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Belief in Heaven and Prayer Twice as Popular as Reincarnation and Astrology: Poll

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Jul 31, 2023
Belief in Heaven and Prayer Twice as Popular as Reincarnation and Astrology: Poll

Belief in Heaven and Prayer Twice as Popular as Reincarnation and Astrology: Poll

Twice as many Americans say they believe in heaven and the power of prayer as believe in reincarnation and astrology, according to a new survey.

The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 72 percent of U.S. adults say they believe in the power of prayer while 69 percent believe in heaven. That’s twice as many adults as believe in reincarnation (34 percent) and astrology (34 percent).

Belief in angels (69 percent) also gained majority support, as did karma (63 percent). Less popular are the concepts of hell (58 percent) and the devil (56 percent).

Half of Americans (50 percent) believe the “spirits of those who died can interact with the living.” Another 42 percent believe “spiritual energy can be rooted in physical objects.” One-third of Americans (33 percent) believe in yoga as a spiritual practice.

A total of 83 percent of Americans say they believe that “some things can’t be explained by science.”

Susan Garrett, a New Testament professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky, said belief in angels crosses multiple worldviews.

“They’re very malleable,” Garrett told AP. “You can have any one of a number of quite different worldviews in terms of your understanding of how the cosmos is arranged, whether there’s spirit beings, whether there’s life after death, whether there’s a God … and still find a place for angels in that worldview.”

The poll’s findings about heaven and reincarnation are in line with a 2021 Pew Research Center survey. That earlier poll found that 73 percent of U.S. adults believe in heaven and 62 percent believe in hell, while 33 percent believe in reincarnation. Among self-identified evangelicals belief in heaven (96 percent) and hell (91 percent) was high. Few evangelicals in the Pew survey (16 percent) said they believed in reincarnation.

The May 11-15 AP survey involved interviews with 1,680 adults.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kamonwan Wankaew 


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.



Belief in Heaven and Prayer Twice as Popular as Reincarnation and Astrology: Poll