Multiple Faiths

Many Americans Mix Western, Eastern, New Age Beliefs

The latest poll by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that one-third of Americans attend religious services at more than one place, while a quarter of us sometimes attend religious services of a faith different from our own. Sixty percent attend at churches or houses of worship; other locations include houses, schools, restaurants, hotels, parks and campgrounds. Some 38 percent attend at least once a week and 34 percent once or twice a month or a few times a year; 27 percent say they seldom or never attend religious services.

Although the United States is an overwhelmingly Christian country, between 23 and 26 percent of the adults polled also say they believe in a tenet of Eastern or New Age spirituality: reincarnation; yoga as a spiritual practice; spiritual energy located in physical things; or astrology. Nearly three in 10 say they have felt in touch with someone who has died.

In 2009, half of Americans polled said they have had “a religious or mystical experience, that is a moment of religious or spiritual awakening.” In 1962, only 22 percent reported having had such an experience.


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