Politics trumps God for most Americans when it comes to conversations with their friends, a new study shows.
Six in 10 Americans are more comfortable talking about politics than their spiritual beliefs. And most say they aren’t interested in having more spiritual conversations.
By contrast, evangelical Christians prefer talking about God over politics by a 2-to-1 margin.
Those are among the findings of an online survey of 1,004 Americans about their views on spirituality and politics from LifeWay Research.
Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said Americans like to talk about both politics and religion, which are sometimes considered off limits in polite conversation. But they often prefer one to the other.
“People tend to discuss the things that matter most to them,” he said. “For evangelicals, that is their faith.”
As part of the survey, researchers compared how often Americans talk to others about politics to the number of times they talk about spirituality.
Two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say they had at least three conversations about politics in the last month. Eight percent had no conversations about politics.
By contrast, fewer than half (44 percent) had three or more spiritual conversations in the same time frame. Twenty-two percent had no conversations about spirituality.
Overall, 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent) say they’re more comfortable discussing their political views than their spiritual beliefs. But there are distinctions among certain groups.
Women (51 percent), those who go to church at least once a week (57 percent), and those with evangelical beliefs (63 percent) prefer to talk about their spiritual views. Men (69 percent) and those who don’t have evangelical beliefs (65 percent) prefer to talk about politics.
Most Americans also say they have about as many conversations about spirituality as they can handle.
About half (51 percent) say they have “just the right amount” of discussions on spiritual beliefs. A quarter (23 percent) want fewer spiritual discussions. Only 1 in 5 wants more. Six percent aren’t sure.
Hispanics (38 percent), those 18 to 35 (35 percent), and those who live in the West (30 percent) are more likely to say they have spiritual conversations “more often than I would like.”
Those with evangelical beliefs (32 percent), those 55 and over (26 percent), and those in the South (24 percent) are more likely to say they have such conversations “less often than I would like.”
Churchgoers are split. Three in 10 (29 percent) of those who attend at least once a week say they want fewer spiritual conversations. One in 4 (26 percent) wants more spiritual conversations.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press