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Younger Americans less likely to believe in God of the Bible

Younger Americans less likely to believe in God of the Bible
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A large majority of Americans says it believes in God or a higher power, but those in the millennial generation are far less likely to say they believe in God as described in the Bible than are older respondents.

Just 43 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 say they believe in God as described in the Bible, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Almost an equal share, 39 percent, say they believe in some other higher power or spiritual force.

By contrast, about two-thirds of those over the age of 50 say they believe in the biblical God, while a little more than a quarter say they believe in a spiritual force other than God.

Only about 1 in 20 older Americans does not believe in a God or higher power, while 16 percent of the youngest cohort say they do not believe.

Younger Americans are also less likely to attend church services on a regular basis, according to another Pew survey conducted last year. Among those who said they attended church services at least once a week, just 17 percent were between the ages of 18 and 29. More than half, 52 percent, were over the age of 50.

Among those who say they believe in God, a smaller percentage of younger Americans says God loves all people, has protected or rewarded them, or has power to direct or change things.

The partisan divide between those who believe in the God of the Bible and those who do not breaks down along racial lines. White Republicans and non-white Democrats are far more likely to say they believe in the God of the Bible than are white Democrats. Just one-third of white Democrats say they believe in God as described in the Bible.

The Pew study comes after years of research showing Americans’ beliefs in an almighty have eroded in recent years. Those who believe in the God of the Bible generally believe God is all-knowing and all-powerful.

Other surveys have shown the number of Americans who say religion is very important to their lives has declined in recent years. About half, 51 percent, told Gallup pollsters in 2017 that religion was important to them, down from a high of 61 percent in 2003. A quarter of Americans say religion is not very important to them.

About a third of Americans, 36 percent, say they attend religious services at least once a week, according to a 2017 Pew study. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are most likely to attend services, and a majority of both evangelical Protestants (58 percent) and historically black Protestants (53 percent) attend services regularly.

Just a third of those who belong to a mainline Protestant denomination and 39 percent of Catholics say they attend church services regularly.