Only 22% of Mormons Believe in Evolution?
While I struggle with a lot of faith issues, I have not – as yet – doubted the existence of God (male and female). Like most Mormons, I am quite happy to believe in God. I also am quite happy to believe in evolution. It makes perfect sense to me that God is the creator of life and set life in motion so that eventually humanoids, then humans, were formed.
The only worrisome moment I ever had on the subject was when I was a young teen and someone – I think it was my brother – pointed out that the Bible dictionary explicitly stated that the earth was only several thousand years old, and that no life existed before the fall. I must have just quickly decided that that was a mistake, since I don’t remember ever doubting evolution or that the earth – and life upon it – were much, much older than that.
Having never had a problem reconciling evolution with God or religion, I was surprised a few weeks ago when someone on an email list I’ve joined pointed us to this Pew Research study. It says that Mormons rank second to the last in the percentage of its members believing in evolution – 22%. This puts Mormons between Evangelical Christians at 24% and Jehovah Witnesses at 8%.
What??? We are behind Evangelicals? 22%? Seriously?
To be fair, our low number may be explained by the phrasing of the question. The chart says “percent who agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth.” I can imagine a lot of Mormons thinking ‘Well, I don’t know if it’s the BEST explanation – let’s not leave God out of the equation, even if God did use evolution as a tool…’ I suspect that if the question were phrased differently the number of Mormons saying that they believed in evolution would be at least 60%.
In fact, this evolution believing BYU professor, who probably well represents his whole department’s take on evolution, might well have answered no to that question because of its phrasing.
Would you have said yes to this question as worded? (‘Do you agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth?’)
Have you ever had any problems reconciling evolution and our religion?