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U.S. Faith In Spiritual Entities Continues To Plunge

Yithian

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The article is paywalled but here:
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/a...at-happened-to-religion-christianity-llmu6ls1

But a helpful soul on Reddit has put/grabbed the key findings in graphical form:

RDT_20230823_1116223805574272460443384.png


Incredulity there mirrors my own: not the declining figures for 2023, but the c.90% belief in 'God' in 2001!

A secondary sidenote is that more now believe in 'angels' than 'heaven', which by many religious accounts would leave them homeless. Are there some kind of non-denominational 'folk angels' floating around in the imagination of the American public?

Personally, I find 'concepts' like 'God', 'Heaven' and 'Hell' much easier to assent to since they can be more loosely interpreted. Heaven and Hell, for instance, can metaphorically refer to states of being as well as putative locations—and what constitutes those states is very subjective.

To premptively counter one slightly tiresome objection: those asking the questions will deliberately not have defined or limited what the names of the entities refer to, that is for the respondee to decide; hence, non-Christians can indicate faith in Allah or Jehovah or whatever by agreeing to the term 'God', despite it being misleadingly expressed (better but more clumsy: 'a god or goddess').

Footnote: why is 'the devil' not capitalised? It's a proper noun, cf. 'a moon' but 'the Moon'.
 
A secondary sidenote is that more now believe in 'angels' than 'heaven', which by many religious accounts would leave them homeless. Are there some kind of non-denominational 'folk angels' floating around in the imagination of the American public?
Angels are often seen like that. There have been American TV drama shows about angels interacting with humans, such as Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heaven.

The angels we see on TV and read about in books are certainly sent by God but appear as people. We have threads about them; they fix cars and washing machines, and even help with veterinary problems.
 
Angels are often seen like that. There have been American TV drama shows about angels interacting with humans, such as Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heaven.

The angels we see on TV and read about in books are certainly sent by God but appear as people. We have threads about them; they fix cars and washing machines, and even help with veterinary problems.

Yes, I agree we've seen plenty of that, but I'm focused on the idea of angels that seem to work independently of God and Heaven.

There are, according to 2023 figures, people who believe in the existence of angels but not in the existence of heaven—which on the face of things, angels tending to be components of religious systems, seems slightly incongruous.

If you asked most people "Where do angels come from?" (Or "Assuming Angels exist, where would people say they came from?), I think most people would say 'Heaven'.
 
Yes, I agree we've seen plenty of that, but I'm focused on the idea of angels that seem to work independently of God and Heaven.

There are, according to 2023 figures, people who believe in the existence of angels but not in the existence of heaven—which on the face of things, angels tending to be components of religious systems, seems slightly incongruous.

If you asked most people "Where do angels come from?" (Or "Assuming Angels exist, where would people say they came from?), I think most people would say 'Heaven'.
Depends how people interpret the term 'Heaven'.

Is it where God and Jesus live? Where good people go when they die? A vague state of eternal bliss, or a mirror image of Earth with houses and cinemas? Are there versions of 'Heaven' for different religions?

We have no context. Nothing much to learn here.
 
Yes, I agree we've seen plenty of that, but I'm focused on the idea of angels that seem to work independently of God and Heaven.
Since no less an authority than Pope John Paul II appeared in 1999 to recategorise both heaven & hell as really being more states of mind than any form of physical (or directly-spiritual) locations, I suppose it's hardly-surprising that angels have been evicted from their classic realms:

https://www.washpo.com/1999/popes-vision-of-heaven-hell-riles-evangelicals
https://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pope John Paul II has just revealed what the tabloids are calling a "shocking truth" about heaven and hell, and his revelation is turning into a serious theological sore point between Roman Catholics and American Protestant evangelicals.

In several recent public appearances, the pope took a few minutes to muse on the nature of heaven, hell and purgatory for the audience of some 7,000 tourists who gather at the Vatican every Wednesday afternoon. Forget the popular notion of actual physical places--fluffy clouds above, an inky inferno below--he told the audience. Think of hell as a state of mind, a self-willed exile from God.

Heaven, he said in late July, "is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds but a living and personal relationship with the Holy Trinity." Better to think of hell, he explained the next week, as "more than a physical place," as "the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy."
We can consider all possibilities and potentialities (as I think every sentient being must do), but: the tortuous contradictory pantheonic paradoxes of conventional religions are so utterly self-extinguishing as to deserve nothing more than acknowledgement, indexing, then...abandonment.

There is undoubtedly more around us in the universe than we can presently perceive or understand. But there is always the understanding that tomorrow has capacity to bring.

Consensus beliefs, convergent faith perspectives, all may (even just from the strength of their own collective instancy) amount to something. But...

Now as we all further awaken from the bonds of childhood, and see behind the joker's curtains: 'heaven's gone to hell; Hades sits upon Valhallah's hills'
 
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Since no less an authority than Pope John Paul II appeared in 1999 to recategorise both heaven & hell as really being more states of mind than any form of physical (or directly-spiritual) locations, I suppose it's hardly-surprising that angels have been evicted from their classic realms:
This is guidance for Catholics. Doesn't apply to other faiths.
 
Doesn't apply to other faiths.
But wouldn't it be relevant to consider Catholicism as being a significant Christian lead in any recalibration of what these supranatural realms should be seen as?

And, reigning at the high end of unreformed literal belief (exemplified by matters such as transubstantiation at communion, miracles or exorcism....which by contrast, the reformation/Protestant churches only pay lip service to)...

If the originating Christian Church (vicars of Christ and all that) has had a corporate crisis of faith in the canonical fabric of heaven & hell, following the closure of limbo, then: surely those derivative/subordinal churches will already have followed suite in their perspectives, through convergent-yet-revisionist theologies? And, if not in open word, then almost certainly in....partial spirit?

Perhaps this highlights the constitutional strategically-unaddressed paradox that multiple religions profess overlapping, singularly-inclusive yet exclusively-unique dieties & domains, which, overall, represents a logical impossibility. 'There is but one god....and his name is what I have chosen for him. And the loyalty points / country club access are not interchangeable'

(nb I am not taking into account non-Christian theologies in my above ramblings)
 
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But wouldn't it be relevant to consider Catholicism as being a significant Christian lead in any recalibration of what these supranatural realms should be seen as?

And, reigning at the high end of unreformed literal belief (exemplified by matters such as transubstantiation at communion, miracles or exorcism....which by contrast, the reformation/Protestant churches only pay lip service to)...

If the originating Christian Church (vicars of Christ and all that) has had a corporate crisis of faith in the canonical fabric of heaven & hell, following the closure of limbo, then: surely those derivative/subordinal churches will already have followed suite in their perspectives, through convergent-yet-revisionist theologies? And, if not in open word, then almost certainly in....partial spirit?

Perhaps this highlights the constitutional strategically-unaddressed paradox that multiple religions profess overlapping, singularly-inclusive yet exclusively-unique dieties & domains, which, overall, represents a logical impossibility. 'There is but one god....and his name is what I have chosen for him. And the loyalty points / country club access are not interchangeable'

(nb I am not taking into account non-Christian theologies in my above ramblings)
Nobody outside the Catholic Church has to take any notice of what the Pope says.

As for expecting those of the Protestant faiths to follow his teaching: try suggesting that in certain areas of Belfast and see how well it goes down. :oops:
 
I believe faith has nuanced, the old concept of there being an angry guy with a beard living in the sky is seen for exactly what it was a control mechanism

I have met very few ardent atheists in my time but more people are agnostic or they never really think about it, until their is time

My own beliefs are more spiritual nowadays, and are very personal to me
 
This is a non religious answer.

I am retired, but every one else in my family works.

Besides work and family, my family members have absolutely no time for things like religious attendance.

My opinion is religion is out of step with the real world.
 
The article is paywalled but here:
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/a...at-happened-to-religion-christianity-llmu6ls1

But a helpful soul on Reddit has put/grabbed the key findings in graphical form:

View attachment 68986

Incredulity there mirrors my own: not the declining figures for 2023, but the c.90% belief in 'God' in 2001!

A secondary sidenote is that more now believe in 'angels' than 'heaven', which by many religious accounts would leave them homeless. Are there some kind of non-denominational 'folk angels' floating around in the imagination of the American public?

Personally, I find 'concepts' like 'God', 'Heaven' and 'Hell' much easier to assent to since they can be more loosely interpreted. Heaven and Hell, for instance, can metaphorically refer to states of being as well as putative locations—and what constitutes those states is very subjective.

To premptively counter one slightly tiresome objection: those asking the questions will deliberately not have defined or limited what the names of the entities refer to, that is for the respondee to decide; hence, non-Christians can indicate faith in Allah or Jehovah or whatever by agreeing to the term 'God', despite it being misleadingly expressed (better but more clumsy: 'a god or goddess').

Footnote: why is 'the devil' not capitalised? It's a proper noun, cf. 'a moon' but 'the Moon'.

“Plunging” from ~90% to “only” a ~73% belief in God?

UK churches could only dream of 73% faith:

“…belief in ‘a god’ in the UK is low. Only a quarter of Britons (27%) say they actually believe in ‘a god’.

Amongst British Christians, just over half (56%) believe in the existence of God. One in ten (10%) of British Christians say they do not believe there is ‘a god’ or ‘a higher power’.”

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/society/articles-reports/2020/12/29/how-religious-are-british-people

maximus otter
 
With nothing other than a graph, I question the supposed conclusion.

Considering these five entities are clearly a Christian construct, and maybe it was a random poll, but was it indicative of all US or only, say, northern US? Southern US is quite different when looking at religious beliefs.

And, as most of North American population now lives in urban areas than rural, religion figures less in daily lives.

As to the idea of angels per se, I'm not sure if all people do believe they exist only to do God's work. Do people who believe in guardian angels, believe them to exist only in heaven? I don't know. I have heard people speak of them, but not in any great detail. It's usually more "I have a guardian angel who communicates with me" but no expressed belief from where it originates.

And would Muslims equate Jinn with angels? I have no knowledge of Islam. This is a brief explanation of what are Jinn as in relation to the Quran:
https://islamqa.info/en/answers/2340/types-of-jinn
 
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I know I've commented somewhere on this site recently that our Roman Catholic Schools are closing, due to expense and, perhaps, lack of interest.
Church attendance, any denomination, is lagging.
But I don't believe this is only in the United States - I'm sure this is something going on in our new modern world.
 
The article is paywalled but here:
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/a...at-happened-to-religion-christianity-llmu6ls1

But a helpful soul on Reddit has put/grabbed the key findings in graphical form:

View attachment 68986

Incredulity there mirrors my own: not the declining figures for 2023, but the c.90% belief in 'God' in 2001!

A secondary sidenote is that more now believe in 'angels' than 'heaven', which by many religious accounts would leave them homeless. Are there some kind of non-denominational 'folk angels' floating around in the imagination of the American public?

Personally, I find 'concepts' like 'God', 'Heaven' and 'Hell' much easier to assent to since they can be more loosely interpreted. Heaven and Hell, for instance, can metaphorically refer to states of being as well as putative locations—and what constitutes those states is very subjective.

To premptively counter one slightly tiresome objection: those asking the questions will deliberately not have defined or limited what the names of the entities refer to, that is for the respondee to decide; hence, non-Christians can indicate faith in Allah or Jehovah or whatever by agreeing to the term 'God', despite it being misleadingly expressed (better but more clumsy: 'a god or goddess').

Footnote: why is 'the devil' not capitalised? It's a proper noun, cf. 'a moon' but 'the Moon'.
The Bloomberg article just had the graph. The poll itself is here https://news.gallup.com/poll/508886/belief-five-spiritual-entities-edges-down-new-lows.aspx

You have to watch the questions because when people are given the option of "not sure" the "Yes" option goes down. When they aren't given that tentative option, people default to 'yes' (Belief). It's not clear the demographic that was polled here, though, which will certainly make a difference. A similar poll from AP-NORC gave the following comparible numbers for Hell/Heaven/Angels but was a moderate-conservative population surveyed. https://apnorc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/May-Omnibus-2023-Topline-Belief-in-Angels-.pdf
Screenshot 2023-08-23 at 9.17.53 PM.png


An earlier article from The Atlantic gave some reasons why church attendance is declining. It's somewhat related to church scandal but also banal reasons, like they are too busy. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/a...-church-communitiy-participation-drop/674843/
 
Yes, I agree we've seen plenty of that, but I'm focused on the idea of angels that seem to work independently of God and Heaven.

There are, according to 2023 figures, people who believe in the existence of angels but not in the existence of heaven—which on the face of things, angels tending to be components of religious systems, seems slightly incongruous.

If you asked most people "Where do angels come from?" (Or "Assuming Angels exist, where would people say they came from?), I think most people would say 'Heaven'.
There's a whole subset of people who believe in something sometimes termed 'angelology', the term being nicked from biblical exegesis. The angels inhabit a world parallel to ours, a bit like a heavenly Narnia but for angels and their interactions with us. It also names angels (eg Metatron*) and gives them a hierarchy.

Basically it's angels 'spun off' from the biblical and quranic foundations, for people who don't like/want to live by the whole Judeo-Christian-Islamic spiritual and/or moral codes. New Age practices feature heavily - angelic numerology, the focus on self, crystals, all sorts!

It gets mixed with magick and there's a whole further subset of angelic magick practitioners. People collect talismans, charms and anything around angels. It's mildest forms include those those diabetes-inducing feel-good FB memes about angels, robins, white feathers etc.,. There are websites, videos, magazines - https://www.engelmagazin.de/ for example (German but you get the gist) or this random blog about angels by someone who makes a living selling divination cards featuring named angels - https://www.newagehipster.co/blog/2015/02/24/know-angels

A pretty typical depiction:

radiant light angel by Alice Popkorn, on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I knew someone who was heavily into it, but did have a pre-existing serious mental health illness. He left his wife and sons for someone also fascinated by angelology somewhere in Europe, became obsessed by it, her, magick then had a crisis and killed himself. The 'angels' didn't stop him or save him.

I personally accept the concept of angels that are described in the OT/Torah as 'messengers' (and they must be quite scary as often their first words are "do not fear") but the whole wings & harps & the rest of it is modern folklore IMO.

*I always think Metatron sounds like a Transformers baddie.
 
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...And would Muslims equate Jinn with angels? I have no knowledge of Islam. This is a brief explanation of what are Jinn as in relation to the Quran:
https://islamqa.info/en/answers/2340/types-of-jinn
There are angels in Islam. The Quran was dictated to Mohammad by an archangel.

No to Jinn = angelic. Devious and evil spirits/minor demons would be the nearest thing to a Jinn I think, in our conception of the term.

Yes to angels! For example the angel Jibreel = Gabriel. He appears to Mariam (Mary) and relates to her that she will have a son Isa (Jesus). A lot of non-Muslim people just don't know or realise that Jesus is arguably the most important figure in the Quran, after Allah/God, especially concerning eschatology. There are some (I think) charming stories of Jesus's childhood in the Quran, how he spoke from birth to admonish those who upbraided his mother for giving birth without being properly married to Yusuf (Joseph) and how when he was a toddler he made bird toys from clay and they flew and sang to entertain him.

One of my 'interesting' niche subjects that sometimes goes down well with listeners is the direct translation and transference of Judeo-Christian names and figures into Arabic language and names - many people just haven;t thought about it. Know anyone called Yahya Khan? That's John Cohen, that is :)
 
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There's a whole subset of people who believe in something sometimes termed 'angelology', the term being nicked from biblical exegesis. The angels inhabit a world parallel to ours, a bit like a heavenly Narnia but for angels and their interactions with us. It also names angels (eg Metatron*) and gives them a hierarchy.

Basically it's angels 'spun off' from the biblical and quranic foundations, for people who don't like/want to live by the whole Judeo-Christian-Islamic spiritual and/or moral codes. New Age practices feature heavily - angelic numerology, the focus on self, crystals, all sorts!

It gets mixed with magick and there's a whole further subset of angelic magick practitioners. People collect talismans, charms and anything around angels. It's mildest forms include those those diabetes-inducing feel-good FB memes about angels, robins, white feathers etc.,. There are websites, videos, magazines - https://www.engelmagazin.de/ for example (German but you get the gist) or this random blog about angels by someone who makes a living selling divination cards featuring named angels - https://www.newagehipster.co/blog/2015/02/24/know-angels

A pretty typical depiction:

radiant light angel by Alice Popkorn, on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I knew someone who was heavily into it, but did have a pre-existing serious mental health illness. He left his wife and sons for someone also fascinated by angelology somewhere in Europe, became obsessed by it, her, magick then had a crisis and killed himself. The 'angels' didn't stop him or save him.

I personally accept the concept of angels that are described in the OT/Torah as 'messengers' (and they must be quite scary as often their first words are "do not fear") but the whole wings & harps & the rest of it is modern folklore IMO.

*I always think Metatron sounds like a Transformers baddie.
Angels and fairies seem to be interchangeable in some respects.

No, I don't really mean 'interchangeable' do I, I mean that there are a lot of commonalities.
 
The percentage of Americans who believe in five common spiritual entities may have gone down, but the percentage of Americans who believe in reptiles from outer space that drink terrorized children's blood has gone up. Perhaps there's a corolation . . . ?

But wouldn't it be relevant to consider Catholicism as being a significant Christian lead in any recalibration of what these supranatural realms should be seen as?
I would have thought so, except I once heard a Protestant radio theologian/preacher/maybe-a-conman assert that the Catholic Church was a cult. Apparently it's because there are saints and stuff in Catholiciosm, which is frowned on in Protestant sects. Because I thought of the Catholic Church as the first Christian institution, I was shocked by this opinion. I wasn't raised with religion, so am not au courant about these things.
 
The percentage of Americans who believe in five common spiritual entities may have gone down, but the percentage of Americans who believe in reptiles from outer space that drink terrorized children's blood has gone up. Perhaps there's a corolation . . . ?


I would have thought so, except I once heard a Protestant radio theologian/preacher/maybe-a-conman assert that the Catholic Church was a cult. Apparently it's because there are saints and stuff in Catholiciosm, which is frowned on in Protestant sects. Because I thought of the Catholic Church as the first Christian institution, I was shocked by this opinion. I wasn't raised with religion, so am not au courant about these things.

The RC church was the first institutionalised power structure within the Christian tradition in Europe by the 4th C. AD - but the 'church' of believers had already spread far and wide before that, hence the strong Celtic Christian traditions already sprung up and rooted by the time one of the early popes sent Augustine to Britain.

Also the widespread middle eastern and north African Christian traditions were in full swing, with what became the Orthodox, Syriac and Coptic churches.

Marthoma Suriyani Nasrani (Syrian St Thomas Christians) in south India is believed by its adherents to have been directly founded in 52 AD by Thomas the Apostle, which is certainly possible as the community of Jews in Cochin has been dated back at least to that time, and evidence of people travelling between the middle east/southern Europe and India exists back into antiquity (BC times) .
 
Depends how people interpret the term 'Heaven'.

Is it where God and Jesus live? Where good people go when they die? A vague state of eternal bliss, or a mirror image of Earth with houses and cinemas? Are there versions of 'Heaven' for different religions?

We have no context. Nothing much to learn here.
If I can't go the cinemas when in Heaven, I don't want to go.

There had better be bookshops Up There, too.....
 
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