The Pew Center has released a report on religion in America. Among the interesting findings:
A majority of those who are affiliated with a religion, for instance, do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. And almost the same number believes that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion.
I have no objection to these views per se, but according to other research they suggest that the people who hold them will have trouble passing their religious views on to their children and grandchildren.
Another interesting finding is divergence on the question whether other religions may offer paths to salvation. 83% of mainline Protestants agree, putting their version of Christianity in a category with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. Only 53% of evangelicals, 39% of Mormons, and 56% of Muslims agree.
Another interesting divergence is over conceptions of God. 62% of mainline Protestants believe in a personal God, as opposed to 79% of evangelicals and 91% of Mormons. Only 41% of Muslims, 31% of Hindus, and 25% of Jews agree.
There are also some strange findings. 21% of self-styled atheists believe in God (6% in a personal God), suggesting that they don’t know what ‘atheist’ means. 55% of agnostics believe in God (14% in a personal God), suggesting a similar confusion there.
There’s a strong connection between religion and politics. 50% of conservatives attend church weekly, but only 12% of liberals do. 46% of conservatives consider religion very important; only 14% of liberals do.