There was an interesting article in AARP The Magazine that I got the other day (yes, hard to believe, but I am over 50). It was titled "Life After Death” and was based on a survey of individuals over 50.
They found that 73% of the folks surveyed did indeed believe in a hereafter, with woman (80%) out-numbering men (64%) in that belief. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, two-thirds of the folks said that their belief in an afterlife has grown as they have aged. This seemed to be related both to exposure to others’ deaths as well as the feeling that they are getting closer to their own. Most folks’ view in the life hereafter is pretty conventional with heaven and hell being the destinations.
Interestingly, 88% of those surveyed felt they were going to heaven after death, but have a lower opinion of other folks, feeling that only 64% of others would be joining them in heaven. To me that doesn’t speak highly of how they view their fellow “man”. The other survey result that seemed to raise questions in my mind was that 23% of folks also said that they believe in reincarnation. Apparently there is an overlap of those believing in heaven and those that think they may be “coming back”. Maybe they are just keeping their options open.
The last bit that I wanted to mention was the pretty strong belief in ghosts and spirits with 60% of women and 44% of men expressing that belief. This belief was highest among 50-somethings (64%) and lowest among those 70 and older (38%). Quite interestingly, 38% of believers have their belief based on personal experience. For those who may be curious, yes I am among the believers in ghosts/spirits and, yes, based on personal experience both on the job and off (the house I lived in before my present one was particularly “visited”).