Works of Love
December 26, 2016
Rx: Did You Know That We Measured the Experience of Unlimited Love?
Our Fifth Big Question is: What do people mean when they self-report a spiritual experience of Unlimited Love, how common is this, and is this experience objectively associated with emotional healing and expanded benevolence?
Take a look at this page for a detailed discussion of this question and for a video clip.
To answer this question, the Institute conducted a renowned randomized national survey of people’s self-reported spiritual experience of Love in 2010. Led by VP Matthew T. Lee, Dr. Margaret Paloma, and Dr. Post, the findings were astonishing. We discussed them in The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God’s Love (2013, Oxford University Press).
Are you ready? Here you go:
Almost half of all Americans feel God’s love at least once a day and eight out of ten have this experience at least once in a while. Perhaps more importantly, a similar percentage has felt such love increasing their compassion for others. But what do the numbers really mean in daily life?
As it turns out, the experience of divine love seems to matter a great deal. It was the most consistent predictor in our statistical analysis of six different forms of benevolent behavior, including spending time volunteering, donating money, helping friends and family, serving in the community, or working to make the world a better place. Perhaps our most surprising finding was that 27% of those who identified as religiously unaffiliated, agnostic, or atheist claimed to have had a direct experience of God’s love at least once in a while.
With your help we will continue our research worldwide. To do this well on a larger scale requires your help.
Can we count on you to support the next round of research? Yes, I will donate now.
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