As a scholar, I find the spread of reincarnation beliefs to be fascinating, and thoroughly under-studied. I have commented on the peculiarities of American reincarnations beliefs previously (here), as they are quite different than the traditional Hindu ideas.
The latest Pew Forum survey of religious beliefs (here) puts the overall percentage of Americans who believe in reincarnation at 24% (men 21%, women 28%). [Other New Age beliefs hover around the quarter percentage as well: yoga as a spiritual practice: 23%, spiritual energy in the natural world: 26%, and astrology: 25%.]
Strangely enough, Blacks (34%) are almost twice as likely to believe in reincarnation as Whites (21%), with Hispanics in the middle (29%).
Yet, Blacks (20%) are the least likely to believe that the natural world has spiritual energy, much less than Hispanics (37%) and slightly less than Whites (24%).
Hispanics also lead the pack in belief in astrology (35%), with Blacks (29%), and Whites (22%) trailing.
Hispanics (36%) and Blacks (29%) are also much more likely to believe in "Evil Eye" negative spell-casting than Whites (11%).
Why Asians are not included in this poll, I do not know.
Oddly enough, a full 11% of self-identified Evangelical Christians believe in reincarnation, although only 5% of those who attend church weekly.
Black Christians (29%) believe in reincarnation only slighly more than White Catholics (25%). Even among weekly attendees, 21% of White Catholics believe in reincarnation.
Such high percentages stand as a testimony to the poor job of religious education being performed in the churches today. The spread of these beliefs is one of the most under-reported and unnoticed religious phenomenon of the last 100 years, representing a sea change of religious worldviews.
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