While trolling the Web for a likely topic for my blog today, I stumbled across a real winner on CNN.com. It caught my eye with the perplexing headline: Poll: 52 percent approve of God's job performance. That practically begged for further investigation.
It seems a North Carolina-based firm called Public Policy Polling conducted interviews of a cross-section of 928 American voters using automated telephone technology between July 15-17. The company is, it seems, notorious for generating polls that produce controversial results.
The poll question that led to the response was, If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its job performance?
The survey revealed that only 52 percent of those surveyed approved of God's performance though just a scant 9 percent disapproved.
When asked to weigh in on a variety of issues God is responsible for, the Almighty fared somewhat better. 71 percent of those surveyed approved of God's creation of the universe, 56 percent approved of its (his/her?) handling of the animal kingdom and a split 50 percent agreed with God's management of natural disasters.
As with many who read this news, I am neither surprised that such a poll was taken or even of the results of said poll. Having been in the employ of the US government for nearly 14 years, I am WELL aware that numbers can be juggled to arrive at almost any desired result. The manipulation of statistical data may not be within the sole purview of the federal government, but you still have to bow to their expertise with such. That being said, it's nice to see that private sector companies continue to exercise their Constitutional right to jack around with numbers too.
I suppose what surprised me most about this juicy little newsbit was not the topic so much as the over 2000 reader comments it inspired. I will say that, while I don't lay any claims to being a devout Christian, I was raised in a Christian home environment. I should also say that certain recent manifestions of providence have led me to believe I MAY not be giving Him enough credit for having a hand in my life.
What surprised and dismayed me was the sheer vehemence of some of the comments. Those commenting ran the gamut from rabid fundamentalist Christians to more mainstream Christians, from atheists/agnostics to assorted, obviously, non-Christian respondents of what faiths I am unsure.
Many of those commenting invited anyone who sought to question God, His doings or to ascribe human frailties such as poor performance to the Almighty, to toast our tootsies in the eternal fires of the Pit. This was offest nicely (said sarcastically) by an equal number of comments seeking to undermine God and Christianity as flawed from the inception. The vitriol and fervor threatened to melt the display of my phone.
So, please allow me to weigh in on my opinion of this all. As regards the poll, I admit to believing in a Supreme Being with a highly-advanced sense of humor. I believe in a God who would look on such a poll and its results and, with a hearty chuckle, wave his hand in a dismissive gesture meant to convey, "Those wacky kids!"
Here is the bottom line then. I do not care what your religion or belief system may be. I have no interest in promoting or denying the free practice of your religion as you see fit to worship. I believe that any religion or belief system that embraces the tenets of peace, love, faith, hope and charity can not be a bad thing for mankind in general. Finally, as when usually confronted with the sheer animosity that exists between the myriad sects of believers added to by the derision of the nay-sayers and non-believers, I am forced to pose a question that is deceptively complex in its simplicity. Can't we all just get along?!?