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Material world – Spirituality lags, study says

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More than half of Americans believe increased prosperity erodes spiritual life, says a new Gallup survey on contemporary American thinking about spirituality, technology and materialism.

The survey, released by the John Templeton Foundation, says 95 percent of Americans believe in a universal spirit, and more than half of respondents anticipate spiritual practices will become an increasing force in people’s lives in the next 100 years. 

The findings suggest that during one of the longest economic booms in U.S. history, citizens need to close the gap between spiritual and material wealth.

The Rev. Larry Sullivan of Harvard University says philanthropy can bridge the gap between economic and spiritual life.

“We need to engage philanthropy as a potential social movement, leveraging the current atmosphere of financial success to create a social trend that espouses charity,” he says.

The survey charts new public attitudes about the mutually supportive relationship between science and religion.

More than 70 percent of Americans attribute increased global communications between cultures as the cause of increased enthusiasm for spiritual involvement.

And 66 percent of respondents believe that growth in the quality of religious beliefs is important to guide the future of technology.

More than 73 percent of Americans are optimistic that increased understanding between religious groups will lead to more harmony in the future. 

The John Templeton Foundation promotes links between religion and science and supports spiritually-minded scientific discovery.

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