In contrast with the satan, angels carry extra credence in America.

Angels even get extra credence than, nicely, hell. Greater than astrology, reincarnation, and the idea that bodily issues can have religious energies.

Actually, about 7 in 10 U.S. adults say they consider in angels, in response to a brand new ballot by The Related Press-NORC Heart for Public Affairs Analysis.

“People are yearning for something greater than themselves — beyond their own understanding,” mentioned Jack Grogger, a chaplain for the Los Angeles Angels and a longtime Southern California fireplace captain who has aided many individuals of their gravest moments.

That seek for one thing larger, he mentioned, can tackle many kinds, from following a faith to crafting a self-driven function to believing in, after all, angels.

“For a lot of people, angels are a lot safer to worship,” mentioned Grogger, who additionally pastors a nondenominational church in Orange, California, and is a chaplain for the NHL’s Anaheim Geese.

Individuals flip to angels for consolation, he mentioned. They’re acquainted, frequently exhibiting up in popular culture in addition to within the Bible. Comparably, worshipping Jesus is much extra concerned; when Grogger preaches about angels it’s with the context that they’re a part of God’s kingdom.

American’s perception in angels (69%) is about on par with perception in heaven and the facility of prayer, however bested by perception in God or the next energy (79%). Fewer U.S. adults consider within the satan or Devil (56%), astrology (34%), reincarnation (34%), and that bodily issues can have religious energies, akin to vegetation, rivers or crystals (42%).

The widespread acceptance of angels proven within the AP-NORC ballot is smart to Susan Garrett, an angel knowledgeable and New Testomony professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky. It tracks with historic surveys, she mentioned, including that the U.S. stays a faith-filled nation whilst extra People reject organized faith.

But when the satan is within the particulars, so are folks’s understandings of angels.

“They’re very malleable,” Garrett mentioned of angels. “You can have any one of a number of quite different worldviews in terms of your understanding of how the cosmos is arranged, whether there’s spirit beings, whether there’s life after death, whether there’s a God … and still find a place for angels in that worldview.”

Discuss of angels, Garrett mentioned, is commonly additionally about one thing else, just like the methods God interacts with the world and different hard-to-articulate concepts.

The massive variety of U.S. adults who say they consider in angels consists of 84% of these with a non secular affiliation — 94% of evangelical Protestants, 81% of mainline Protestants and 82% of Catholics — and 33% of these with out one. And of these angel-believing religiously unaffiliated, that features 2% of atheists, 25% of agnostics and 50% of these recognized as “nothing in particular.”

The broad acceptance is what fascinates San Francisco-based witch and writer Devin Hunter: Angels present up independently in several religions and traditions, making them a part of the material that unites humanity.

“We’re all getting to the same conclusion,” mentioned Hunter, who spent 16 years as knowledgeable medium, and began speaking as a baby with what he believed had been angels.

Hunter estimates {that a} perception in angels applies to about half of these training trendy witchcraft right this moment, and for some who do not consider, their rejection is commonly rooted within the spiritual trauma they skilled rising up.

“Angels become a very big deal” for long-time practitioners who’ve made occultism their primary focus, said Hunter, an angel-loving occultist. “We cannot escape them in any way, shape or form.”

Jennifer Goodwin of Oviedo, Florida, also is among the roughly seven in 10 U.S. adults who say they believe in angels. She isn’t sure if God exists and rejects the afterlife dichotomy of heaven and hell, but the recent deaths of her parents solidified her views on these celestial beings.

Goodwin believes her parents are still keeping an eye on the family — not in any physical way or as a supernatural apparition, but that they manifest in those moments when she feels a general sense of comfort.

“I think that they are around us, but it’s in a way that we can’t understand,” Goodwin said. “I don’t know what else to call it except an angel.”

Angels mean different things to different people, and the idea of loved ones becoming heavenly angels after death is neither an unusual belief nor a universally held one.

In his reading of Scripture as an evangelical Protestant, Grogger said he believes angels are something else entirely — they have never been human and are on another level in heaven’s hierarchy. “We are higher than angels,” he said. “We do not become an angel.”

Angels do interact with humans though, said Grogger, but what “that appears like we’re not 100% positive.” They worship God who created this angelic legion of unknown numbers, he mentioned, including that evangelicals usually attribute the demonic forces on this planet to the angels who fell from heaven when the satan rebelled.

The Western concepts about angels will be traced by way of the Bible — and to the worldviews of its monotheistic authors, Garrett mentioned. These beliefs have modified and developed for millennia, influenced by cultures, theologians and even the traditional polytheistic beliefs that got here earlier than the Hebrew Bible and the New Testomony, she mentioned.

“There are sort of lines of continuity from the Bible that you can trace all the way up to the New Age movement,” mentioned Susan Garrett, who wrote “No Ordinary Angel: Celestial Spirits and Christian Claims about Jesus.”

The angels within the Bible do God’s bidding, and angelic violence is one a part of their job description, mentioned Esther Hamori, writer of the upcoming e-book, “God’s Monsters: Vengeful Spirits, Deadly Angels, Hybrid Creatures, and Divine Hitmen of the Bible.”

“The angels of the Bible are just as likely to assassinate individuals and slaughter entire populations as they are to offer help and protect and deliver,” mentioned Hamori. She does not consider in these angels, however research them as a Hebrew Bible professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York the place she teaches a well-liked “Monster Heaven” class.

“They’re just God’s obedient soldiers doing the task at hand, and sometimes that task is in human beings’ best interests, and sometimes it’s not,” she said.

The perception that angels act angelic and look like the idyllic, winged figurines atop Christmas trees could be attributed to an early centuries belief that people are assigned one good angel and one bad — or have a good and bad spirit to guide them, Garrett said.

This idea shows up on the shoulders of cartoon characters and is likely what Abraham Lincoln was alluding to in his famous appeal for unity when he referenced “the better angels of our nature” in his first inaugural tackle, she mentioned.

“It’s also tied in with ideas about guardian angels, which again, very ancient views that got developed over the centuries,” Garrett said.

For Sheila Avery of Chicago, angels are protectors, capable of keeping someone from harm. Avery, who belongs to a nondenominational church, credits them with those moments like when a person’s plans fall through, but ultimately it saves them from being in the thick of an unexpected disaster.

“They turn on the news and a terrible tragedy happened at that particular place,” Avery said, suggesting it was an “angel that was probably watching over them.”


Related Press faith protection receives help by way of the AP’s collaboration with The Dialog US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely accountable for this content material.

Copyright 2023 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.