The comparison of these two numbers surprised me: while 89% of Americans believe “most evil in the world is caused by mankind” only 25% believed human nature is basically evil. Terms aside, one would think that if that many think humans cause the problem they’d also think humans are corrupted. Theologians call this “original sin” (or the lack thereof). 43% of Americans think “most evil is caused by the devil.” (You can obviously vote for more than one option.)
Cons Prots: devil (73) mankind (84) human nature (39)
Lib Prots: devil (34) mankind (92) human nature (17)
RCs: devil (38) mankind 90) human nature (13)
Atheists: devil (0) mankind (88) human nature (19)
Women vs Men on the devil (47 vs. 39), human nature (22 vs. 29).
African Americans vs. Whites on the devil (70 vs. 40)
Political cons vs. Political libs on devil (58 vs. 21) and human nature (36 vs. 11).
What about capital punishment? after the jump
One’s belief that either the devil is behind evil or human nature is behind evil are more likely to believe in capital punishment:
Those who believe human nature is basically evil disagree (26% vs. 16%) that the feds should eliminate capital punishment while they think criminals should be punished more harshly (79% vs. 67%).
Those who believe the devil made me do it think we should punish criminals more harshly (81% vs. 59%).