NEWSWEEK COVER: Newsweek/Beliefnet Poll Finds Majority of Americans Consider Spirituality 'Very Important' in Their Daily Lives
Twenty-Nine Percent of 18-39 Year Olds Say They Practice Their Faith in a
Non-Christians Most Likely to Explore Practices Outside Their Own Faith
NEW YORK, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider spirituality a very important part of their daily lives, according to a Newsweek/Beliefnet poll, conducted August 2-4, 2005. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050821/NYSU005 ) But not all of those polled define spirituality in terms of a traditional religion. While the majority (55%) report that they are religious and spiritual, a significant number (24%) consider themselves spiritual, but not religious. Of those who say they follow a religion (64%), 19 percent say that they are not traditional in how they practice it. That number jumps to 29 percent of those in the 18-39-age bracket, according to the poll, which is part of the August 29-September 5 issue (on newsstands Monday, August 22). In this double issue, Newsweek examines the rise of spirituality in America and looks at why many Americans are choosing to seek spiritual experiences outside the framework of traditional religions. Experts say that American religions have always been characterized by creativity and individualism. "That's their secret to success," says Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. "Rather than being about a god who commands you, it's about finding a religion that empowers you." The cover package also profiles individuals who embody this trend including a Pentecostal minister from Memphis, students at a Catholic university, a Kabbalist rabbi and Muslim youth-group members. According to the Newsweek/Beliefnet Poll, non-Christians are most likely to explore ideas or practices of faiths outside their own. Forty-eight percent of non-Christians said they often or sometimes take part in an activity associated with another religion, whereas 68 percent of evangelical Protestants say they hardly ever or never do. Sixty-eight percent of non- evangelical Protestants and 64 percent of Catholics hardly ever or never participate in outside practices. The Newsweek/Beliefnet Poll also points to a wide variation in how Americans incorporate their spirituality into their daily lives. Sixty-four percent say that they pray every single day, while 21 percent participate in a spiritual activity not connected with a traditional church or house of worship. Only two percent attend church or worship services on a daily basis. Despite the growth of non-traditional religions, most Americans consider themselves Christian. Eighty-five percent of those polled are Christian, compared to five percent who say they are non-Christian and six percent who say they are agnostic or have no religion. Thirty-three percent of Americans classify themselves as evangelical Protestants, while 25 percent say they are non-evangelical Protestants, and 22 percent are Roman Catholic. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism each account for one percent of religious Americans. Of those with a religion, Catholics -- at 91 percent-are the most likely to believe that a good person from a different faith could achieve salvation, the poll found. Evangelical Protestants were the least likely to believe this, with 68 percent agreeing that someone outside their religion could go to heaven, while 83 percent of non-evangelical Christians and 73 percent of non- Christians agreed. Beliefs about the origins of the universe and life after death remain fairly consistent across different religious practices. Ninety-two percent of Americans with a traditional religion believe that God created the Universe compared to 74 percent of those with a non-traditional religion. Seventy-nine percent of those with a traditional religion believe that the soul goes to heaven or hell after death versus 59 percent of those in a non-traditional religious practice. The Newsweek/Beliefnet Poll also found that most Americans continue practicing the religion in which they were raised. Sixty-eight percent say their religion is the same or mostly the same as their religion as a child, versus 20 percent who say their religion is different or mostly different. Of those who changed religions, the number of Americans that now classify themselves as evangelical Christians represents about a ten-percent increase over the number who say they were raised as non-evangelicals. For this Newsweek/Beliefnet Poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates International interviewed 1,004 adults aged 18 and older on August 2-4, 2005. The margin of error is plus or minus four points. To interview Society Editor Lisa Miller on the poll, please call Andrea Faville at 212-445-4859. (Read entire cover story at http://www.Newsweek.com. For news releases, click "Pressroom" at bottom of page.) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9024914/site/newsweek /
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