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Majority of Australians believe in God, miracles

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sydney: A new poll conducted has found that a majority of Australians believe in God or a similar universal spirit, miracles, heaven, life after death and angels.

The findings by a Nielsen poll showed that Aussies are willing to mix and match religious faith with belief in other phenomena.

The research showed that Australians are more religious, with 68% believing in God or a universal spirit, and 50% saying religion is important or very important in their lives.

But atheists and agnostics also had a strong showing in the national survey of 1000 respondents, taken early this week.

Almost one in four Australians (24%) do not believe in either God or a universal spirit, and 7% are not sure or say they "don't know'".

Women have more faith than men, with 56% saying they believe in God and 13% saying they believe in a universal spirit, compared with 43% and 11% of men, respectively.

Most people with faith hold it strongly, with 88% saying they were either absolutely or fairly certain in their belief.

Christianity, generally considered to be on the decline, was still the largest faith, with 64 % of believers nominating it as the religion they most identified with.

The next biggest was Buddhism, at 2%, followed by Hinduism and Islam, which each had 1% of believers.

Judaism accounted for less than half of 1% of believers.

But God is not the only thing Australians believe in. They place their faith in a range of other phenomena. For example, 63% believe in miracles, and 53% believe in life after death.

Angels are also popular, with 51% of respondents saying they believe in them, slightly more than the 49% who hold faith in psychic powers such as ESP.

While 56% of people believe in heaven, only 38% believe in hell, and belief in God is much more popular than faith in the devil, with only 37% of respondents believing in Satan.

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