Do You Believe in …

Do You Believe in … August 18, 2016

… angels?

Most of us believe in angels, but “most of us” needs to be emphasized. In one of the most highly respected surveys of what Americans believe The Baylor Survey of Religion asked if Americans believe in angels:

88% of women and 74% of men believe in angels.

Mixing them together, 82% of Americans believe in angels.

93% of the “Religious” but only 69% of the “Spiritual” do.

The Baylor Survey took place between 2005-2007, and it concluded that 82% of Americans believe angels exist. That’s “most of us.” A Time survey lowered some of this, with 69% of Americans believing in angels with 46% believing in a guardian angel. That’ still “most of us.” What spurred well-known religious experience researcher and reporter, Emma Heathcote-James, into action was when she learned a third of us claim to have seen an angel. Perhaps the shrug of the shoulders about angels ought then to be directed at those who choose not to believe in angels.

A decade later than that Baylor Survey just noted, after swirls and swirls of news about the decline of religion in the so-called secular West, The Associated Press-GfK asked about belief in angels to church-going folks in the USA with this conclusion:

88% of Christians…

95% of evangelical Christians…

94% of anyone who attends any kind of religious institution and

77% of American adults,

… believe in angels.

In his famous Church Dogmatics Karl Barth throws down the gauntlet and essentially says: Take God and the angels or drop both, but God without the angels is impossible:

It is true, of course, that we can miss the angels. We can deny them altogether. We can dismiss them as superfluous, or absurd and comic. …If we cannot or will not accept angels, how can we accept what is told us by the history of Scripture, or the history of the Church, or the history of the Jews, or our own life’s history? And … Where God is, there the angels of God are. Where there are no angels, there is no God.

It may sound sophisticated today to classify belief in angels with belief in ancient myths and superstitions and fairies and gnomes and hobbits. It may be a mark of intelligence in some circles to lower one’s head and peer over one’s trendy glasses at the believer in angels with a look of condescension but fact and facts prove that on this one the so-called sophisticates are not trending.

“Most of us” believe in angels.

How about you?


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