Mar 12, 2021
Although the US is nominally a secular state, the majority of its citizens think of themselves as spiritual.
That's one of the central findings of a recent major study of spirituality in the United States.
"About three quarters of the respondents said that spirituality is either very important to them, or somewhat important," said Bob Boisture, the president and CEO of the Fetzer Institute, which sponsored the 2020 report, What Does Spirituality Mean to Us.
"As we probe more deeply in terms of what that translates to.... we found that it's not just important in the abstract, it manifests in these very real ways."
In this podcast, Boisture discusses the different ways that people define spirituality, how they express it within and apart from organized religious frameworks, and the degree to which spiritually-oriented people get engaged in civic life.
Among the report's conclusions: 86% of survey respondents considered themselves spiritual; about 66% aspire to be more spiritual; and people who identify as spiritual are more liable to be civilly engaged,, get involved in politics, and vote.
"A cross-cutting theme of what spirituality meant to people was around this theme of connection to a higher power, to other people, to the natural world, in whatever combination. And that connection was not just a physical connection, it was a connection of moral significance," Boisture said.
The Institute funded the study as part of its core mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a living world. The Kalamazoo, Michigan based organization has a long-standing commitment to supporting research that deepens our understanding of spirituality and how it can animate concrete and positive change.