created humans who were perfect. After they sinned against God by disobeying his command, they lost that perfection and sickness, disease, old age and death was the result of their action.

    God does exist and He will put an end to all of those inherited conditions. If God did not make any provisions for that to happen, man would only continue to get sick, grow old and die until the end of time.

    But because of God’s intense love for the human family, and his other qualities of power, justice, compassion, mercy, wisdom, loyalty and goodness, eternal life on earth will become a reality.

  • Gabriel

    “You don’t have to believe in God or identify with any religion to see a creator’s hand in human life and morality, suggests a new survey.”

    How does one define a “creator” then? I find It rather nonsensical to assume design when looking at complexity or “organisation” as the survey put It. Complexity does not equal design nor provide evidence thereof. That can be explained rather well by evolution. It’s a lot easier to understand the world without adding in stories and ancient Incoherent descriptions about it. It’s better to look at the physical world and universe for what It is, not what we want It to be.

  • Richard Rush

    Fran,

    “We all die, however, because of the disobedience of of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12).”

    I didn’t realize that Adam and Eve were the parents of all plants and animals.

  • Richard Rush

    Fran,

    I can only think of two reasons why anyone would worship, praise, and glorify the heavenly monster that you depict: 1) Irrational fear, and/or 2) genuine admiration for psychopathic/sociopathic monsters because they always do the right thing.

  • Fran

    Richard,

    Adam and Eve were the first parents of the human family, created by God. Plants and animals have their own unique DNA from God, just as every human does, making him unique from others.

    God created all vegetation on earth before creating man (Genesis 1:11,12), for man to enjoy (Genesis 1:29-30).

    God also created the entire animal kingdom before creating man (Genesis 1:20-24), for man to enjoy as well.

    Then God created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27, 2:7) and advised them to have in subjection the entire animal kingdom (Genesis 1:28). Adam even had the awesome privilege of naming all the animals (Genesis 2:19,20)!

    Concerning man and animals, we both have the same outcome:

    “For there is an eventuality as respects the son of mankind and as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies…All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust and all are returning to the dust (Eccl. 3:19, 20).

  • Fran

    The only true “monster” there is would be Satan the devil, who lied to Eve and deceived her (Genesis 3:1-5) into eating fruit from a particular tree, which was forbidden by God. She gave the fruit to Adam, and he followed suit. We are now in the mess we are in as a result.

    Satan’s sole purpose is to mislead humans and turn them away from God, just as he did with our first parents. He rather see the entire human race die rather than live, which is what God wants for man, eternal life (2 Peter 3:9, 13).

    The entire world is lying in the power of that wicked one (1 John 5:19); but fortunately for man, “for this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, to break up the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

    The time left for Satan to deceive people and turn them away from God is short (Rev. 12:7-12), and he knows that he faces complete destruction at the end (Rev. 20:7-10). He is the only true “monster,” and God is the only true deliverer from all bad things.

  • Richard Rush

    Fran,

    It’s interesting that you say Satan is really the monster, because . . .

    The Bible has documented that God killed about 2,500,000 people, and Satan killed about 10. If we try to estimate the additional killings that are not documented with specific numbers, then God’s killings zoom to about 25,000,000 while Satan’s killings zoom to about 60.

    Furthermore, the number of abortions performed by God is many orders of magnitude larger than any human’s could ever be.

    And then there has been God’s longstanding plan for multitudes of women to die during childbirth . . . which, as an aside, makes the TrueChristian mantra against gay marriage, “every child deserves a mom and a dad,” seem ungodly.

    So, who is the good guy here? I’ll stick with Satan: Less killing, and far more human decency.

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  • Is it just me, or do those questions look biased? Instead of “Since the universe has organization, I think there is a creator who designed it,” try “Since the universe is mostly deadly to life and disease and natural disasters plague humans on earth, this points away from a creator” and see what you get.

    Ditto for the other questions.

  • Fran

    Every house has a builder, but the person who created or made all things is God. Evolution provides no hope for mankind, but God does, and all of his marvelous promises (Rev. 21:3-4) will come true. We can see the ? results of man’s promises.

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