Devil’s In The Details? Not If You Ask Most Americans

More Americans have a literal belief in the devil than believe in Darwin and his theory of evolution. Makes a person want to dig out the Ouija Board and look into the future’¦but I’™m going to stick with my Tarot Cards’¦I’™ve found the results are much more to my liking.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Welcome to the latest American renaissance’¦a loathsome return to the ‘œdark ages’. A new poll tells us that more Americans believe in hell and the devil’¦literally’¦than believe in Darwin’™s Theory of Evolution. The only good news’¦and I say as much with all available facetiousness’¦is that nearly two thirds of all Americans believe in miracles. Why is that good news? Because it now appears it’™s going to take a miracle to get this country tracking on a set of rational rails and not hitching it’™s wacky wagon to a messianic magic carpet.

More Americans believe in a literal hell and the devil than Darwin’™s theory of evolution, according to a new Harris poll released on Thursday.

It is the latest survey to highlight America’™s deep level of religiosity, a cultural trait that sets it apart from much of the developed world.

It also helps explain many of its political battles which Europeans find bewildering, such as efforts to have ‘œIntelligent Design’ theory ‘” which holds life is too complex to have evolved by chance ‘” taught in schools alongside evolution.

It further found that 79 percent believed in miracles, 75 percent in heaven, while 72 percent believed that Jesus is God or the Son of God. Belief in hell and the devil was expressed by 62 percent.

Darwin’™s theory of evolution met a far more skeptical audience which might surprise some outsiders as the United States is renowned for its excellence in scientific research.

Only 42 percent of those surveyed said they believed in Darwin’™s theory which largely informs how biology and related sciences are approached. While often referred to as evolution it is in fact the 19th century British intellectual’™s theory of ‘œnatural selection.’

What I find so baffling is that in real life you can’™t get most of these people to accept hard and fast facts’¦but when it comes to faith, they’™re willing to believe in the cookie monster. Global warming’¦not a chance. No connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11′¦not on your life.

If the above data isn’™t enough to convince you we’™re on the fast train to rampant regression, not to worry’¦there’™s more data to report.

More born-again Christians ‘” a term which usually refers to evangelical Protestants who place great emphasis on the conversion experience ‘” believed in witches at 37 percent than mainline Protestants or Catholics, both at 32 percent.

OK, it was just a few months back when James Dobson and Focus on the Family released the following statement with regards to Harry Potter.

‘œWe have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products.’ His rationale for that statement: Magical characters ‘” witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, poltergeists and so on ‘” fill the Harry Potter stories, and given the trend toward witchcraft and New Age ideology in the larger culture, it’™s difficult to ignore the effects such stories (albeit imaginary) might have on young, impressionable minds.

At the time, I assumed Dobson was opposed to Harry Potter because it glamorized ‘œwitches, wizards, ghosts, goblins [...]‘ to children’¦leading young people to embrace irrational notions and engage in irrational fantasies while distracting them from their religious studies. Little did I know that nearly a third of all Americans actually believe that witches exist and probably think the Harry Potter books were written to recruit more witches.

I guess I shouldn’™t be surprised. Many of these same people believe that Tinky Winky and Sponge Bob Square Pants are characters created by militant homosexual sympathizers that are intended to indoctrinate children into the gay lifestyle. When did a duck stop being a duck?

I must admit I’™m totally flummoxed at the number of foolish and fallacious fixations. Have they become the means by which people disconnect from the harsh realities that permeate their increasingly complex lives? Are average Americans so disconnected from the practice of reason and an understanding of the technology that surrounds them that they seek comfort in the simplicity of these virtual fabrications?

I don’™t know the answers to my questions’¦but I do know it’™s increasingly important for us to find them before we return to the logic that believed witches would float if tossed into a body of water’¦fully ignoring the fact that the accused was condemned to death either way. If they did float, they would be put to death for being a witch; if they sank and drowned, they weren’™t a witch’¦but nonetheless dead? Frankly, we’™re not that far from the wholesale suspension of cognition.

Makes a person want to dig out the Ouija Board and look into the future’¦but I’™m going to stick with my Tarot Cards’¦I’™ve found the results are much more to my liking.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 by Richard Blair |

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