Americans: My Faith Isn't the Only Way
8:49 AM EST June 24, 2008 (by MSN Mobile)
"America remains a nation of believers, but a new survey finds most Americans don't feel their religion is the only way to eternal life - even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise.The findings, released Monday in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don't know fundamental teachings of their own faiths.
Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attendees said they believe many religions can lead to eternal
life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching. In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion."The survey shows religion in America is, indeed, 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep," said D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion.
"There's a growing pluralistic impulse toward tolerance and that is having theological consequences," he said.Earlier data from the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, released in February, highlighted how often Americans switch religious affiliation. The newly released material looks at religious belief and practice as well as the impact of religion on society, including how faith shapes political views.
The report argues that while relatively few people - 14 percent - cite religious beliefs as the main influence on their political thinking, religion still plays a powerful indirect role.The study confirmed some well-known political dynamics, including stark divisions over abortion and gay marriage, with the more religiously committed taking conservative views on the issues."
Sent from my T-Mobile Sidekick®