A recent Harris Poll (#80, 10/31/2006) indicates that while almost 95% of Americans have at least a suspicion that God exists, 58% are “absolutely certain that there is a God”, while a lowly 6% are “absolutely certain that there is no God”.  Furthermore, the poll shows that older people are more likely to be certain of the existence of God, intimating that the more experienced one gets in life, the more one comes to realize that God is real. 

Another interesting thing about this poll is how it has been reported.  When I searched for this poll on Google, the entire first page of hits were reporting this story with a headline like “42% of Americans not ‘absolutely certain’ that God exists.”  The reason I looked up the poll is that I wondered how the other 58% broke down.  It turns out that they are a monolith, “absolutely certain” in the existence of God.  I think that is a much more interesting statistic, as it is staggering to see that well over half of US adults (the majority percentage of this poll) is absolutely certain of God — but most commentaries on this poll seem more interested in a statistic cobbled together from the dregs of the plurality.  The criterion by which you get the statistic 42% of Americans not “absolutely certain there is no God” is to take one segment of the polling populace, in this case the 58% who are “absolutely certain that there is a God” and negate it to find the one thing that everyone else has in common:  they are not the 58%.  Imagine the headline if you did the opposite!  It might look like this:

Almost 95% of Americans not “absolutely certain” that there is no God.

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