Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age
January 10th, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.

When asked if “God used evolution to create people," 73% of pastors disagreed - 64% said they strongly disagreed - compared to 12% who said they agree.

Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.

A movement called Young Earth creationism promotes the 6,000-year-old figure, arguing that it is rooted in the Bible. Scientists say the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

The Southern Baptist Convention survey, which queried 1,000 American Protestant pastors, also found that 74% believe the biblical Adam and Eve were literal people.

“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a report on LifeWay’s site. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”

The phone survey was conducted in May 2011, sampling ministers from randomly selected Protestant churches. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, LifeWay said.

A 2010 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans believe God created humans in their present form, versus 54% who said humans developed over millions of years.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Science

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soundoff (6,504 Responses)
  1. Ida's isms evolved naturally into Sophie's isms

    1st Timothy 6:20

    March 30, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  2. Ida' isms evolved to Sophie' isms

    It is just a world view introduced by satan. satan asks, did God really say that?Yes he did satan, read the Bible.
    74% got it right.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
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    October 24, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  6. Hubert

    My immediate reoitcan would be to say that of course I'd choose my current life, but were I really faced with the choice I don't think it would be all that easy, you know?Thanks for such a thorough review for the tour!

    October 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  7. Peter

    Time is one of the hardest things to get a grasp of when considering earth history, but geologists figure out time scales by looking at the speed at which natural processes take place today. The physical processes of the earth, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, oceans, land, ice caps, ice ages, continents parting and joining together are all there to be seen today and are measurable in time and space. From this, estimates of time spans can be made and the fossils buried in the rocks connect biology with physics, telling us that life forms have changed over time as well. As geologists we are encouraged to keep an open mind and consider all ideas objectively and this way we have been liberated from believing the written word just because it has been written for a long time

    September 25, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  8. Nietodarwin

    This is why the USA has such low test scores. Religion is child abuse. These religious people are afforded the freedom to believe and practice this nonsense in their homes and churches, and yet still insist on doing things like coming on here and quoting the bible, and teaching children this crap. (Children who later end up with lower test scores, and lots of other mental problems brought on by religion.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  9. Peteyroo

    Right. The earth is flat and the sun revolves around us. Am I missing anything?

    June 2, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Paul

      Yes, you're missing the fact that Christians never believed the earth was flat.

      June 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • mattmchugh

      That's right. Christians never believed the Earth was flat - the empirical evidence for a round Earth, well established by Egyptian/Greek/Roman observations, was the overwhelming worldview by the time of Christ.

      The ancient Hebrews believed in a flat Earth, as described in Genesis.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  10. GrowUp

    Seriously? LMFAO!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Jeremy

    Video at the end was funny. Nicely selected for maximum typo impact. lol.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  12. Jayakumar

    The most educated people on the planet are also the most dumbest.. what a paradox?

    June 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Grammarman

      "most dumbest"??

      Perhaps you should get some education as well, or at least basic English training. Also, I think it is difficult to judge someone when you can't relate to them, thus your own lack of education would affect you weighing in on the subject. Any idiot can have an opinion. Don't judge a man until you've walked in his shoes.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  13. Golden Sun Loves All

    I'm an atheist but I do believe religion is good for people, if it is not used in politics. Actual I do believe in a god, or should I say goddess. Mother nature is my god. She, without doubt, is the creator of everything, and she doesn't asked to be worship like other gods, just respected.

    March 15, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  14. SuPpre


    March 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Grammarman

      Wow, there are at least 30 misspellings and major basic grammar errors in the text of this video. And the premise is that Atheism and education don't make you smart, thus uneducated Theists should be respected for their educated opinions. LMFAO.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.