A significant proportion of British adults believe that the devil exists and can possess humans, but the number is much larger for Americans
British and American film audiences are alike in their undying appetite for imaginary demons – supernatural horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 recently topped US and UK box offices. But new international research from YouGov, which surveyed British and American adults, reveals there is a wide cross-Atlantic divide when it comes beliefs about evil spirits in the real world.
On the one hand, 65% of Britons deny that the devil exists or that he can possess people, 18% believe that he does, and he can, while another 17% say they aren't sure about the existence of the devil or possession.
In comparison, Americans are far more believing.
57% of Americans believe in the existence of the Devil and fully half (51%) believe that a person can be possessed by the devil or ‘some other evil spirit’.
While there were moderate differences in credulity between Americans of different ages, belief among Britons is less variable. Predictably, the greatest difference was between British people who describe themselves as ‘religious’, about a quarter (26%) of whom believe in possession, and the non-religious, the demographic group least likely to believe in possession (although 10% still do).