12.20.2005

Who's Not Getting In? Sounds Like Heaven Needs a Doorman



Poll: Elbow Room No Problem in Heaven

from ABC News

Vast majorities of Americans believe in heaven and think they're headed there. But elbow room won't be a problem: About eight in 10 believers envision heaven as a place where people exist only spiritually, not physically.

Eighty-nine percent in this ABC News poll believe in heaven, which is consistent with data going back 30 years. Among believers, 85 percent think they'll personally go there — mainly in spirit, since 78 percent say it's a place where people exist only spiritually.

Who gets in is another matter. Among people who believe in heaven, one in four thinks access is limited to Christians. More than a third of Protestants feel that way, and this view peaks at 55 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.

Among all adults, 79 percent are Christians, 14 percent have no religion, and the rest, 5 percent, are non-Christians. Among Christian groups, Catholics account for 21 percent of adults; evangelical Protestants, 19 percent; and non-evangelical Protestants, 13 percent.

There are fewer differences among religious groups on the question of whether heaven is a physical or spiritual place. Belief that it's a physical place peaks at 22 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.

Similarly, among all Americans, 21 percent think that only people who are Christians can go to heaven. Among the rest, 60 percent think both Christians and non-Christians can get in, 7 percent are unsure and 10 percent don't believe.

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