Analyst says 'New Age' beliefs more popular as fewer Americans follow traditional religions

The growing popularity of "New Age" beliefs likely stems in part from fewer Americans following traditional religions, according to political analyst Ruy Teixeira.

"The data suggests this is the fastest growing religious group in America, are people who don't hold any firm religious beliefs," Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said Wednesday on Hill.TV's "What America's Thinking."

"Perhaps these New Age beliefs are in a sense, at least partially, a reflection of more and more people not having an orthodox religious set of beliefs," he added.

Teixeira was discussing a recent Pew Research Center poll that found 62 percent of Americans hold New Age beliefs, such as astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in trees or mountains.

Seventy-eight percent of those who held at least one New Age belief said they did not affiliate with any particular religion.

The survey also found that those who identify as Christian were more likely than atheists and agnostics to hold at least one New Age belief.

Sixty-one percent of respondents who identified as Christian said they held at least one New Age belief, compared with 22 percent of atheists and 56 percent of agnostics who said the same. 

Sixty-seven percent of mainline Protestants, 47 percent of evangelicals and 70 percent of Catholics said they believed in a New Age belief. 

— Julia Manchester