"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Monday, July 26, 2004

Poll: God is real, but some believe in witches, ghosts
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Staff Reporter, Mobile Register

In this self-described 'Buckle of the Bible Belt,' it will come as no surprise to learn that 90 percent or more of Alabamians believe in the existence of God, heaven, hell, miracles, angels and the devil, according to the results of a new statewide survey. But what to make of the fact that one in four also believes in witches, and one in three thinks that ghosts are real?

'They might believe in God, but not to the point that they have accepted him,' was the explanation of Richard Blaine, pastor of Lott Road Bible Church just outside the Mobile city limits. 'So many people say they believe in God, but where are they when it comes to attending church?'

To former Samford University professor Bill Leonard, the seemingly contradictory findings reflect a tension as old as organized Christianity in America. The New England Puritans clearly believed in the witches they burned at Salem, and Quakers used to hold seances, said Leonard, now dean of the Wake Forest University divinity school in North Carolina.

Setting the boundaries of orthodoxy, he said, is 'always tricky and always shaky.' "

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