The Gallop Poll question regarding religion is Do you believe in God? The latest poll (2022) indicates that 81% of Americans answered Yes. That might be an encouraging statistic to some and a discouraging one to others who recall that back in 1944, 98% of Americans answered Yes. But not only do I believe these answers not valid, I think the question is irrelevant. What difference does it make, really, believing there is a god? “Even the demons believe—and shudder!”1 God exists regardless of what we think. 🤪
I think the question the Gallop poll people should be asking is Do you have faith in God? But you know what? Most people would be confused by the question! What do you mean “faith in God”? They might conclude that it was still the same question: Do you have faith that there is a god? Or Are you connected to a particular faith? And for that answer we can again turn to Dr. Gallop. In 2000, 90% of Americans claimed to be affiliated with some type of faith. In 2019 that had dipped to 77%. But, again, that does not bother me.
So, what’s my point? The point is—the question Do you have faith in God? is perhaps the most relevant question we can ask ourselves (and others). And the answer is complicated. Frankly, if someone were to ask me that question right now, I would have to say, Sometimes. 😦 But that wishy-washy, namby-pamby, weak, vacillating excuse for an answer is a reflection on me, not God. God is faithful. God is trustworthy. God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.”2
Hmm. 🤨 If this is true (and it is), then why do I not have faith in God all the time? And that, my friend, is the million-dollar question! Why, indeed? The answer? Well . . . the truth is I don’t agree with God all the time. His timing seems off. His purposes are obscure. His responses are unpredictable. And frankly, a lot of times he seems deaf at my petitions and absent from my problems! But that actually is God’s design! Wait. What? 😕 Think about it. We need no faith when things go according to our plans! We need faith when we are afraid and discouraged. And if we choose to have faith, we will learn that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”3 We really can trust God, but having faith is not easy. That’s why many people don’t.
So why should we? Well . . . what are the alternatives? We could have faith that things will just work out . . . and sometimes they do! We could have faith in other people . . . but that’s a risk. Isaiah warns us: “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath! What good are they?”4 😮 So good luck with that! What about us? Can’t we just trust our own instincts? Well . . . Solomon warns us: “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool.”5 And recommends that you “do not lean on your own understanding.”6 So . . . that leaves God. And God? Is he trustworthy? Absolutely. “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”7 And trusting in him is the only way to have peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”8
So, the question Do you have faith in God? is not a one-and-done question. We should ask it daily. And for the rest of our lives.
1James 1:19 2Ephesians 3:20 3Deuteronomy 31:8 4Isaiah 2:22 5Proverbs 28:26 6Proverbs 3:5 7Isaiah 26:4 8Isaiah 26:3