Majority of Americans believe in angels
January 1, 2007 9:13pm CST
A bluebird in the garden, a spirit in a house, a kind man on the side of the road. Americans are big believers in angels, although not necessarily the ones with halos(1) and wings. An overwhelming majority, almost regardless of backgrounds and religious convictions(2), think angels are real, according to an AP-AOL News poll exploring attitudes about angels. Belief in angels is highest — almost universal — among evangelical(3) Christians, 97 percent of whom trust in their existence, the poll indicates. But even among people with no religious affiliation(4), well more than half said angels are for real. Protestants(5), women, Southerners, Midwesterners and Republicans were the most likely to believe in angels, although strong majorities in other groups also shared that faith. Belief in angels declined slightly with advanced education, from 87 percent of those with high school education or less to 73 percent of those with college degrees. Overall, 81 percent believed in angels. The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted by telephone Dec. 12 to 14 by Ipsos, an international public opinion research company. The margin of sampling error for all adults was plus or minus 3 percentage points. If it's one thing to believe in angels, it's something else to explain exactly what an angel is. "A presence that you feel around you, is my opinion," said Elizabeth Daves, 63, of Flemington, N.J. "I accept them — to come whenever they want to." And she said they came, and have comforted her, since her mother-in-law(6) died in their house. Edward Pelz, 80, said he believes that angels are guiding him, even though it's impossible to explain to anyone else. "Have I ever seen one? Nope. We depict(7) an angel as a person that's white, has a robe on, has wings on back. I'm not sure that's the way they look. So for me, I think sometimes there's angels that aren't that way." Pelz recounted(8) a story about a man who showed up to change his tire when he had a flat in Ohio five years ago. "I look at life — I say, well maybe I had an angel with me here today. It could have been just another man doing a good deed."