The number of Christians and religious "nones" who believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ has decreased significantly since 2014, according to a survey released by the Pew Research Center.
The survey, released Tuesday, found that most U.S. adults do not believe the full history of the biblical nativity. The analysis report was based on telephone interviews with 1,503 adults, 18 years of age or older from all across the nation, conducted on Nov. 29 to Dec. 4.
"Most Americans believe Jesus was born to a virgin, that he was visited by three wise men from the east, that his birth was announced to shepherds by an angel of the Lord, and that the baby Jesus was laid in a manger as an infant. But the share of Americans who believe that each of these four elements of the Christmas story reflects actual historical events is lower today than in 2014," Pew Research Center said.
Overall, 66 percent of Americans believe Jesus was born to a virgin, down from 73 percent in 2014. While some might expect nonbelievers to wrestle with doubts about the Christmas story as relayed in the Bible, the new research says there are actually signs of growing doubts from Christian groups as well.
The percentage of white mainline Protestants who believe in the virgin birth has declined from 83 percent to 71 percent.
Among religious "nones" (those who identify religiously as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular"), the belief in a supernatural virgin birth has declined from 30 percent in 2014 to 17 percent today.