The Pew Research study looked at fourteen aspects of spiritual life to paint a picture of how they intersect with ethnicity and race. These ranged from the obvious (religious affiliation) to the abstract and metaphysical (spiritual peace) and delved into matters of the afterlife and morality.
One of the most compelling questions was about “a sense of wonder about the universe.” This broad category is left undefined, but seems to point to a sense of curiosity about the world and the current order. People who identified as Mixed/Other were most likely to feel this wonder about the universe on a weekly basis.
Many of the results were surprising in their potential to popular images of spirituality.
The word, “meditation” often conjures up images of young white yogis or Tibetan monks. But it is Black Americans who were most likely to meditate at least once a week. Black Americans were also most likely to report feeling “a sense of spiritual peace” at least once a week.
Across the categories, Asians seemed least likely to engage with religion and spiritual practice. A lower percentage expressed belief in heaven, hell, or God. Asians were also the most likely to say they never feel a sense of spiritual peace. This disengagement might point to a problem. Maybe different questions need to be asked and maybe the category is too broad.
Overall, Black Americans expressed the most engagement with religion and spiritual practice, but they were equally likely to say they attend services regularly as they were to say they never attend. Among Asians, there was a large split between those who said they pray daily, and those who never pray.