An article in Psychology Today raises an interesting topic—what kind of people believe that animals have an afterlife?
In June 2015, Pope Francis released a papal encyclical that led some people to believe he was saying animals had souls and would go to heaven, which goes against long-held Catholic beliefs (but not against the well-loved 1989 cartoon All Dogs Go to Heaven, of course.)
Animal-lovers who believe in an afterlife want to believe that their beloved pets who have gone before them will be waiting for them when they pass away—there is even a belief some have that when animals die, they cross the “Rainbow Bridge” and wait for their masters on the other side.
But the question of what type of people, exactly, believe that animals have an afterlife is an interesting one.
According to the Psychology Today article, a study by by researchers from North Carolina State University came up with the following results:
Do animals have souls?
Thirty-two percent of participants said animals definitely or probably did not have souls; 48 percent said animals definitely or probably did have souls; 20 percent were undecided.
Do animals go to heaven?
Fifty-nine percent of participants said humans experience an afterlife and 75 percent of that group believe animals do, too.
Who, exactly, believes that animals crossover?
There was a definite gender gap: 51 percent of the women polled said animals had an afterlife compared to just 36 percent of the men.
People who are religious were shown to be more likely to believe that animals have an afterlife—Buddhists were the most likely, followed by Protestants and Catholics.
Although you may think people in the study would be more likely to believe that only pets—dogs, cats, birds and the like—would go to heaven, they thought all animals would be welcome, even insects. And pet owners were just as apt to think that animals would go to heaven as non-pet owners.
What do you think—will your pet be waiting for you on the other side?