24% Americans believe in reincarnation

Roughly 24 percent American adults believe in reincarnation and a similar number believe in yoga as a spiritual practice, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

This poll also found out that roughly one-quarter of adults express belief in tenets of certain Eastern religions and 25% profess belief in astrology (that the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives). The poll finds that large numbers of Americans engage in multiple religious practices, mixing elements of diverse traditions.

Prestigious newsmagazine “Newsweek” headlined an article recently as “We Are All Hindus Now”, saying “U.S. Views on God and Life Are Turning Hindu”. Written by its religion editor Lisa Miller, it said, “…recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.”

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, welcoming the Forum findings, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that community was glad that rich philosophical thought of Hinduism was being recognized and accepted widely outside the Hindu circles also.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further says that religion is a complex component of human life and a deeper, more inclusive and broader understanding of religion is needed. We are all looking for the truth and in our joint search for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus come closer to the truth. We should seek unity that celebrates diversity. Dialogue brings us mutual enrichment and helps us overcome the prejudices passed on to us by previous generations.

Yoga is one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy. Reincarnation is a central tenet of Hinduism. Astrology has played a great role in Hinduism since ancient times.

Directed by Luis Lugo, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, based in Washington DC and launched in 2001, seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs. The Forum is a project of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Center in turn is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts whose President is Rebecca W. Rimel. Newsweek, published in four English language and 12 global editions, has a worldwide circulation of over four million.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents, including about 2.3 million in the USA. Moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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