Gallop Poll regarding literal creationist view I wonder if these figures have changed in the last decade or so?

"According to a Gallup poll released in June [2012], the percentage of Americans who hold to the creationist view on the matter of origins, as opposed to the evolutionary view, has remained essentially constant over the last 30 years (Newport, 2012). Nearly half (46%) of Americans believe that God created human beings “pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so” (Newport). Amazingly, in spite of decades of incessant bombardment on the minds of young people in public schools by the evolutionary community, Darwinian evolution is making no headway in swaying biblical creationists.

The pollsters highlighted a sobering connection between how religious a person is and their likelihood of being a creationist versus an evolutionist. According to the poll, “the most religious Americans are most likely to be [young earth—JM] creationists” (2012, emp. added). Of those who attend worship each week, 25% believe in theistic evolution and 67% believe in the creation of the Universe within the last 10,000 years. For those who attend almost every week or month, 31% believe in theistic evolution and 55% believe in creationism. Of those who attend seldom or never, 38% believe in theistic evolution and only 25% believe in creationism (2012). The implication is that the less religious a person becomes, moving away from a consistent contemplation of spiritual matters (i.e., the worship of God and a study of His Word), the more he will capitulate to the prevailing secular viewpoint instead of the biblical viewpoint.

One unfortunate finding from the Gallup poll was that the percentage of those who believe in theistic evolution, in one form or another, appears to have gradually declined over the years (from 38% to 32%), while the percentage of those who believe in secular evolution has increased by the same amount (from 9% to 15%) (2012). That’s 19,000,000 Americans! This finding supports the contention that theistic evolution is a gateway doctrine that leads many to atheism—which is a major reason why Apologetics Press has long sought to fight the spread of this debilitating doctrine. Darwinian evolution is not a belief which comes from a straightforward reading of the Bible. It is a theory that is championed by the secular world and that many religious people have felt pressure to accept. Many feel the need to attempt to squeeze Darwinian evolution into the text of Genesis chapter one, in spite of its clear teaching that the Universe was spoken into existence in six, approximately 24-hour days"
In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Also, I note the gatway apolegetics claims when considering the survey shows a worrying trend that those who leave the church happen to also closely match the drop in the number of those who once believed in TEism and this conclusion from the statistics is at odds with the claims on this forum that its YEC that is the problem:

This finding supports the contention that theistic evolution is a gateway doctrine that leads many to atheism Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls - Apologetics Press

Well how old the Earth is does not depend on how old x% of Americans believe it to be.

Similarly, who did or did not evolve from what does not depend on who x% of Americans believe did or did not evolve from what.

Who is or isn’t getting their facts straight about these things does not depend on who x% of Americans believe is or isn’t getting their facts straight.

What evidence does or does not exist, and how it can or cannot be legitimately interpreted, does not depend on the consequences of people being told what evidence does or does not exist, or being told how it can or cannot be legitimately interpreted.

Facts, objective reality, and the nature of the universe that God has created, are not a matter of opinion, or a popularity contest, or a general election. Nobody gets to vote on Newton’s laws of motion or Maxwell’s equations, and in the same way, nobody gets to vote on how old the earth actually is or who did or did not evolve from what. These things remain the same for everyone, Christian and atheist alike, no matter what you believe.

That’s why the issue at stake here is making sure that your facts are straight. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no-one is entitled to their own facts. As Christians we need to be honest about that. Because it’s not the facts themselves that turn people away from Christ; it’s when people speaking in the name of Christ misrepresent or distort the facts.


Exactly–the truth can turn people away from what we want to believe. However, it’s still the truth.

I do wonder if some of those that leave after going to TE initially, do so because they started out so rigidly, and have trouble with adjusting.

I’ve certainly run the gamut, starting from a very strong apologetic, and filling up one highschool exam with handwritten notes opposing evolution and quoting Morris, etc. It’s perhaps because my own parents were so kind and grace-filled that I was able to focus more on God as being grace-full, too, and realized that His character was much more important than getting the bits of a creed right. The whole process has certainly still created a lot of angst in me.

To quote George MacDonald:

If our prayers were heard only in accordance with the idea of God to which we seem to ourselves to pray, how miserably would our infinite wants be met! But every honest cry, even if sent into the deaf ear of an idol, passes on to the ears of the unknown God, the heart of the unknown Father. (I’m not sure how to link this, but it is from @Mervin_Bitikofer 's thread on GM and CSL)


Yes - it is from a particular post in that thread.


@adamjedgar , I echo your concerns. Thank you for your looking out for safety and faith.

I struggle a ton about this. I still do think that God doesn’t mind what we believe here–especially as He has not made it clear to all of us. He loves all of us equally–and he won’t judge us based on knowledge, I think.

At what point does it matter? As Tevye said, when he was asked to bless his daughter, marrying a Christian–“If I bend that far, I’ll break.”

As a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him–for He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.

Thank you again.


Yes thanks to the atheist-creationist alliance opposing the compatibility of science and religion, the percentage of Americans rejecting a belief in God has steadily been rising. Has the numbers believing in theistic evolution been dropping faster than those believing in creationism? No they have not. The creationists may want to boast of the success of their alliance with the atheists, but I think this is a bit foolish. But foolishness is their forte, it seems to me.


Atheists tend not to oppose the compatibility of science and religion, because religion in general is not incompatible with science. Some specific religions do have issues with science, but even those aren’t really incompatible with science. They’re incompatible with reality, as discovered through science.

This is not the fault of atheists. Or scientists.


Polls are tough. This one has a bit different results, and highlights how the question is asked matters.

So much also depends on the sample as well. A poll asking people’s opinion at a Bible Church or SDA church will have quite different results than one in a university town liberal leaning church. Pre-selection and peer pressure make a lot of difference.


That is very interesting. As the article discusses, our cultural baggage has made evolution into the boogey man, so people have a gut reaction to the stand alone concept of evolution. However, when they are given the chance to take a more nuanced position they still incorporate evolution.

Of course, the answers still leave out a lot of detail. How many of those who answered God guided evolution would reject the concept of common ancestry, be it between humans and large groups (e.g. vertebrates, animals, eukaryotes) or universal common ancestry? However, it is worth noting that a minority of people in all groups sided with the canonical creationist position with the single question method. I think we can at least say that YEC is a minority position amongst American Christians as a whole.

There’s also an opportunity for BioLogos to add more nuance. In the questions they equated “evolution through natural means” with “God had no role”.


A poll conducted with college biology students shows about half of non-religious students think you have to reject religion in order to accept evolution compared to ~1/3 of religious students.

There’s some interesting breakdowns of specific views as well.



That ‘American’ makes a big difference.

P.S. You half vs third is for rejecting a literal interpretation of the bible, not for rejecting all religion; the latter was half for both religious and non-religious students.

I am perplexed by the 16+% of religious students who think that to accept evolution you must reject all religion, but not reject Genesis being a literal account.


It is interesting when they put the question that way. My interpretation is that the one question format in allowing three choices allowed some nuance and flexibility of expression, whereas the 2 question format forces people into making a binary choice- and many chose to stick with their tribe rather than answer how they really felt.


The poll tries to describe the situation in USA. How accurate the poll is is another question.
In most other countries, my guess is that the percentage of Christians with YEC beliefs is smaller than in USA.

The problem here is that there is much less popular material telling about the other interpretations of the creation story than YEC. In the local Christian TV, there are programs advocating YEC (they have bought time for their program) but no programs advocating other interpretations. Educated people can read English literature or net pages if they are interested (most are not interested) but many less educated people are dependent on the material available in the local language. If the popular material in local language is pro-YEC, it is no wonder that many adopt the YEC beliefs.


Gallup has not run their evolution poll recently, but here is a similar USA today poll from 2023, showing 37% agreeing that “Humans did not evolve. They were created in their present form by God”. While polls are far from exact, that does fit with an overall trend downwards from 46% in 2012.

I doubt TE is to blame. The internet may enable YEC to get their message out, but also makes fact checking just a google away. Videos, popular articles, standards, scientific articles, and raw data are now readily available. People can judge the merit of creation science for themselves, and often find it wanting. If they conclude they have been misled, the loss of trust can be total.


This seems to be echoed in the article discussed in the “Nones” thread.

It’s a lack of compromise (there’s probably a better word to use here) between religion and science that are driving people away. I don’t see much discussion of people leaving the faith because their church went from YEC to TE. I would imagine some may leave a specific church because of a shift in doctrine, however.

One of the causes of the decline in church attendance is that people never start attending to begin with. People who are not raised in the church are far less likely to attend as adults. If YEC is a prominent message that people are seeing from the church then this could strongly discourage non-attenders from ever attending a church service. It feels wrong to describe Christianity in terms of marketing strategies, but there’s no ignoring the effect that a public image can have. The “He Gets Us” ad campaign doesn’t mention YEC or the evolution debate, and for good reason.


Thank you for the correction.

I have heard some Christians claim that they don’t belong to a religion, but have a personal relationship with Christ. At the same time, people make contradictory claims all of the time in polls like these.


“Facts are stubborn things”…

Correlation is not causation.

Except that cannot be established from the text; it is actually contrary to the literary genres involved.

I don’t need statistics to tell me that I observed hundreds of students abandon the faith due to YEC upbringing or reject it due to YEC advocates.

Or what literary genres the writer of the first Genesis Creation account utilized, or for that matter that he followed the Egyptian creation story as his framework.

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