Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions

WHO BELIEVES IN REINCARNATION MORE?

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 14, 2009

If Republicans who converse with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are discounted, then a recent study showing that Democrats and liberals communicate with the dead more frequently than their conservative counterparts is perfectly accurate. (There are so many one liners to choose from). In fact, according to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey, more than a third of all Dems say they have been in contact with the deceased while a mere fifth of Republicans say they have. The same survey reveals that twice as many Democrats have not only seen a ghost but believe yoga is a spiritual practice.

Dems have also consulted fortunetellers by a margin of better than two-to-one over Republicans, and believe in astrology by nearly the same margin.

Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent from the Washington Examiner, writes:

There’s more. Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in reincarnation, while 30 percent of Democrats do … Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in spiritual energy, while 30 percent of Democrats do.

There are some areas in which the two partisan groups are similar. When Pew asked respondents whether they have had a religious or mystical experience, 50 percent of Republicans said yes, as did 50 percent of Democrats. But overall, there are sizable disparities.

The disparity is not in the act of believing in something that can only be suggested (God), something paranormal (ghosts), or having faith in that which cannot be empirically proven (reincarnation). It’s an unquantifiable component of human existence – the need to believe in the inexplicable to some degree. Rather, the disparity is where that faith is directed.

Still, there are very interesting differences:

What accounts for them? Pew doesn’t say. But the report does note that there are gender, ethnic, and racial differences in the totals. “Having been in touch with a dead person is more common among women than men,” the report says. “Women are also twice as likely to have consulted a fortuneteller or psychic. Blacks report more experience feeling in touch with the dead than whites or Hispanics. But they resemble whites and Hispanics on other items, such as encounters with a ghost or consulting a fortuneteller.” Some of those gender, ethnic and racial differences might come into play in the partisan totals. But in the end, the Pew report offers no solid answers for why there are such differences between Republicans and Democrats.

It’s not just the “religious right” who exercise faith in that which cannot be seen or adequately explained.

In place of traditional religion – where accountability to a higher being and adherence to universal codes of living are at the core – many choose to call themselves “spiritual” as opposed to “religious.” That’s not to say that religious people are not spiritual (or shouldn’t be) but those who opt for labeling themselves as “spiritual” free themselves from the demands of a religion, and effectively channel their needs in other ways – one might say, looking for their own “religion.”

I assure you, this is not a knock on those who are not religious.

I am merely commenting on York’s article.

Readers of this blog know I do not argue with people over tenets of faith. I am concerned about the goodness of an individual above all else. As Dennis Prager regularly says, “I am more interested in the practitioners of a given religion than the religion itself.” And while I am generally more than happy to engage in discussions over the existence of God at almost any juncture, this is not one of those instances. This isn’t about God specifically.

This is about human tendency.

And I find it fascinating.

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