Ratings of clergy honesty and ethics.
Stable, changing, unexpected beliefs.
Honesty and ethics ratings of clergy and other professions:
The Gallup Poll regularly conducts surveys of the American population to
determine their opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of various
Only one of the professions polled deals with religion. The percentage of
American adults that rate clergy as very high or high in ethics and honesty has
decreased steadily since the mid 1980's:
The increase in 2001 may well have been influenced by the
9/11 attack. Church attendance surged for a brief interval and then
returned to normal figures (40% as reported by the public; 20% in
The most accurate survey to date shows that
the number of American adults who identify themselves with Christianity
dropped from 86% to 76% between 1991 and 2001.
The largest gain of any religious group was among non-believers.
Canadian census data shows that the percentage of non-Christians has more than tripled
in that country, from 5% to 17% between 1981 and 1991. The percentage of adults who
consider themselves to be Christian has dropped from 95% to 83% over the same decade.
In 1963, two out of three people believed that the Bible was the
actual word of God. Associated with this belief is the concept that
the writings in the Bible are inerrant, and
infallible. By 1999, the numbers had reversed. Two out of three now
regard the Bible as composed of "divinely inspired"
texts or ancient fables, legends and human-recorded moral codes. 9