Religiosity and Conspiratorial Beliefs Linked in Baylor Religion Inquiry Results | Media and public relations


Americans who most strongly assert their personal religiosity are more likely to believe contemporary lies, according to sociologists at Baylor.

Media Contact: Kaitlyn Rieper, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-405-9110
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WACO, Texas (June 9, 2021) – Patterns of American religious attitudes, behaviors and beliefs just after the 2020 presidential election and during the coronavirus pandemic are the latest focus of the Baylor survey on religion, America’s most comprehensive national survey of religion.

Baylor University researchers analyze the results of the latest survey, paying special attention to the relationship between American religion and public health, the effects of the COVID pandemic, growing wealth inequality and hyper partisanship of contemporary American politics.

Wave 6 results are based on a mail and online survey designed by a team of researchers at Baylor and administered nationally by Gallup. The survey was conducted from January 27 to March 21, 2021, and the random sample included 1,248 adults, ages 18 and older, from all 50 states and Washington, DC The team created.

The survey captures a unique period in American history and contains dozens of original questions regarding religion, health, and politics. A complete book of 127 pages code book shows the distributions of all elements of the survey. In addition, the investigation team preliminary findings indicate that religious belief, religious identity and religious participation are all positively and strongly correlated with belief in contemporary popular lies. The link between religiosity and conspiratorial beliefs is, in part, correlated with political partisanship, said Paul Froese, Ph.D., director of the Baylor Religion Surveys and professor of sociology.

“This broad effect of religion corresponds to a Trump effect, something that we started to notice in the Wave 5 data in 2017, ”Froese said. “The intersection of religion and politics makes the discrete effect of religion on conspiracy thought difficult to determine concisely, and we must note that there are many types and expressions of religiosity. While Americans who most strongly assert their personal religiosity are, on average, more likely to believe these lies, they remain a minority of religious Americans overall. “

The results indicated that Biblical literalists, people self-identified as “very religious” and weekly churchgoers are much more likely to believe that:
• The 2020 election was rigged.
• The COVID vaccine is not trustworthy.
• The best Democrats are involved in sex trafficking rings.

Additionally, Americans who have self-identified as having become “more religious” over the past 10 years are particularly likely to believe these lies, Froese said.

“Our research team is excited to delve into all the different dimensions of the relationship between religion and the pandemic crisis, growing inequalities and political tribalism in the United States today. Our data could not have been collected at a better time, ”he said.

Currently, investigators are studying the results related to:
• Prayer and election 2020
• Christian nationalism and its relationship with the alt-right / QAnon
• Images of God and response to the pandemic
• Emotions, masculinity and COVID management
• Firearms culture in 2021
• Perceptions of weather in the time of COVID


Baylor University is a private Christian university and nationally classified research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community to over 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Accredited in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and over 90 countries to study a wide range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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