People who consider themselves “spiritual” are more likely to be engaged and involved citizens, according to a Fetzer Institute study released Tuesday.
The study, which was conducted over the course of two years, found the likelihood of assigning importance to bettering one’s community and the world at large is greater among individuals who see themselves as highly spiritual. While the study did not set a strict definition of “spirituality,” common elements of how study participants defined it included the importance of being in nature, religious beliefs, and practices focused on the self.
According to the study, 3 out of 5 participants see a link between their spirituality and investing in their community. Additionally, these individuals are more likely to vote, reach out to elected representatives and officials, and attend political marches and gatherings.
“The health and racism pandemics of 2020 have spurred social and personal upheaval, prompting many people to evaluate their aspirational convictions, and even question traditional sources of meaning, values, and beliefs,” Pamela Ebstyne King, the Peter L. Benson associate professor of applied developmental science at Fuller Theological Seminary, wrote about the study’s findings. “Through spirituality, people potentially have access to prosocial ideals and beliefs, a community to support them, and a source of transcendence that motivates behaviors aligned with their spiritual ideals.”
The study also found that most Americans identify as spiritual regardless of their religious affiliation. Seven out of 10 study participants said spirituality is important to their lives, and most participants identify themselves as being both spiritual and religious.
The complete report can be viewed here.
Editor’s Note: Sojourners receives partner support from the Fetzer Institute.