Newsweek/Beliefnet Poll Results

A new poll points to growing importance of 'spirituality'; most believe people of other faiths can go to heaven.


In early August, 2005, Newsweek and Beliefnet asked 1,004 Americans what they believe and how they practice their faith. Read the complete results or choose a question from the index below:

  • WHO GOES TO HEAVEN/ATTAINS SALVATION?
  • ARE YOU SPIRITUAL OR RELIGIOUS?
  • HOW IMPORTANT IS SPIRITUALITY?
  • WHAT'S YOUR FAITH?
  • WHAT RELIGION WERE YOU RAISED IN?
  • HAS YOUR SIBLINGS' FAITH CHANGED?
  • IS YOUR SPOUSE'S FAITH THE SAME?
  • IS YOUR PRACTICE TRADITIONAL?
  • WHY DO YOU PRACTICE?

  • WHAT'S THE MAIN REASON YOU PRACTICE?
  • HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRACTICE?
  • WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST CONNECTED TO GOD?
  • WAS THE UNIVERSE CREATED BY GOD?
  • WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER?
  • WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE DIES
  • DO YOU EXPLORE OTHER FAITHS?

    Can a good person who isn't of your religious faith go to heaven or attain salvation, or not?
      Yes No Don't know
    Evangelical Protestants 68% 22% 10%
    Non-Evangelical Protestants 83% 10% 7%
    Catholics 91% 3% 6%
    Non-Christians 73% 3% 24%
    Total 79% 12% 9%


    Which best describes you?
      Age  
      18-39 40-59 60+ Total
    Spiritual but not religious 27% 28% 15% 24%
    Religious but not spiritual 10% 8% 8% 9%
    Religious &
    spiritual
    48% 56% 66% 55%
    Not spiritual/
    not religious
    11% 5% 6% 8%
    Don't know 4% 3% 5% 4%


    How important is spirituality in your daily life?
      Age  
      18-39 40-59 60+ Total
    Very important 44% 63% 66% 57%
    Somewhat important 32% 27% 20% 27%
    Not too important 11% 4% 5% 7%
    Not at all Important 11% 5% 5% 7%
    Don't know 2% 1% 4% 2%


    How would you categorize your faith?
      Age  
      18-39 40-59 60+ Total
    Total Christian 77% 90% 91% 85%
    Evangelical Protestant 28% 36% 36% 33%
    Non-Evangelical Protestant 23% 25% 28% 25%
    Roman Catholic 22% 22% 22% 22%
    Mormon 2% 1% 1% 1%
    Orthodox Church <1%> 1% <1%> <1%>
    Other Christian 2% 5% 4% 4%
    Total Non-Christian 7% 4% 4% 5%
    Jewish 1% 2% 2% 1%
    Muslim 2% 0% 0% 1%
    Hindu 1% <1%> 1% 1%
    Buddhist 1% 1% <1%> 1%
    Other religion 2% 1% 1% 1%
    Athiest/Agnostic/No Religion 9% 5% 3% 6%
    Religion Undesignated 7% 1% 2% 4%


    How would you compare your religion today to the religion in which you were raised?
      Age  
      18-39 40-59 60+ Total
    The same 37% 41% 35% 38%
    Mostly the same 28% 31% 33% 30%
    Mostly Different 9% 7% 13% 9%
    Completely different 10% 14% 11% 11%
    Not raised in any religion 5% 2% 1% 3%
    Became an atheist/agnostic 4% 4% 3% 4%
    Don't know 7% 1% 4% 5%


    If you have brothers or sisters, is their religion today the same as that with which they were raised?
    Religion is the same/mostly the same 62%
    Changed religion or stopped practicing religion 23%
    Don't have any (living) siblings 8%
    Not raised in any religion 1%
    Don't know 6%


    Is your spouse's/partner's religion the same as your religion?
    The same 70%
    Mostly the same 14%
    Mostly different 5%
    Completely different 10%
    Spouse/partner is atheist/agnostic/
    has no religion
    1%
    Don't know <1%>


    In terms of the way you practice your religion today, how do you think of yourself?
      Age  
      18-39 40-59 60+ Total
    Very traditional 22% 25% 34% 27%
    Somewhat traditional 40% 47% 43% 44%
    Not traditional 29% 18% 9% 19%
    On the cutting edge 6% 7% 6% 6%
    Don't Know 3% 3% 8% 4%
     
      Evang. Prot. Non-Evang. Prot. Cath. Other
    Very traditional 38% 19% 21% 14%
    Somewhat traditional 38% 48% 52% 36%
    Not traditional 12% 23% 20% 37%
    On the cutting edge 7% 5% 3% 12%
    Don't Know 5% 5% 4% 1%


    How important are the following reasons for practicing your religion today?

    1. To connect with something larger than yourself
    Very important 55%
    Somewhat important 24%
    Not too important 8%
    Not at all important 6%
    Don't know 7%
     
    2. To find happiness and peace of mind
    Very important 70%
    Somewhat important 21%
    Not too important 4%
    Not at all important 3%
    Don't know 2%
     
    3. To forge a personal relationship with God
    Very important 75%
    Somewhat important 16%
    Not too important 4%
    Not at all important 4%
    Don't know 1%
     
    4. To give your life meaning and structure
    Very important 63%
    Somewhat important 24%
    Not too important 6%
    Not at all important 4%
    Don't know 3%
     
    5. To be a part of a community
    Very important 39%
    Somewhat important 33%
    Not too important 13%
    Not at all important 13%
    Don't know 2%
     
    6. To help you be a better person and live a moral life
    Very important 75%
    Somewhat important 19%
    Not too important 2%
    Not at all important 2%
    Don't know 2%


    When do people feel most connected with God or the divine?
    Read more poll results >>



    Which of the following would you say is the main reason you practice your religion? (among traditional and non-traditional practitioners)
    Trad. Non-Trad. Total
    To forge a personal relationship with God 44% 28% 39%
    To help you be a better person and live a moral life 31% 27% 30%
    To find happiness and peace of mind 17% 17% 17%
    To connect with something larger than yourself 10% 9% 10%
    To give your life meaning and structure 8% 11% 8%
    To be part of a community 3% 3% 3%
    Other reason 1% 0% 1%
    No main reason 5% 19% 10%
    Don't know 2% 1% 2%


    How often do you do each of the following religious and spiritual activities?

    1. Attend church or worship services
    Every day 2%
    Several times a week 13%
    Once a week 30%
    Once or twice a month 15%
    A few times a year 13%
    Seldom 14%
    Never 12%
    Don't know 1%
    2. Participate in a spiritual activity not connected with a traditional church or house of worship
    Every day 21%
    Several times a week 11%
    Once a week 11%
    Once or twice a month 14%
    A few times a year 9%
    Seldom 12%
    Never 19%
    Don't know 3%
    3. Read the Bible, Koran, or other sacred text
    Every day 20%
    Several times a week 13%
    Once a week 12%
    Once or twice a month 11%
    A few times a year 9%
    Seldom 16%
    Never 17%
    Don't know 2%
    4. Pray
    Every day 64%
    Several times a week 10%
    Once a week 5%
    Once or twice a month 4%
    A few times a year 2%
    Seldom 6%
    Never 8%
    Don't know 1%
    5. Meditate
    Every day 29%
    Several times a week 10%
    Once a week 6%
    Once or twice a month 4%
    A few times a year 2%
    Seldom 10%
    Never 36%
    Don't know 3%


    In which instance do you feel most connected with God or the divine?
    When praying or meditating 40%
    When in nature 21%
    When in a house of worship 21%
    When praying with others 6%
    When reading a sacred text 2%
    None of these 6%
    Don't know 4%


    Do you believe the universe was created by God, or not created by God?
    Created by God 80%
    Not created by God 10%
    Don't believe in God 1%
    Don't know 9%


    What do you think is the most important purpose of prayer?
    To seek God's guidance 27%
    To thank God 23%
    To be close to God or the divine 19%
    To help others 13%
    To improve a person's life 9%
    Other 4%
    Don't know 5%


    Which best describes your views about what happens when someone dies? (among traditional and non-traditional practitioners)
    Trad. Non-Trad. Total
    It'a all over, there is no soul 3% 6% 6%
    The soul goes to heaven or hell 79% 59% 67%
    There is no heaven or hell, but the soul lives on in a spiritual realm 9% 17% 13%
    The soul is reincarnated into another being 2% 8% 5%
    Don't know 7% 10% 9%


    How often do you explore spiritual ideas or practices of other religious faiths in addition to your own?
    Evang. Prot. Non-Evang. Prot. Cath. Other All
    Often 7% 6% 8% 17% 8%
    Some-
    times
    23% 25% 27% 31% 24%
    Hardly ever 33% 31% 28% 32% 31%
    Never 35% 37% 36% 12% 35%
    Don't know 2% 1% 1% 8% 2%

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