A senior fellow at the Center for American Progress claims that more Americans are dropping traditional religion for "New Age" beliefs.
A recent Pew Research Center poll that found 62 percent of Americans hold New Age beliefs, such as astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in trees or mountains.
University of St. Thomas Chaplain The Rev. Chris Valka said people are bringing various traditions together.
He said he’s not surprised at all that people prefer spirituality to religion, because spirituality allows them to change beliefs and manipulate things as situations arise.
“Religion is designed to keep us accountable for what we say we believe and a lot of people don’t really like accountability,” said Valka. “Religion is doing fine. But, we are seeing blurring of lines that were traditionally very clear.”
Americans Society for the Defense of Tradition Family Property Vice President John Horvat said New Age is subjective and isn’t definable and has been around for decades.
“New age is just so fluid and so broad, you know they just really can’t get a handle on it. It really doesn’t have substance,” said Horvat. “Religion and belief in Christ does have substance. That is very much easier to measure.”
He said there are spiritual things that are happening out there that can’t be quantified as material reality life and there’s a progression to try to explain away spiritual phenomenon. He said New Age is a fad and doesn’t have staying power.
The Pew Research Center poll also found:
- Seventy-eight percent with at least one New Age belief did not affiliate with any particular religion.
- Christians were more likely than atheists and agnostics to hold at least one New Age belief.
- Sixty-one percent of the Christians held at least one New Age belief, compared with 22 percent of atheists and 56 percent of agnostics who said the same.
- Sixty-seven percent of mainline Protestants, 47 percent of evangelicals and 70 percent of Catholics said they believed in a New Age belief.