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St. Michael Vanquishing Satan. Painting by Raphael

Belief in five spiritual entities declines in new Gallup poll

The percentages of Americans who believe in each of five religious entities — God, angels, heaven, hell and the devil — have edged downward by three to five percentage points since 2016, a new Gallup poll found. Still, majorities believe in each, ranging from a high of 74 percent believing in God to lows of 59 percent for hell and 58 percent for the devil. About two-thirds each believe in angels (69 percent) and heaven (67 percent).

Among the key findings:

  • Protestants are more likely than Catholics to believe in each of the five entities; however, broad majorities of Catholics still believe in each.
  • Majorities of adults who attend religious services at least monthly — particularly those who attend weekly — express belief in each of the five concepts. Most of those who seldom or never attend believe in God and angels, but less than half believe in heaven, hell and the devil.

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  • Between 78 percent and 87 percent of Republicans believe in the five entities, while 51 percent to 68 percent of independents do. From 56 percent to 66 percent of Democrats believe in God, angels and heaven, while less than half say they believe in hell and the devil.
  • Americans with annual household incomes under $40,000 are more likely than those with incomes of at least $100,000 to believe in each of the entities. Yet, majorities in the two higher-income groups believe in each spiritual concept.
  • Adults aged 55 and older are most likely to believe in each of the concepts, but majorities of those in the 35 to 54 age range also believe in the five. Fewer of those aged 18 to 34 believe in each of the five concepts, but majorities profess belief in all but the devil.
  • Women are more likely than men to believe in all of the spiritual concepts except for the devil, which 58 percent of both groups say they believe in.
  • Adults without a college degree are more likely than college graduates to believe in each of the five entities.

“Gallup has documented sharp declines in church attendanceconfidence in organized religion and religious identification in recent years,” the survey report concluded. “Americans’ beliefs regarding God, angels, heaven, hell and the devil have also fallen by double digits since 2001. Still, U.S. adults’ belief in each entity remains at the majority level, and regular churchgoers, Protestants and Republicans, in particular, remain largely resolute in their beliefs.”

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