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Christians Are the Most Likely To Say They’ve Interacted With a Dead Relative

Christians Are the Most Likely To Say They’ve Interacted With a Dead Relative

If you’ve ever felt like a relative has visited you from beyond the grave, you’re not alone.

A new study from Pew Research found that American Christians are among the most likely to attempt to communicate with dead relatives.

The report, which surveyed 5,079 adults from various faith traditions, found that more than half of religious Americans (53 percent) believe they have been “visited by a dead family member in a dream or some other form.”

“While the survey asked whether people have had interactions with dead relatives, it did not ask for explanations,” researchers said. “We don’t know whether people view these experiences as mysterious or supernatural, or whether they see them as having natural or scientific causes, or some of both.”

A large portion (44 percent) said they have interacted with a dead family member within the past year, and 34 percent believe they have “felt the presence” of a deceased relative. Additionally, 28 percent claim a dead relative visited them to tell them about their life, and 15 percent said that a dead family member had communicated with them in a vague way.

Looking at Christian demographics, 67 percent of Black Protestants and 58 percent of mainline Protestants claim to have interacted with a dead relative. Evangelicals (42 percent) were more likely than atheists (26 percent) and agnostics (34 percent) to say that they had spoken to a deceased relative, but Roman Catholics (66 percent) were more likely to make this claim.

Denominations aside, it appears that one’s “level of religiosity” also plays a factor in to interacting with dead relatives. Individuals with “medium levels of religiosity” (63 percent) were most likely to say they felt the presence of a lost family member and most likely to say they have communicated with one in the past year, more than highly religious people (41 percent) and people with low religiosity (39 percent).

The report shares that the theological convictions from highly religious people and disbelief in the supernatural from nonreligious people contributed to these trends.

“People who are moderately religious seem to be more likely than other Americans to have these experiences,” the report stated. “This is partly because some of the most traditionally religious groups—such as evangelical Protestants—as well as some of the least religious parts of the population—such as atheists and agnostics—are less likely to report having interactions with deceased family members.”

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