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Author Topic: Survey finds complexity in U.S. religious beliefs  (Read 2369 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 10, 2009, 02:27:09 PM »

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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.

For example, 25 percent of about 4,000 U.S. adults surveyed believe in reincarnation, the rebirth of the soul in another body. Among Christians, the number drops only slightly, to 22 percent.
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 02:44:33 PM »

Interesting, thanks for posting. This part made me lol...

"I can swing with both sides. I believe in God and in what my parents taught me," he said. "And why not? Even in the Bible, you have ghosts, you know the Holy Ghost.
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 03:48:04 PM »

Interesting, thanks for posting. This part made me lol...

"I can swing with both sides. I believe in God and in what my parents taught me," he said. "And why not? Even in the Bible, you have ghosts, you know the Holy Ghost.

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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 04:21:42 PM »

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For example, 25 percent of about 4,000 U.S. adults surveyed believe in reincarnation, the rebirth of the soul in another body. Among Christians, the number drops only slightly, to 22 percent.

Origenism is alive and well in America today!

 
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 04:59:04 PM »

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.)

How do they define a different faith? Does it mean a Catholic attending an Anglican or Orthodox service, or do they mean an entirely unrelated religion (in so far as religions can be said to be unrelated)?
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 06:00:34 PM »

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.)

How do they define a different faith? Does it mean a Catholic attending an Anglican or Orthodox service, or do they mean an entirely unrelated religion (in so far as religions can be said to be unrelated)?

From the Pew Forum website:
Quote
One-third of Americans (35%) say they regularly (9%) or occasionally (26%) attend religious services at more than one place, and most of these (24% of the public overall) indicate that they sometimes attend religious services of a faith different from their own. Aside from when they are traveling and special events like weddings and funerals, three-in-ten Protestants attend services outside their own denomination, and one-fifth of Catholics say they sometimes attend non-Catholic services.

« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 06:02:01 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 06:03:18 PM »

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For example, 25 percent of about 4,000 U.S. adults surveyed believe in reincarnation, the rebirth of the soul in another body. Among Christians, the number drops only slightly, to 22 percent.

Origenism is alive and well in America today!

 
Actually, Origen never taught the type of reincarnation most prevalent in America these days. For Origen, pre-existence of the soul meant pre-existence in a spiritual realm. Reincarnation, though, means pre-existence in both spiritual and physical realms.
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 06:05:57 PM »

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Compared with other religious traditions, white evangelical Protestants consistently express lower levels of acceptance of both Eastern beliefs (reincarnation, yoga) and New Age beliefs (spiritual energy in physical things and astrology). For example, roughly one-in-ten white evangelicals believes in reincarnation, compared with 24% among mainline Protestants, 25% among both white Catholics and those unaffiliated with any religion, and 29% among black Protestants. Similarly, 13% of white evangelicals believe in astrology, compared with roughly one-quarter or more among other religious traditions. There are few differences among religious traditions in belief in the "evil eye," though black Protestants stand out for high levels of belief on this question (32%).


Among Protestants, high levels of religious commitment are associated with lower levels of acceptance of Eastern or New Age beliefs. Among both evangelical and mainline Protestants, those who attend church weekly express much lower levels of belief in reincarnation, yoga, the existence of spiritual energy in physical things and astrology compared with those who attend religious services less often. Among Catholics, by contrast, frequency of church attendance is linked much less closely with these kinds of beliefs, although those who attend less often do express higher levels of belief in astrology compared with weekly attenders.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2009, 06:47:01 PM »

Jetavan-  I think it is important to make a distinction to what Origen taught, what he theorized, and what ended up getting taught in his name after his death that earned "Origenists" a resounding condemnation in the first canon of the Quinisext council, of which transmigration of the soul is indeed listed and Origen's teachings on the subjects were used as justification of this belief.

That the American concept of the transmigration of the soul is slightly different than what would have been taught by Pythagoreans, Neo-platonists, druids, or even Hindus and Buddhists is more an indicator that the prevalent "religious marketplace" of America is influenced by the same conditions that brought about the heresy to begin with.  Just as after Christ many tried to mix and match Christian belief with popular philosophies and alien piety, so too in our murky age has religious syncretism re-birthed many heresies once thought defeated a millennium ago.  And just as heretics a 1500 years ago would be more than willing to use a few "theories" and follow them as "gospel truth", so today do Americans place great meaning in disputable sources.

The American tendency to go chasing after strange beliefs and foreign "wisdom" has created a nation of heretics to ALL religions.  Imagine how offended an American would be if he went to a true Lama (and not one of our "past life guides"), only to discover in a past life he was not Henry VIII at all, but a lowly housefly.

As far as Protestants believing in the "evil eye"- I remember with fondness my grandfather's library, one of those great havens of books no matter how out-of-date or ill-researched.  Along with great books on the "end times" (most of which posited the end of the world right around the time I was born) we also had a great wealth of "research" done by Evangelical authors on the occult.  Such authors often gave far more credence to the powers of magic and witchcraft than most "witches" I've met since! 
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 07:23:52 PM »

I don't think this shows complexity in US religious beliefs at all, but extreme simplicity. It'd be complex if they came up with a way to make it all fit together, but I don't give most of my countrymen that much credit. More likely, people just pick and choose: "I like that", "that seems right", and give the idea of compatibility not a thought.

Still, it's interesting to see that people are grasping for something—anything. Hopefully they find what they're looking for, even though they don't know what it is (although we do).
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 09:04:41 PM »

This isn't an issue of complexity, but an issue of syncretism.  I can combine legos and lincoln logs, but I think anyone would be really hard pressed to call it "complex."

But back to the article, did we really need a study to confirm this which most of us see in our everyday lives with our friends and family?  Next time, I would suggest publishing a study of this calibre in the multifacted journal "Duh."
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 09:11:23 PM »

But back to the article, did we really need a study to confirm this which most of us see in our everyday lives with our friends and family?  Next time, I would suggest publishing a study of this calibre in the multifacted journal "Duh."

THANK YOU! I had a very similar response when I saw this thread!
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2009, 10:01:57 PM »

This isn't an issue of complexity, but an issue of syncretism.  I can combine legos and lincoln logs, but I think anyone would be really hard pressed to call it "complex."

But back to the article, did we really need a study to confirm this which most of us see in our everyday lives with our friends and family?  Next time, I would suggest publishing a study of this calibre in the multifacted journal "Duh."


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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2009, 10:13:43 PM »

This isn't an issue of complexity, but an issue of syncretism. 

Good call.

I can combine legos and lincoln logs, but I think anyone would be really hard pressed to call it "complex."

I had never thought of that!  I guess it's time to dig up the Legos and Lincoln Logs from Grandpa's house and try it out.
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2009, 10:41:02 PM »

I had never thought of that!  I guess it's time to dig up the Legos and Lincoln Logs from Grandpa's house and try it out.

Perhaps this could be the hobby you were searching for Father.  Wink
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2009, 11:57:18 PM »

I had never thought of that!  I guess it's time to dig up the Legos and Lincoln Logs from Grandpa's house and try it out.

Perhaps this could be the hobby you were searching for Father.  Wink

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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2009, 07:43:18 AM »

This isn't an issue of complexity, but an issue of syncretism. 

Good call.

I can combine legos and lincoln logs, but I think anyone would be really hard pressed to call it "complex."

I had never thought of that!  I guess it's time to dig up the Legos and Lincoln Logs from Grandpa's house and try it out.
Priests should play with toys more often. You never know when you'll come up with a hit idea:
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2009, 08:41:41 AM »

Really?  If you are implying what I think you are, I never knew that...

Actually, speaking of mixing toys, I do wish that I had used the Legos to set up houses, towns, etc. for my (actually, my father's) train set...
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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2009, 12:42:18 PM »

Yep, Thomas the Train was the invention of Rev. W.V. Awdry.  It's funny to imagine a priest sitting in his office derailing toy trains into chocolate syrup and such.
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