Pew Research Typology Categorizes Americans by Religion

Many are turned off by traditional religious structures

A new poll done by Pew Research smartly groups Americans, not by their claimed religion, but what belief systems they actually subscribe to . The result is interesting. Individuals of diverse religions hold a common few beliefs which can only be described as "New Age-y." The poll showed that other than the extremely devout and predictable "Sunday Stalwarts," Americans hold a casual approach towards the issue of religion. Only a bare quarter of U.S. citizens make it a point to have regular attendance in worship services, but almost everyone polled adhere to a few New Age beliefs. About 4,729 Americans took part in the poll.

The poll, completed in December, analyzed behaviors and beliefs which are common across multiple denominations. This was done using a technique termed cluster analysis. The result spouted seven wide religious typologies: the most religious of the lot called "Sunday Stalwarts" comprising 17 percent of the total U.S. population, followed by 12 percent of “God and Country Believers," a section that identifies with social and political conservatism. The "Diversely Devout" comes in third with 11 percent. They claim to be religious and follow a heterogeneous belief mix taken from other practices. These three comprise 39 percent of the U.S. population and regarded as "highly religious."

About 32 percent of Americans fall into the "somewhat religious" category. This is further subdivided into "relaxed religious" and "spiritually awake." The relaxed religious believe in a God but does not associate belief with morality. The "spiritually awake" population believes in some kind of afterlife. The non-religious make up 29 percent of the American population. About 12 percent of the latter belong to the "Religion Resisters." These people believe that religion is harmful and imparts insufficient positivity to society. About 17 percent of "Solidly Secular" hold zero religious beliefs.

A lot of crossovers exist in all the groups. New Age beliefs are held by members of all groups. Even 32 percent of Sunday Stalwarts believe psychics are genuine. Approximately 42 percent of Americans hold the belief that physical objects possess spiritual energy. It is an opinion of a few scholars that society is not becoming more secular, but the traditional religions have conceded their ground to new varieties of spirituality which supplant but does not replace visiting the church. This happened as many were turned off by organized religion.

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