Although some 80 percent of Americans say they believe in God, only a slim majority of the nation's approximately 327 million people believe in God as described in the Bible, according to results of a new study released by the Pew Research Center. And among those younger than 50, belief in the God of the Bible drops lower than 50 percent.
The findings from the survey of more than 4,700 adults conducted nationwide between Dec. 4–18, 2017, reveal that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. Applying these results to the general population, that translates to approximately 109 million people who believe in a higher power that is not the God of the Bible.
Only 56 percent of the people surveyed indicated that they believe in God "as described in the Bible" and the strongest supporters of this response were Christians who self-identified as members of the historically black Protestant and evangelical traditions. Some 92 percent of those who identified with the historically black Protestant tradition said they believe in God as described in the Bible while 91 percent of those who identified as evangelicals support that position. These groups also overwhelmingly supported the view that God is all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful.
Smaller majorities of mainline Protestants and Catholics also indicated faith in the biblical God but significant minorities of Catholics, 28 percent, and mainline Protestants, 26 percent, indicated that they believe in a higher power or spiritual force, which is not God as described in the Bible.
Another significant finding from the study also showed that young adults were far less likely than their older counterparts to say they believe in God as described in the Bible.
While just over 66 percent of adults 50 and older subscribed to faith in the God of the Bible, only 49 percent of adults in their 30s and 40s supported this position. Some 43 percent of adults younger than 30 shared this view which is almost equal to the 39 percent of adults 18–29 who told researchers they believe in another higher power.
The study also found that more educated Americans are less likely to say they believe in the God of the Bible. Just over 66 percent of American adults with a high school education or less say they believe in the biblical God. Among those with some college education that number drops to 53 percent, and among college graduates it drops even further to 45 percent.