Once again, Americans show the world what kind of people we are. I only wish they had added belief in the Easter Bunny, Santa and selfless politicians to round out the poll.

A new Pew religious poll, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that many practicing American Christians believe in ghosts, astrology and reincarnation.

White evangelicals appear to be more or less an exception. For example, only ten percent of white evangelicals believe in reincarnation while 24% of mainline Protestants and 25% of white Catholics believe in it. Likewise, 13% of white evangelicals believe in astrology, that the alignment of the stars and planets influence the lives of people and events on earth, while 25% or more of other religious people believe in astrology. The highest level of belief in “the evil eye” is found in black Protestants where it is at 32%.

  1. Heinrich Moltke says:

    Well, as Mencken said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    Nevertheless, there is more evidence that ghosts are real than that terrorists alone took down the World Trade Center, or that Oswald was the lone gunman in November 1963.

  2. Mypublicisnuts.com says:

    Then there’s the ghost of gas that appear as blankets in the sky in the mind’s eye. Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a blanket, it’s Superman, no it’s what you exhale, invisible gas.

  3. Dallas says:

    Shocking, but I bet there’s MONEY to made in this!!

    Wonder if one can make money and get a tax exemption?


  4. Animby says:

    Oh, pooh! I’ve lived in well over a dozen countries and they all have strong traditions of ghosts, spirits and demons. Here in Thailand, you’ll see thousands of little houses with effigies and food offerings for the spirits. Outside a bar, they’ll leave a gift of a beer or a shot of hard liquor. People walking by these spirit house will give a bow. In Egypt, I knew a lady who refused to live in a certain house because it was too near a cemetery. And my guide would not go into some of the tombs with me because they were cursed. Too third world for you? Care to guess how many ghosts I heard about when I lived in England and Scotland?

    And, of course, all these religious nuts believe in some invisible spirit and his prophets. Pooh, I say. And Pooh, again.

  5. The Monster's Lawyer says:

    Oh, that Casper, he sure is friendly.

  6. Phydeau says:

    I have been touched by his noodly appendage! Arrrrrrrrr…

  7. Personality says:

    I don’t think it helps that The F’n DISCOVERY channel has at least 2 shows about ghost hunting. WTF is up with that? A part of me died when I found out about that.

  8. Floyd says:

    So…what’s the percentage of people that believe in various deities? Those gods are as likely to exist as the ghosts on the Discovery Channel.

  9. Faxon says:

    Amazingly, 44% of Americans of all colors still believe in HOPE AND CHANGE.

  10. Benjamin says:

    The article says, “White evangelicals appear to be more or less an exception. For example, only ten percent of white evangelicals believe in reincarnation.”

    Aren’t evangelicals the people you think of when you hear about Christians. I bet almost all of the Christians you refer to as fundamentalist do not believe in astrology, reincarnation, or ghosts.

    The Bible is very clear what happens to people when they die. Reincarnation does not happen and you don’t become a ghost when you die either. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” ESV

  11. deowll says:

    Um the bible forbids people to take part in astrology, fortune telling, etc. and makes it clear that the Hindu idea of reincarnation isn’t going to happen. The resurrection is a rather different idea. A belief in life after death/ghosts/spirits would seem to a basic tenant of the Jewish-Christian belief system.

    I’m not sure that people who fracture their own basic doctrines should be counted as such.

  12. Eric_D says:

    Yeah. The Bible is clear on reincarnation, eating shellfish, and owning slaves. Reincarnation doesn’t happen, shellfish is an abomination in the eyes of the lord and presumably lands you in hell, but owning slaves is double plus good.

    Point is, it may seem contradictory for a christian to believe in reincarnation, but this kind of belief is already based on a selective take on the bible, history and traditions.

  13. chuck says:

    What percentage “believe” in climate change?

  14. RBG says:

    What did they say about Global Warming?


  15. ECA says:

    lets insert something here…

    Father, son, Holy ghost??

    The 3 wise men use WHAT to find Christ?? ASTROLOGY/astronomy of the day

    Christ was Risen on the 3rd day??

  16. chuck says:

    #15 – it had to be the 3rd day. After 4 days he’d be a zombie. Everyone knows that.

  17. Proud Alien says:

    Well, well, well. Laugh as you wish, once you put some effort into researching it, the subject of the unexplained phenomena might not appear as clean-cut as sceptics claim it is. Just keep in mind, they used to laugh at all kinds of “crazy” ideas (the Earth is round, anyone?)

  18. Pop says:

    Every time I see a reference to Casper I think of this line from the National Lampoon:

    Casper, The Dead Baby!

  19. jccalhoun says:

    It would be interesting to compare people’s opinions on ghosts with their beliefs on things like 9/11 conspiracy, climate change deniers, intelligent design, and n1h1 vaccine alarmists.

    My guess is that if you believe in one you are much more likely to believe in the others.

  20. Wretched Gnu says:

    But wait — hasn’t “climategate” taught us that science can’t be trusted?

    Don’t you know that ghost-skeptic scientists around the globe are enriching themselves with grant money that is *only* given to those who toe the anti-Ghost line?

  21. Jason says:

    Paint with a brush or a freaking Wagner Power Roller there jccalhoun… Jeeze!!!!

    So you are telling me that EVERY SINGLE ONE of your views are solidly atheist, leftist, liberal??? Give me a break…


    This is the stupidest thing to get all pious on there Uncle Dave. You speak to this as if the rest of the world is light years ahead of us… You ever hear of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics and the unending number of other animist religions out there!!!!

    Atheists are the ultimate minority. Get used to it.

  22. Marc Perkel says:

    Once you believe in God then it’s easy to believe in any number of things that aren’t real.

  23. just me says:

    Once you believe in man-made climate change then it’s easy to believe in any number of things that aren’t real.

    Once you believe that Oswald acted alone then it’s easy to believe in any number of things that aren’t real.

    Once you believe that the war in Iraq was justified then it’s easy to believe in any number of things that aren’t real.

    And so on and so on.

  24. Benjamin says:

    ECA said, on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:28 am

    “Father, son, Holy ghost??”

    It’s Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Spirit Don’t confuse the Holy Spirit with a modern day example of a ghost.

    “The 3 wise men use WHAT to find Christ?? ASTROLOGY/astronomy of the day”

    The star was a sign that Chrst was born. The wise men had to stop and ask for directions in Jerusalem. The directions they received was from the Old Testiment, was from chapter 5 of the book of Micah:

    2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

    3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return
    to the people of Israel.

    4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now zhe shall be great to the ends of the earth.

    5 And he shall be their peace. ”

    Their astrology wasn’t enough to find the place of Christ’s birth. They had to find the the city where Jesus’s house was in the Scripture.

    “Christ was Risen on the 3rd day??”

    Christ was risen. He was not reborn into the body of another man. Not Reincarnation.

  25. honeyman says:

    Reincarnation. 837 million Hindus cant be wrong 😉

  26. Obamaforever says:

    From: Obamaforever
    To: jccalhoun per #19

    Dammit, jccalhoun, you beat me to it. I guess great minds think alike. An excellent post!!!!

  27. Gary, the dangerous infidel says:

    If you believe the Bible, here are a couple of the things it shows you if you connect the dots. First, it shows that astrology is a valid means to receive communication from God, attaching earthly significance to a non-causal astronomical phenomenon. That is precisely what the special star in the east is alleged to have been. The three astrologers traveled a great distance based on the message they saw in the sky. I’m guessing that it wasn’t their first star-gazing session, nor their last, but at least there’s no evidence that they wrote daily horoscopes for the local paper.

    Secondly, we can clearly see that astrology is not a wicked or sinful pursuit, as some Christians have claimed. Obviously, the notion that God sent a celestial birth announcement to wicked practitioners of the dark arts is so absurd that even a Christian can’t defend it. This particular announcement was sent in a manner that could only be interpreted by astrologers, and the validity of this form of astrology was thereby affirmed. The story also tells us that God communicated to the Magi at least once more in a dream, to warn them of Herod’s ill intentions toward the tiny Savior. These astrologers were almost to the point of being on God’s own speed dialer by that time.

    It’s always interesting to see how many Christians don’t even believe their own religion’s bullshit.


    Yup. There’s folks that believe in AGW and voted for Obama. Nothing is surprising anymore.

  29. Mr. Fusion says:

    #27, Gary,

    I’m guessing that it wasn’t their first star-gazing session, nor their last, but at least there’s no evidence that they wrote daily horoscopes for the local paper.

    I just assumed they bought a tour bus and drive around Beverly Hills, charging the tourists $25 to see the Homes of the Stars. You know, using their expertise.

  30. Mr. Fusion says:

    It stands to reason that if you believe in an invisible guy in the sky then you would also discount evolution, the science behind global warming, and the collapse of the WTC.

    But why also be afraid of some spectral being? Won’t your god protect you?


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