Home Christian News Over Half of Protestants Say They Have Interacted With Dead Relatives: Report

Over Half of Protestants Say They Have Interacted With Dead Relatives: Report

dead relatives
Photo by Dhivakaran S (via Pexels)

A new study published by Pew Research has found that moderately religious Americans, including Christians, are among the likeliest to attempt to communicate with dead relatives.

The survey was conducted in March and April of this year and included 5,079 adults from various faith traditions and with varying levels of religiosity. 

“While the survey asked whether people have had interactions with dead relatives, it did not ask for explanations,” researchers explained. “We don’t know whether people view these experiences as mysterious or supernatural, or whether they see them as having natural or scientific causes, or some of both.

More than half of all those surveyed (53%) said that they have been “visited by a dead family member in a dream or some other form.”

A considerable portion (44%) claimed to have interacted with a dead family member in the past 12 months, with 34% saying they have “felt the presence” of a deceased loved one, 28% saying that they have told a dead relative about their life, and 15% saying that a dead family member had communicated with them. 

RELATED: Churchgoers Less Familiar Than Pastors With Deconstruction, More Likely To See It in Their Pews

When looking at those who identified as Protestant Christians, the numbers were similar, with 51% of Protestants saying that they have communed with a dead loved one in a dream or another form in the last 12 months. Nevertheless, while 58% of mainline Protestants and 67% of Black Protestants claimed to have communicated with a departed loved one, that number was only 42% among evangelicals.

Evangelicals were more likely than atheists (26%) and agnostics (34%) to say that they had interacted with a dead relative but less likely than Roman Catholics (66%) to make the claim. 

Of note is that religiosity played as much of a factor in the survey as religious affiliation. 

Individuals with “medium levels” of religiosity were more likely than both highly religious and nonreligious people to report having felt the presence of a deceased loved one or to say that they have communicated with a deceased loved one in the past year. 

RELATED: Barna Research: People Like Jesus. His Followers? Not So Much

While 63% of moderately religious individuals said that they had communicated with dead relatives, 41% of highly religious people and 39% of people with low religiosity said they had.