How Convenient: Fewer Americans Believe in Hell and the Devil

Belief in hell and the devil just sank to new lows. A new poll from Gallup reveals that more Americans reject biblical truth and spiritual reality apparently to conveniently ignore any consequences for how they live their lives.

It may not be surprising fewer and fewer people believe in God, angels, heaven, hell, and the devil. The recent poll finds they are down to new lows.

These drops in percentage may not seem significant or dramatic, but the outright darkness, deception, delusion, and depravity in America coincides with the declining numbers. 

Going back over twenty years when Gallup first polled Americans on belief in these religious entities (2001), this is the lowest point in the poll. Here’s the breakdown from high to low:

  • 74% believe in God 
  • 69% in angels 
  • 67% in heaven 
  • 59% in hell 
  • 58% in the devil 

Belief in God and heaven is down the most (16 points each), while belief in hell has fallen 12 points. Is this simply a result of the world having more influence over the church than the church has over the world? Perhaps. 

Nearly three in 10 do not believe in hell or the devil. Not surprisingly, belief in the five spiritual truths was highest among frequent churchgoers. But the message in God’s inspired word doesn’t seem to be reaching the culture and there are several reasons for it.

This poll reveals in part the consequences of compromising church leadership as reported in last year’s Barna research on pastors. They found only 37% of Christian pastors have a biblical worldview. 

On the other hand, a majority of church leaders (62%) possess what is referred to as a “hybrid worldview” known as Syncretism, having a combination of different forms of belief or practice, often representing personal preferences. This is also known as creating a god in your own image.

As Barna concluded, with many American pastors, they lack biblical understanding and do not teach sound doctrine and therefore, “so few people in the nation’s youngest generations are developing a heart and mind for biblical principles and ways of life.” 

This is just one reason the new Gallup poll found only about half – just 51 percent of Americans believe in all five spiritual entities mentioned earlier, and 11 percent do not believe in any at all. 

The survey also found that frequent churchgoers including Protestants, nondenominational Christians, and Republicans are most likely to say they do believe in those five key truths.

Breaking down the numbers by political affiliation, an average of 83 percent of Republicans believe. In contrast, roughly 60 percent of Democrats say they believe in God, angels and heaven, while less than half say they believe in hell and the devil. Sounds pretty convenient.

Adults aged 55 and older are most likely to believe, and we can easily conclude that they were the least deceived, programmed, indoctrinated, and lied to generation in recent history.

But there’s a faulty assumption that needs to be pointed out. Many poll results such as this one are worded as if those who are less educated are foolish for trusting in God and believing the Bible. The exact wording from this particular article is:

“Adults without a college degree are also more likely than college graduates to believe in each of the five entities.” 

In reality, some of the most educated and intelligent people on earth are also the most lacking in discernment and most ignorant of truth and spiritual things. Jesus experienced the same thing in His day and even the studied religious leaders did not or could not recognize the Messiah right in front of them.

God’s word in 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 states:

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…” 

Another very interesting takeaway from the Gallup poll results is it demonstrates our general lack of biblical worldview as a church. An extremely high 94% of “other Christian” and Protestants say they believe in God.

This is good! And yet, here’s another disconnect: only 80% believe in the devil (81% believe in hell). Why does this matter? 

Because God’s word in its entirety is true and is everlasting. If you don’t believe parts of what the Bible teaches, then how can you trust in Jesus for salvation?

In the church, where we are supposed to be rooted and grounded in Scripture, we have an unfortunate degree of biblical illiteracy. Even many “religious” people don’t want to believe that the devil and hell exist. It’s too theologically messy. 

These professing Christians are not equipped, nor are they prepared to discern spiritual warfare let alone combat the enemy. 

The Bible teaches that believers who know the truth can recognize the enemy’s plots and schemes. If we resist the devil, we are promised that he will flee from us (James 4:7).

One of the last things the Apostle Peter instructed believers in the early church to do was to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).” Deception is rampant. Today more than ever we must not only know what we believe, but why we believe it. 

Just because some people don’t believe in God or the devil, heaven or hell doesn’t change the integrity of the Bible or the fact it’s true. Sadly, some folks will have a rude awakening soon. 

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