Americans Dine on a Buffet of Conflicting Beliefs, Survey Finds


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Here in America we like to say that we’re a land of “believers.” According to a new Pew Research Center survey, that’s a painfully true statement.  In fact, Americans believe so many different and conflicting things, it’s hard to categorize exactly what we believe.

The survey of 4,013 adults asked questions regarding belief in astrology, ghosts, various new age beliefs, Christianity and other religions.  The overlaps were dramatic.

Approximately 24 percent of those surveyed (including 22 percent of those who identified themselves as Christians) say they believe in reincarnation.

Overall, about one-in-four adults (24%) indicate that they attend religious services of at least one faith other than their own, and roughly one-in-ten (12%) say they participate in the services of two or more faiths in addition to their own.

Nearly half (49 percent) said they have had a religious or mystical experience, defined as a “moment of sudden religious insight or awakening.”

26% saying they believe in spiritual energy located in physical things such as mountains, trees or crystals.

Roughly three-in-ten Americans (29%) say they have felt in touch with someone who has died. Nearly one-in-five say they have been in the presence of a ghost (18%).

15% say they have consulted a fortuneteller or a psychic.

The survey also evaluated how political affiliation affects belief and found that roughly half of Republicans, Democrats and independents say they have had a religious or mystical experience. More than half of conservatives (55%) claim to have had such experiences, similar to the number of liberals who have had these kinds of experiences (50%) and much higher than among moderates (43%).

With respect to race and age, blacks are much more likely than whites or Hispanics (69%, 47% and 44%, respectively) to report religious or mystical experiences.  More than half (55%) of baby boomers (age 50-64) identify with such experiences, compared with fewer young adults and seniors (43% each).

One takeaway from all of this is that belief is compulsive. People want to believe, and contradictions between beliefs are not all that important. Picking and choosing between beliefs for what suits us is more the American way.

HT: LiveScience


2 thoughts on “Americans Dine on a Buffet of Conflicting Beliefs, Survey Finds

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Americans Dine on a Buffet of Conflicting Beliefs, Survey Finds - David Disalvo - Brainspin - True/Slant --

  2. It seems so obvious that natures violence does stem from some inherent part of what it is, but from what God calls the original sin. It isn’t a fairy tale made up to explain death and destruction. Its amazing that the same people who claim everything is evolving from chaos, are the same that acknowledge the order of it all. I am not arguing evolution or thumping a bible, if I were I would be quoting tons of scripture or pointing to the latest microbiological study of worm intestines or something. But has it ever occured that we are creatures with a conscience because what the bible reveals about God is true, that we were created, that sin brought death and destruction to the earth and all living things even trees. The broad stroke of your pen insisting that religious thinking is all fairy tales is the same offensive stuff that sparks your angst at others who acknowledge God for who He is and what He has done. Merry Christmas to all, and remember if I am right and you believe, you have lost nothing to be wrong, but if we all followed your belief and were wrong, we will have lost everything.

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