Poll finds Virginians to be fervent believers

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A survey of Virginians’ religious beliefs taken by Roanoke College finds that an overwhelming majority of respondents polled believe in God and many think their holy book should be taken literally.

The poll included interviews with 600 Virginia residents from Oct. 3-15 and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Ninety-four percent of the respondents said they believe in God, and 72 percent of those believers see God as a person with whom people can have a relationship.

Most respondents (58 percent) would like to see their religion preserve traditional beliefs and practices while 22 percent prefer that their religion adopt modern beliefs and practices.

More than 90 percent of the respondents identified themselves as Christian, with 68 percent being Protestant and 13 percent Roman Catholic .

The largest Protestant denominations are represented were Baptist (42 percent) and Methodist (17 percent). More than half (57 percent) of the Christians are “born again” or evangelical. 

Seventy percent said their holy book (Bible for Christians, Torah for Jews, Koran for Muslims, etc.) is the word of God, and nearly half of those (48 percent) believe it should be taken literally word for word.

Forty-nine percent of respondents attend services daily weekly, while 80 percent pray daily. More than half (57 percent) read scripture or a holy book at least weekly.

Most respondents, 88 percent, think that miracles still occur and 75 percent believe that angels and demons are active in the world.

Three-fourths think that there are clear and absolute standards for right and wrong, and one-third thinks that natural disasters are a warning from God to repent and change practices.

Robert Powell


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