It’s scarcely worth telling people to go to hell these days: Most of them won’t expect to go there anyhow. In a Barna Research survey, 81 percent of adults said they believe in some sort of afterlife, with another 9 percent saying that it’s a possibility. But just one-half of 1 percent expect to end up in hell, while 64 percent believe they’ll go to heaven. Five percent said they expect to come back as “another life form” (mold, perhaps?); the same number are sure they’ll simply cease to exist. Twenty-four percent haven’t a clue about how they will spend eternity, if they spend it at all. The poll found more people believing that heaven exists (76 percent) than that hell does (71 percent). So did a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey whose results are excerpted in the chart below. Twenty-five percent of the respondents said they believe in reincarnation, so they may feel they’ll have the chance to revise their answers in another lifetime. In a breakdown of the data by age, people in the 18-34 bracket were more likely to express a belief in hell (86 percent) and the devil (79 percent) than their elders were. Women were 12 percentage points more likely than men to say they believe in miracles. Going back to similar Fox polls since 1997, the incidence of belief in God is nearly unchanged. But belief in the devil has climbed from 63 percent then to the current 71 percent.
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