By David Masci and Gregory A. Smith, Pew Research Center.
Fifty years ago this month, Time magazine published one of its most famous and controversial covers. Splashed in bold red print across a black background was a short, simple and yet intensely provocative question: “Is God Dead?”
Without providing a definitive answer, the authors of the piece, dated April 8, 1966, seemed to imply that, in many parts of the world, the idea of an omnipotent creator could be heading for history’s dustbin. Even in the United States – where, the authors acknowledged, faith in God seemed nearly universal – many churches and seminaries were slowly dispensing with the traditional notion of the divine in favor of a God who was more symbolic than real.
But a half century after the Time article was first published, a recent Pew Research Center survey shows that belief in God is strong in the United States. Indeed, according to our 2014 Religious Landscape Study, nearly nine-in-ten American adults say they believe in God or a universal spirit.