USA TODAY, 12/09/09 [Excerpts]: Going to church this Sunday? Look around. The chances are that one in five of the people there find "spiritual energy" in mountains or trees, and one in six believe in the "evil eye," that certain people can cast curses with a look--beliefs your Christian pastor doesn't preach. In a Catholic church? Chances are that one in five members believe in reincarnation in a way never taught in catechism class--that you'll be reborn in this world again and again.
Elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been widely adopted by 65% of U.S. adults, including many who call themselves Protestants and Catholics, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released Wednesday.
Syncretism--mashing up contradictory beliefs like Catholic rocker Madonna's devotion to a Kabbalah-light version of Jewish mysticism--appears on the rise. And, according to the survey's other major finding, devotion to one clear faith is fading.
Of the 72% of Americans who attend religious services at least once a year (excluding holidays, weddings and funerals), 35% say they attend in multiple places, often hop-scotching across denominations. They are like President Obama, who currently has no home church. He has worshiped at a Baptist church, an Episcopal one, and the non-denominational chapel at Camp David. "Mixing and matching practices and beliefs is as much the norm as it is the exception," Pew's Alan Cooperman says.
Among the findings:
·26%...who attend religious services say they do so at more than one place occasionally, and...9% roam regularly from their home church for services.
·28%...who attend church...weekly say they visit multiple churches outside their own tradition.
·59% of less frequent church attendees say they attend worship at multiple places.
The survey of 2,003 adults Aug. 11-27 ...measures Protestants, Catholics and the unaffiliated....Pew says two in three adults believe in or cite an experience with at least one supernatural phenomenon, including: "spiritual energy" in physical things, astrology, reincarnation, yoga as a "spiritual practice."
[ TBC: This trend reflects what the Scripture prophesies regarding the spiritual condition of the church in the Last Days: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy:4:3-4). ]