(September 18, 2008)- The Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion released the second part of its national surveys on religion, Thursday morning that finds, among other things, that most Americans believe hell exists, but reject the notion it’s possible to communicate with the dead.
In 2005, Baylor University worked with the Gallup Organization to send out a series of surveys all across the United States asking Americans questions about the religious institutions they attend, how often they attend and how they view God.
Every two years, new results from those surveys will be released.
The second wave of results is featured in a book written by Rodney Stark, "What Americans Really Believe."
Among the findings of the second phase of the study, 73 percent of those surveyed say they believe in hell. Ninety-two percent of conservative Protestants believe hell exists.
The survey found that 18 percent of those surveyed think it’s possible to communicate with the dead, but 63 percent disagreed that was possible.
The survey also shows a majority of Americans who claim to be irreligious actually do pray and are not atheists
Researchers found that 45 percent of Americans say they’ve had at least two mystical or religious experiences such as hearing the voice of God, feeling called by God to act or being protected by a guardian angel.
It also concludes from the national surveys there is a common misconception about mega churches.
According to Stark, many people believe, members of the megachurches are less likely to be involved with the church, but the surveys show more people are more likely to be find their close friends in those churches.
In fact, researchers say members of megachurches “display a higher level of personal commitment by attending services, tithing and attending a Bible study group, are more likely to accept that heaven “absolutely” exists and that God rewards the faithful with major successes, are more convinced of the reality of evil, are far more given to having religious and mystical experiences, are significantly younger in age and are remarkably active in volunteer work”
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