Survey Finds Complexity In U.S. Religious Beliefs

December 10, 2009

Author: William Wan

Source: The Washington Post

Can you believe in Jesus and in astrology? The answer is a resounding yes, according to a study that shows Americans' beliefs to be more complex than might be expected.

The survey -- one of the first by a major polling group to tackle Americans' belief in such things as "the evil eye" and "spiritual energy in trees" -- was conducted in August by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The goal was to explore the complexity of faith in the modern world and the overlap between religions and other supernatural beliefs.

According to results released Wednesday, the overlap is considerable. Researchers found that 24 percent of U.S. adults sometimes attend services of a faith different from their own. (That figure doesn't include people who go for special events such as weddings and funerals or attend services while traveling.)

The study also found Americans' personal beliefs often combine aspects of major religions such as Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation and astrology.