Report: Even Atheists, Agnostics, Nonreligious Americans See Evidence for Creator

Photo: LifeWay Research

NASHVILLE – Nearly half of atheists, agnostics, and those with no religious preference in the U.S. see evidence in the universe for a creator, according to just-released polling data from a major research organization.

LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based polling group that frequently surveys Americans on matters of faith and culture. The group’s latest report, “American Views on Reasons to Believe in a Creator,” shows surprising insights on the number of people who believe in a creator.

According to the study, 72% of all Americans think that because the universe has organization, there is a creator who designed it. Over half of participants—52%—strongly agreed with that statement, while only 11% strongly disagreed.

Surprisingly, even nonreligious Americans admit that the evidence for a creator is undeniable. 46% of atheists, agnostics, and those without religious preferences also think that the universe’s organization bears witness to a creator.

Romans 1:20 says the invisible things of God “are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”

LifeWay Research collected their data through a phone survey of 1,000 individuals. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed 3.5%, according to the polling group.

The organization of the universe is not the only evidence that points to a creator, many respondents said. Overall, two-thirds of Americans agree with the statement, “Since people have morality, I think there is a creator who defines morality.”

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Furthermore, 79% of those surveyed said the very fact that humans exist means someone created us. A relatively small minority, 16%, disagreed with that conclusion.

The fact that so many Americans, including nonreligious people, see evidence for a creator is remarkable, said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“People who seek to set out reasons to believe, often called apologetics, have historically framed their argument in similar ways,” Stetzer said in a statement last week. “The large number of nonreligious people agreeing with some of these arguments points us to a surprising openness to classic apologetic arguments. Or, put another way, even nonreligious people are open to the idea there is a creator.”

LifeWay Research further broke down their findings based on survey participants’ region, age, gender, education level, and ethnicity, finding that older Americans are more likely to see evidence of a creator than younger Americans. Likewise, women are more likely than men to believe that the existence of human life points to a creator.

In the eyes of many Americans, both science and morality attest to the existence of a creator. Mary Jo Sharp, a professor at Houston Baptist University, said the atheistic worldview struggles to provide cogent explanations for the universe around us.

“The infinitesimal odds that life arose by blind chance is a formidable argument,” Sharp said in the statement from LifeWay Research.

“The existence of good and evil is difficult to explain from an atheistic worldview, because in that view, there is no stable external grounding outside of humans for a standard of goodness,” she added.

These survey findings are helpful, Stetzer said, because they show that an unexpectedly large number of Americans recognize that the creation was likely created.

“In an increasingly secular age, where the Christian faith has perhaps lost its home-field advantage, Christians will need to make their case for the creator and ultimately for the gospel,” he stated. “It appears people—even nonreligious people—are indeed open to apologetics arguments, if Christians will actually make them.”

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