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More than half of us believe spiritual forces have influence on earth, research reveals

New research from the think tank Theos shows that more than three-quarters of all people believe that there are things we cannot explain through science or any other means ...

New research from the think tank Theos, examining patterns of spiritual belief in Britain, shows that over three-quarters of all people believe that there are things we cannot explain through science or any other means – and more than half think spiritual forces have some influence on earth.
The research was commissioned by the independent production company, CTVC, to mark the launch today of its new regular podcast, Things Unseen, which aims to engage both people of faith and those who do not feel drawn to formal religion, but have some spiritual beliefs or interests.
The research showed that only 25% of the population think spiritual forces have no influence on earth. More than three in five (62%) of those who call themselves Christians think such spiritual forces can influence people’s thoughts or the human or natural world but, more surprisingly, more than a third (35%) of the non-religious also believe this.
The survey also revealed that a sixth, or 16%, of people said they or someone they knew had experienced a miracle, with younger respondents more likely to say this than older ones. Even 8% of the non-religious claimed that they, or someone they knew, had experienced a miracle.
The research, involving over 2,000 adults, confirmed that despite the decline of formalized religious belief and belonging, the British are far from having become a nation of atheists or materialists.
Belief in spiritual forces was shown to be found across all age ranges, concentrated, if anything, in the under-34 group – contradicting the idea that such beliefs are the preserve of the elderly. Spiritual beliefs are found across religious and non-religious groups, with a significant minority – and sometimes a majority – of the non-religious happy to sign up to such beliefs and opinions.
Things Unseen, the new regular podcast from CTVC, was conceived in response to earlier Theos research on the increasingly complex patterns of faith in post-religious Britain. It is produced by a team of ex-BBC religious programme makers and will be available from today on iTunes and its own website.
The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, commented on this initiative: "We can respond to a changing religious landscape by being nostalgic or creative. This excellent initiative has chosen a creative approach to meeting people where they are (rather than where churches wished they were) and opening up universal themes of human experience and questions about it. I strongly endorse this approach."

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