Half of all Americans believe they are protected by guardian angels, one-fifth say theyve heard God speak to them, one-quarter say they have witnessed miraculous healings, 16 percent say theyve received one and 8 percent say they pray in tongues, according to a survey released Thursday by Baylor University.
The wide-ranging survey of 1,648 adults, who were asked 350 questions on their religious practices last fall, reveals a significant majority who are comfortable with the supernatural.
“Mystical experiences are widespread,” said Rodney Stark, co-director of Baylor Universitys Institute for Studies of Religion.
“Id have guessed 15 percent instead of 55,” he added, referring to the 55 percent who claimed angelic protection. “This is the taboo subject in American religion. No one studies it, but there is a lot of it out there.”
The survey, which has a margin of error of four percentage points, also revealed that theological liberals are more apt to believe in the paranormal and the occult – haunted houses, UFOs, communicating with the dead and astrology – than do conservatives. Women 35 percent, blacks 41 percent, those younger than 30 40 percent, Democrats 40 percent and singles who are cohabitating 49 percent were more likely to believe, the survey said.