For some Americans, Christianity has felt under siege lately.
According to a national Gallup poll conducted in May, however, there's at least one Christian belief that really is on the decline, now reaching a “new low” among U.S. adults:
According to the poll, just 38 percent of adults now believe in what is known as the “strict creationist view,” which is the belief that “God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so.”
It's the lowest that figure has reached since Gallup began asking the question 35 years ago.
As Gallup explains:
This is the first time since 1982 — when Gallup began asking this question using this wording — that belief in God's direct creation of man has not been the outright most-common response.
Overall, roughly three-quarters of Americans believe God was involved in man's creation — whether that be the creationist view based on the Bible or the view that God guided the evolutionary process, outlined by scientist Charles Darwin and others.
Since 1982, agreement with the “secular” viewpoint, meaning humans evolved from lower life forms without any divine intervention, has doubled.
Still, that isn't to say that there aren't those who are more than dedicated to creationism:
As the Washington Post reports:
The founder of Answers in Genesis, an online and publishing ministry with a strict creationist interpretation of the Bible, employed 700 workers to erect the $120 million Ark Encounter, which is five stories high and a football field and a half in length, and packs a powerful whoa punch.
He had the massive boat designed by a veteran of amusement park attractions, commissioned an original soundtrack to enhance the experience, and stocked the interior with an animatronic (and freakishly real) talking Noah, along with lifelike models of Earth’s manifold creatures. Including dinosaurs.
In other instances, creationists have had more direct clashes with science, like in the case of Andrew Snelling.
Snelling, an Australian geologist, recently traveled to the Grand Canyon in hopes of gathering “rocks to support the creationist belief that a global flood about 4,300 years ago was responsible for rock layers and fossil deposits around the world,” as Science Magazine notes.
In early May — after the National Park Service allegedly refused to grant Snelling a permit to gather those samples — Snelling filed a lawsuit against the Interior Department, claiming that it had violated his “free exercise rights by imposing inappropriate and unnecessary religious tests to his access to the park.”
Interestingly enough, Snelling, who hopes that his lawsuit will grant him that permit as well as rewards for damages and attorney fees, currently works for Answers in Genesis, the same group behind the Creation Museum.
While belief in this strict interpretation has certainly ebbed over the last few decades, it seems clear that — in the end — creationists have no intention of letting their beliefs go away quietly.