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Poll: Belief in Existence of Hell, the Devil ‘Down to New Lows’

The percentages of Americans who believe in five “religious entities” — God, angels, heaven, hell, and the devil — are down to new lows, a new Gallup News poll found.

Gallup has polled Americans five times since 2001 about belief in these five entities, with the most recent showing “each…at its lowest point.” The survey was conducted between May 1-24, 2023, with 1,011 U.S. adults. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

“Compared with 2001, belief in God and heaven is down the most (16 points each), while belief in hell has fallen 12 points, and the devil and angels are down 10 points each,” the poll report states.

Even so, majorities believe in each of the five entities, including 74 percent who believe in God, 69 percent in angels, 67 percent in heaven, 59 percent in hell, and 58 percent in the devil.

“This question asks respondents whether they believe in each concept or if they are unsure, and from 13 percent to 15 percent currently say they are not sure. At the same time, nearly three in ten U.S. adults do not believe in the devil or hell, while almost two in 10 do not believe in angels and heaven, and 12 percent say they do not believe in God,” the survey report states. “As the percentage of believers has dropped over the past two decades, the corresponding increases have occurred mostly in nonbelief, with much smaller increases in uncertainty. This is true for all but belief in God, which has seen nearly equal increases in uncertainty and nonbelief.”

The poll found that 51 percent of Americans believe in all spiritual entities, and 11 percent do not believe in any. Seven percent are not sure about all of them, and 31 percent believe in some and not others.

The survey found that frequent churchgoers, Protestants (including nondenominational Christians) and Republicans are most likely to say they believe in those five spiritual entities.

By political affiliation, between 78 percent and 87 percent of GOP voters believe in the five entities, while 51 percent to 68 percent of independents do. From 56 percent to 66 percent of Democrats say they believe in God, angels and heaven, while less than half say they believe in hell and the devil.

Americans with lower household incomes (under $40,000) are more likely than higher income households (at least $100,000) to believe in each of the entities, although majorities of higher income groups still believe in each.

“Adults aged 55 and older are most likely to believe in each of the concepts, but majorities of those in the 35 to 54 age range also believe in the five. Fewer of those aged 18 to 34 believe in each of the five concepts, but majorities profess belief in all but the devil,” the survey found. “Women are more likely than men to believe in all of the spiritual concepts except for the devil, which 58 percent of both groups say they believe in.”

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

The findings come after Gallup has documented “sharp declines” in church attendance, confidence in organization religion and religious identification in recent years.

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