Among Progressives, Belief in God Falls
There’s no doubt we are seeing an increase in progressivism in politics in the U.S. and across the globe. In recent decades, around the 2000s and onward, even casual observers have seen an increased divide in the political landscape. Those disagreements don’t suggest that one party is evil and the other is not. For years, both sides shared common values on things like women’s rights, a strong military, and growing economy. The term “progressivism” was a term largely absent in dialogue — but lately, something’s different. The priorities between the two sides have noticeably changed.
In our current climate, the Left prioritizes identity politics, causing women to be overshadowed by transgenderism. Despite rising international threats, leaders are more concerned about social extremism like woke gender ideology and redefining abortion as “health care.” Many view our economy under the Biden administration as the worst it’s been — despite such catastrophic events as the Great Depression.
Consider these statistics.
In 1999, when Gallup first polled religious and spiritual beliefs among Democrats and Republicans, the playing field was fairly even, with 60% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans classifying themselves as “religious.” Twenty-four years later, a 2023 poll reveals just how uneven this playing field has become. According to the latest survey, it seems Republican beliefs have produced a similar percentage of “religious” self-identifiers while Democrats have dropped 23 points to only 37%.
Two and a half decades after first surveying Americans on their belief in God overall, Gallup is also seeing a significant decline. The most obvious decreases are due to impressionable young adults, liberals, and Democrats — 62% to 72% of whom claim no belief in God. Among conservatives and Republicans, 92% to 94% believe in God. The report stated, “Religiosity is a major determinant of political divisions in the U.S.” In other words, belief in God (or lack thereof) significantly affects politics.
The equation is pretty straightforward. Politically speaking, the Left’s decreased belief in God plus the Right’s increased or consistent belief in God equals a greater gap between the parties. It also equals a greater gap in our ability to be civil with one another and a disconnect in how we view the realities of the world. Belief in God affects politics because what is political is firstbiblical. The more a party detaches from God, the more secular and divisive that party becomes. This recent Gallup poll reveals how much a worldview —secular or biblical — affects political affiliation. Progressivism being a clear example.
Joseph Backholm, senior fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “This is an interesting, though unsurprising, trend.” He continued, “As a general matter, the higher opinion a person has of themselves, the lower their opinion of God will be.” He discussed how with prominent social issues such as abortion, gender, and marriage, the Left tends to assume a position of “we are in charge of ourselves and accountable to no one.” And as Backholm put it, this posture causes those who hold it “to have a lower view of God,” and secularism naturally follows embracing progressivism.
Backholm shared, “People who start from a secular perspective are much more likely to embrace political positions that minimize or reject humanities responsibilities to a higher power.” There are exceptions to this rule, Backholm emphasized, but it is no secret that atheism and secularism are more prominent within progressive politics.
As progressives push God to the side, they aggravate racial division by pushing critical race theory in schools. They prioritize the mutilation of children and the cancelation of women. They advocate for the killing of children in the womb. They ignore the countless victims of sex trafficking in order to have access to pornography. Divorce rates and fatherlessness rise. Drug overdoses rise. Depression and suicide rise. As Backholm noted, it’s no coincidence the party falling away from God is growing increasingly rebellious, clinging to politics as their hope to be sovereign over the affairs of man — glorifying their secular worldview. Again, this is not to say the Democratic Party is pure evil, but a reflection of what occurs when you reject the Source of all good. Reject Him, and of course you’re going to spiral into lawlessness.
Thankfully, the statistics of Republicans who believe in God have stayed relatively the same. This is demonstrated not only in the pro-life, pro-family, and pro-marriage legislation pushed at the state and federal levels, but also in the GOP’s own platform. Unlike Democrats, Republicans continue to affirm that there are only two sexes, unborn babies have value and deserve protection, and healthy marriages are pivotal for society and future generations — all of which aligns with a strong biblical worldview. And this is the party that has consistently upheld its belief in God. For those who proclaim faith, we know these shrinking statistics of people who believe in God inevitably leads to an increase in darkness.
In response to progressivism, which commonly goes against the truth rooted in Scripture, Ephesians makes clear we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with the principalities of this world. And let me say, those principalities are at work. Indeed, politics has become child’s play for the enemy. He uses it to manipulate, deceive, and divide.
Regardless of political affiliation, Christians have an advantage of using Scripture’s clear truth as a guide for cultural engagement. We see there is the secular worldview and the biblical, and how these worldviews are played out in politics. And no political party can save America. Jesus is our only hope.
Considering this, we have an obligation to utilize the party that falls more in line with a biblical worldview. We pray for the party that seems to be straying further away. Scripture says you cannot serve two masters, and that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). Don’t be among those statistics of people who do not believe in God and use politics to create their own truth. Rather, be a part of the unexpected revival of bold believers proclaiming the truth despite any opposition.
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.