More than a half of all Americans think that their country is close with the Creator. A new survey, conducted by Lifeway Research, has found that 53 percent of Americans believe that “God and the nation have a special relationship.” And, despite political bickering in the media, the recent economic downturn and overseas conflicts, just four in 10 Americans actually think that “America’s best days are behind us.”

The concepts of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny are nothing new. As Lifeway’s executive director Ed Stetzer points out in the research, the ideas have long been part of American thinking.

God Bless America is more than a song or a prayer for many Americans. It is a belief that God has blessed America beyond what is typical for nations throughout history. I am sure that would spawn many theological conversations, but it’s important to note most Americans think God has a special relationship with their country.

Out of all of the demographics mentioned in the research, evangelicals had the highest numbers of individuals to believe God is in a “special relationship” with the United States, with 67 percent agreeing with the idea. Discuss

A new Associated Press-GfK poll has found that when it comes to ideas about science that can be perceived as a conflict to religious or political values, Americans remain unsure. Though only a very small percentage doubts that smoking can cause cancer or have skepticism about the concept of genetic code, ideas like the age of the earth, the origins of the universe and man-made global warming remain contentious.

About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority—51 percent—questions the Big Bang theory.

Researchers believe that in addition to a variety of political and religious beliefs held by many Americans, big concepts that people don’t regularly encounter (unlike cancer or illness) can often lean them toward skepticism ... Discuss

The American Bible Society has released their latest list of the most (and least) Bible-minded cities in the country, and for the second straight year, the title went to a city in Tennessee. According to their research, conducted in partnership with Barna Group—which involved interviews with 10s of thousands of people about their personal Bible-reading habits and beliefs about scripture’s accuracy—Chattanooga is the most Bible-minded place in the country. Last year’s title-holder, Knoxville, fell to No. 10. Notably, every city on the top 10 list (which included areas like Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., Little Rock, Ark. and Shreveport, La.) were all in the south. As for the “least Bible-Minded city”, that prestigious designation goes to Providence, R.I./New Bedford, Mass. Also notable, is the fact that out of the 10 least Bible-minded cities, two are in New York and five are in New England ... Discuss

CNN recently released the results of a public opinion poll in which they asked more than 1,000 Americans if they thought eight specific actions were wrong. Adultery was most commonly agreed upon as a transgression, with 93% of those who answered saying it was “morally wrong.” “Cheating on your taxes” came in second with 90% of the votes, ahead of “having an abortion” (57%), “engaging in homosexual behavior” (50%), viewing porn (46%), smoking pot (35%), “living with someone when you’re not married” (32%) and drinking (16%). The survey also compared how Americans answered the exact same questions back in 1987. Even then, adultery and cheating on taxes led the list, but were followed by homosexual behavior with 82% of the vote. Another notable change was how the view on living together before marriage differed: in the ‘80s, 54% of those asked believed it was immoral. The survey offers an interesting look at how moral standards have evolved and changed in the last two decades in American society. However, in both decades, it would be agreed upon that Ted Beneke is a really bad person ... Discuss

A group of atheists and secularists have created the Recovering From Religion campaign, and are seeking to raise enough money to start a 1-800 hotline for religious doubters. Their goal is to offer ‘round the clock support for people fleeing religion or that are in the midst of a spiritual crisis of doubt. They hope to launch “The Hotline Project" by June 30 … Discuss

According to a new study from The Barna Group, America is becoming an increasingly “post-Christian” society. By looking at beliefs and spiritual practices, they created “Post-Christian Metrics”. Their research found that though seven out of 10 people said they were Christians, their responses about behaviors associated with Christian faith (praying, reading the Bible, attending Church) showed an increase in post-Christian characteristics. They found that according to the scale, each generation is more post-Christian than the one that came before it … Discuss