US Religious Beliefs (Pew part 2)

The Pew Foundation published the second report from its U.S. Religious Landscape Survey – “a survey of more than 35,000 Americans.”

  • three out of four Americans consider themselves Protestant or Catholic
  • more than half of Americans say religion is very important in their lives, attend religious services regularly and pray daily.
  • most Americans are not dogmatic about their faith;70% believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life” (66% of Protestants; 57% of Evangelicals)
  • 92% believe in God; 99% of evangelicals (60% believe in a personal God; 79% of evangelicals). [I wonder who called themselves an evangelical and didn’t believe in God?]

. . . a plurality of adults who are affiliated with a religion want their religion to preserve its traditional beliefs and practices rather than either adjust to new circumstances or adopt modern beliefs and practices. Moreover, significant minorities across nearly all religious traditions see a conflict between being a devout person and living in a modern society.

The Landscape Survey confirms the close link between Americans’ religious affiliation, beliefs and practices, on the one hand, and their social and political attitudes, on the other. Indeed, the survey demonstrates that the social and political fault lines in American society run through, as well as alongside, religious traditions. The relationship between religion and politics is particularly strong with respect to political ideology and views on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality, with the more religiously committed adherents across several religious traditions expressing more conservative political views. On other issues included in the survey, such as environmental protection, foreign affairs, and the proper size and role of government, differences based on religion tend to be smaller.

. . .Nearly two-thirds of the public (63%) takes the view that their faith’s sacred texts are the word of God. But those who believe Scripture represents the word of God are roughly evenly divided between those who say it should be interpreted literally, word for word (33%), and those who say it should not be taken literally (27%). And more than a quarter of adults – including two-thirds of Buddhists (67%) and about half of Jews (53%) – say their faith’s sacred texts are written by men and are not the word of God.

Read or Download the full report

Thanks to Brad Wright for the heads up (first). Ben Witherington’s titled his post: Do even a majority of evangelicals believe Jesus is the only way of salvation?

James F. McGrath – lists a whole bunch of other blogs discussing the subject at the bottom of his post: Is Jesus the only way? [He’ll get you thinking.]

Brandon Withrow also points to a survey in the UK which shows that ”more than half of Britons think Christianity is likely to have disappeared from the country within a century, according to a survey.”  Read full article at The Telegraph.

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