In a 2007 national study by the Baylor Department of Sociology, 1600 men and women from various ages, religious affiliations, education levels and political parties were asked if they believed in angels. The results may surprise you.
More than 60% said, "Absolutely." Another 21% said, "Probably." Only 19% answered in the negative with either "Probably Not" or "Absolutely Not." The latter registered the lowest percentage in the study at 8.8%.
It's also interesting that these trends hold up whether or not the person answering is religious, Democrat, Republican, male or female, and regardless of their level of education. The fact is, people across the entire spectrum embrace the idea of angels.
Even though today a growing share of Americans claim themselves as "religiously unaffiliated," angels continue to hold a special place in our psyche. They are ubiquitous, appearing in poems, songs, movies, television shows, art, social media and more. Perhaps it is that we all crave a personal messenger to offer us hope in challenging times and a reminder of all that is wonderful in good times. And we are not the first to feel this way.
The word angel, which means messenger, and depictions of what are commonly thought of as angels, have been around for at least 4,000 years. They are seen in ancient Egyptian carvings, cave drawings in many different cultures and jewelry and pottery dating back to 300 BC, long before the more recognized angel visages cropped up in Renaissance art. The list of intriguing angel facts seem endless. Marsillio Ficino, a fifteenth century philosopher, thought there were 399,920,004 angels in existence. Pope Pius XII reported that he saw St. Peter's Square filled with the guardian angels of the faithful gathered below him. In 1863, one of the most famous pieces of winged goddess or angel art in the world, Winged Victory of Samothrace, was discovered by amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau and shipped to France, where it still resides in the Louvre. The sculpture has been dated back to approximately 200BC, where it was created on a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. And according to Art Historian Harry Seymour, perhaps the most famous of all art angels are the two delightful cherubs at the bottom of Raphael's painting The Saint Madonna. These icons of innocence supposedly were inspired by two children of the model who posed as the Madonna for Raphael. I can honestly imagine these two little people hanging out watching this dedicated artist paint their mother. Little did they know that they would end up in this iconic painting, and also on posters, cards, stickers and more through time (even without The Madonna.)
While it seems we live in a time when there is more interest in science than ethereal imagery, it's interesting to see modern angels continuing to capture the human spirit. California artist Christine Krainock's abstract depictions of angels often sell out before she finishes a painting.
Mixed media and collage artist Ingrid Pomeroy often incorporates angels into her creations, like this gold-winged womanl below.
The Infinity Angel is yet another modern depiction of the simple essence of angels, with her "Everything you need is already here" message encouraging self-reliance and belief that you will continuously learn when you are open to what the universe dishes up.
When we receive messages back from people around the world who have found their own meaning in The Infinity Angel, we know there is hope. We feel privileged to step into a 4,000-year history of angels that still transcends time and space and brings comfort, healing and encouragement to so many people.