Way Too Many Americans Have Neither Seen Nor Read Inherit the Wind

Illustration for article titled Way Too Many Americans Have Neither Seen Nor Read emInherit the Wind/em

It's Sunday, the day, if you believe in supernatural phenomena like a fairy that collects human teeth or a morbidly obese saint that delivers toys each winter to all the illegitimate children he fathered, that a patriarchal Old Testament God with a capital "G" gave up on making Earth out of intergalactic clay because someone else in his pottery class made Saturn and it was, like, very good. However, even if you're far too heliocentric to believe in such a creationist myth, there are plenty of Americans who'll believe in it and all of its attendant absurdities (like what about the fucking dinosaurs, hmm?) for you.

According to a new and probably imperfect Gallup poll, far too many Americans either haven't seen Inherit the Wind or did see it and weren't rooting for Spencer Tracy. A telephone survey of 1,012 U.S. adults, weighted for ethnicity, religion, region, and number of adults in the household, found with "95%" confidence that a little less than half of Americans believe that God created people in their present form within the last 10,000 years, science be goddamned. This number, notes Business Insider's Michael Kelley, is up slightly since 1982 when Gallup started asking people what their feelings were about the origin of human life. More alarmingly, about 78 percent of Americans, even if they don't exactly believe that God made a dude out of nothing and then tore out one of his ribs to make a lady, believe that capital "G" still had some hand in making people, which might only be due to the fact that Gallup framed all of its survey questions in terms of God creating or not creating the little menagerie of life we call the world.

Believing that a cosmic being created people is fine, if not a little self-centered, so long as believers can all acknowledge two things: gorillas at the zoo know what the fuck is up and don't appreciate being made fun of by rag-wearing monkeys that make a lot of high-pitched noises rapidly, and Original Sin is a big patriarchal guilt trip meant only to reaffirm male hegemony. Oh, and what happened to Lilith was totally unfair.


Almost Half Of Americans Still Believe In Creationism [Business Insider]

Image via wjarek/Shutterstock.

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Okay, while the thought of people believing that the earth was created less than 10,000 years go, it's possible to believe in a sort of Creationism and accept evolution as a truth.

At my school, we were taught about the Bible, and our teacher went out of her way to say that the stories in Genesis were purely myth and created to transmit a lesson. She also showed us the evidence that the Noah story was basically an Epic of Gilgamesh rip-off.

In science class, we were taught evolution as a fact, and we were not allowed to bring God into it. In fact, our sciences classes never brought up religion at all; that's what our religion classes were for.

We were allowed and encouraged to form our own thoughts on things, including what we believed about religion. Those who were not Catholic or Christian were still a part of the community, and there was even a semester long class about world religions in which atheism and agnosticism were treated as valid movements (I was going to say belief systems, but they're not really that, are they?).

The majority of the students accepted evolution (in fact the Catholic Church does as well), but there was a belief that God had set the whole thing off and things took its course from there. Whether this is right or wrong can be debated, but the point is that not everyone who chooses to believe in a religion cannot accept scientific facts and theories.

I understand that not everyone has had a positive experience with religion, but you can't let that embitter you. Well, you can, but if you close your mind off of everything that you don't see as fact, you risk turning into those that you hate. People will believe what they want to believe, and as long as they're not forcing that belief on you, it's fine. Agree to disagree.

That is not to say that I endorse or condone religion's influence on laws created in the United States. It is troubling and quite a problem that we need to get sorted out now. The U.S. has become increasingly polarized since the 1980's, and the path that we are heading down now is not a good one at all.

And just because religions exist does not give them the right to bash or bring down groups of people. Organized religion is such a mess, but when you look at it, the core of the faiths are pretty non-threatening. Each revolves around trying to find truth, but the pathways to that truth are different for each. When it comes down to it, religions are more similar than most people think.