They asked a nationwide, representative sample of American adults how they would describe what Easter means to them, personally.
|Icon of the Resurrection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Interestingly, those who articulate a resurrection-related concept of Easter are no more likely than other religiously oriented Americans to indicate that they will invite friends to worship with them on Easter.
The types of Americans who were most likely to express some type of theistic religious connection with Easter were evangelicals (93%), attenders of large churches (86% among those whose congregation has 500-plus adult attenders), born again Christians (81%), and weekly churchgoers (77%).
Republicans (77%) and Democrats (71%) were more likely than were independents (59%) and non-registered citizens (51%) to say Easter has religious meaning for them.
In terms of age, members of the Boomer generation (73%, ages 45 to 63) were among the most likely to describe Easter as a religious holiday for them, compared with two-thirds of Elders (66% of those ages 64-plus) and Busters (66%, ages 26 to 44). The youngest adult generation, the Mosaics (ages 18 to 25), were the least likely age segment to say Easter is a religious holiday (58%), reflecting the increasingly secular mindset of young adults.
Other population segments describing Easter with a non-religious bent were faith groups other than Christianity (just 31% said Easter’s meaning is religious), atheists and agnostics (36%), and unchurched adults (46%).
Those who identify Easter explicitly as a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus were most likely to be evangelicals (73%), large church attenders (60%), born again Christians (55%), active churchgoers (54%), upscale adults (54%), and Protestants (51%).
Showing a perceptual gap between political conservatives and liberals, those on the political “right” were nearly twice as likely as those on the political “left” to say that Easter is a celebration of the resurrection (53% versus 29%, respectively).
In terms of the audience that most Christian churches attempt to attract on Easter weekend – non-churchgoing adults – the research shows that while 46% of unchurched adults view the meaning of Easter to be religious, while just 25% connect the holiday to Jesus’ return to life.
As for denominational affiliation, most Catholics said they celebrate Easter as a religious holiday (65%).Still, just one-third of Catholics listed the resurrection as the meaning of the holiday (37%). In comparison, Protestants were more likely than Catholics both to view Easter as a religious holiday and to connect the occasion to Jesus’ awakening from death (78% and 51%, respectively).