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Poll: Americans Believe More in Heaven and Angels than in Hell and the Devil

A strong majority of Americans believe in angels, Heaven, and the power of prayer — more so than the percentage who believe in the devil or hell, a new AP-NORC survey found.

Eighty-three percent of those surveyed believe “there are things which science or nature cannot explain, 79 percent believe in God or another higher power,” according to the survey, adding that “72 percent believe in the power of prayer, 69 percent believe in heaven, and 69 percent in angels. Fifty-six percent believe in the existence of the devil and 58 percent believe in hell.”

The survey also states:

Eighty-six percent of adults who believe that there are things that science or nature cannot explain also believe in God or a higher power, while 14 percent do not. Among those who do not believe that there are things that science or nature cannot explain, 44 percent believe in God or a higher power.

Sixty-three percent of respondents say they believe in karma, and 50 percent believe “the spirits of those who died can interact with the living.”

Belief in New Age practices is becoming increasingly popular, with 42 percent agreeing that “spiritual energy can be rooted in physical things such as plants, rivers, or crystals. About a third of adults believe in reincarnation, astrology, and yoga as a spiritual practice.

Only six percent of respondents say they do not believe in any of the items in the survey:

The findings are similar to a Gallup poll released in July, which found that the percentages of Americans who believe in five “religious entities” — God, angels, heaven, hell, and the devil — are down to new lows.

“Compared with 2001, belief in God and heaven is down the most (16 points each), while belief in hell has fallen 12 points, and the devil and angels are down 10 points each,” the Gallup poll states.

That poll found that 74 percent believe in God, 69 percent in angels, 67 percent in heaven, 59 percent in hell, and 58 percent in the devil. Those findings came after Gallup documented “sharp declines” in church attendance, confidence in organization religion, and religious identification in recent years.

The AP-NORC poll was conducted May 11-15 with 1,680 adults nationwide and ±3.4 percent margin of sampling error.

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