Charlie Stross: October 2003 Archives

October 25, 2003

Go to hell: the survey

United States: The Barna Research Group in Oxnard, southern California, conducted a poll into American beliefs in the afterlife. Around 100 people were interviewed for the poll which asked opinions in every American state apart from Hawaii and Alaska. The results?

71% of Americans believe in hell, but only 0.5% think they're going to end up there.

Actually, only 5% of Americans don't hold some sort of superstitious belief in an afterlife, but let's not exaggerate the hell business: 39% of those surveyed see hell as a state of eternal separation from God's presence, and another 13% see hell as some kind of unwanted bad outcome after death, leaving only a 32% minority who believe in a hellfire-and-brimstone-is-literally-true place of suffering where Bad People go after they die.

Mind you, 76% of Americans believe in heaven; 30% see it as an actual place of rest and reward and 46% see it as an eternal place of existence in God's presence.

Oh, and 64% believe that they are on the way to heaven after death.

These guys have got nuclear weapons. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Everyone else can go to hell, Americans say - The Guardian, 25th October, 2003.

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