Monday, 11 April 2011

Survey o' the day - belief in the supernatural by political affiliation

For once a survey that addresses what I would have thought were the wilder shores of belief  is US based rather than French.  Should I ever find myself, A - rich beyond the dreams of avarice and B - out of loved ones to scatter largesse on, I am going to start commissioning similarly entertaining polls in these parts.  Anyway, onwards:

26% of Americans believe there is spiritual energy in trees etc.  Yes, really.  Must make trips to the hardware store etc a little trying, and driving past telegraph poles positively gut-wrenching.  I think 'Avatar' has a lot to answer for. 

24% (and 22% of self-defined Christians) believe in re-incarnation.  As I have noted before, 'while believers in previous lives always seem to think they were Queens (hello Shirley McLaine), Emperors, mighty warriors etc, someone does have to man the plague pits, clean the latrines, die of leprosy in infancy'.

Where it gets distinctly odd is when worshippers are asked if they go anywhere else other than their usual place of worship:

However, significant numbers within all three Protestant traditions report sometimes attending Catholic Mass; this includes nearly one-in-five black Protestants (19%), 13% of white evangelicals and 14% of mainline Protestants. Fewer say they attend Jewish synagogues or Muslim mosques.
Roughly one-in-five Catholics say they attend services of at least one faith other than Catholicism, with most of these (18% of Catholics overall and 16% of white Catholics) saying they attend Protestant services. About one-in-twenty Catholics report attending services at Jewish synagogues (5%) and 1% say they attend Muslim mosques.

This could suggest that very broad ecumenism is catching on, but I think it more likely that folk are thinking 'oh yes, we did go to that wedding of the Goldsteins / O'Reillys / Olafsens a few years back ' (delete as appropriate).  Another possibility is that there is some very serious hedging of bets going on.

16% believe in the evil eye, curses etc.  I suppose that would serve to explain the continued existence of certain forms of popular entertainment.

In the best tradition of these things, the fun really starts when political persuasion is factored in, and to my distinct pleasure, Republicans are the most sceptical in the three way split twixt Reps, Dems and independents.  Shame that Greens are not included - I imagine the figure for tree worship would have been quite entertaining.  Anyway, the split for reincarnation is 17 R/30 D/ 26 I.  Belief in yoga as something other than just keep fit sees this division - 15 R / 31 D /26 I.  Somehow I cannot, or rather will not, visualise Newt Gingrich in a leotard.  Apologies to anyone now in need of brain bleach.

Meanwhile, 21% of Republicans 'have felt in touch with someone who has died', with 36% of Dems thinking likewise.

More later, although unlikely given pressure of work.

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