religion

The majority of Americans are spiritual, but many are turning away from religion

A significant number of US adults are spiritual, with 22 percent not belonging to any organized religion. The new Pew Research Center survey previously reported a decline in religious Americans, while spirituality definitely has a more significant following.

Around 70 percent of Americans are spiritual

Out of these 70 percent, the study of 11,201 US adults found that 22 percent are not religious. Around 48 percent are spiritual and religious, while only 10 percent are religious but not spiritual. A number of 21 percent are neither religious nor spiritual. The vast majority, or 83 percent, believe people have a soul or spirit besides their physical body. Around 57 percent think animals have their own spirits.

The majority believes in heaven

Over 70 percent of those surveyed believe in heaven, but 61 percent think there is hell. Around 60 percent think there are both. Again, most Americans, or 57 percent, believe in the afterlife. Around four in ten also feel that the dead can protect the living, while 18 percent think they can cause harm. 38 percent said they “had a strong feeling that someone who previously passed away was communicating with them from beyond this world.”

Three in ten are not affiliated with organized religion

Previous Pew Research reported that 29% of US adults are religious “nones,” meaning they are atheists, agnostics, or nothing that has anything to do with organized religion. Many turned to practices worldwide that they believe improve their lives, with 38% claiming they meditate regularly. Those who attended churches or similar organized religious events are more likely to speak openly about it. At the same time, only 14% say they are involved in “a spiritual community, such as a group that helps [them] find a connection with something bigger than [themselves], nature, or other people.”

Spiritual but not religious

Nancy Ammerman, a retired professor of sociology at Boston University, explained, “That label ‘spiritual but not religious’ really describes a kind of negative identity more than it describes a particular positive identity.” She added, “It describes people turned off by organized religion. The ‘not religious’ part of the identity is the real key to the identity.”

Interesting gender gaps

Ryan Cragun, a professor of sociology at The University of Tampa, said that it is more acceptable by society for men to be agnostic or atheists. He elaborated, “Women suffer a lot of discrimination generally, and so they’re less likely to be willing to stake out a position that could subject them to more discrimination, so they say, ‘I may not be religious, but I’m spiritual.'”

The role of politics

The label of spiritual but not religious is more noticeable among Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters, around 60 percent of surveyed confirmed. In contrast, 34% identify or lean Republican in the group of spiritual yet not religious voters. The survey included 11,201 participants, and it is the first of its kind. Previous studies concentrated on religion rather than on spirituality. That’s why it is impossible to say if spirituality is gaining momentum or if it has always been in the heart of US adults.

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