Interesting Religion Tidbits

A PEW study was released yesterday that garnered a lot of attention. Some of the more unique bits:

The Spirituality of Atheists – 21% of Atheists believe in god. What this means is that Atheism has become a cultural designation, rather than a theological statement. Some are likely declaring themselves atheists as a statement of hostility to organized religion, rather than to God. This might help explain polls showing rising numbers of Atheists.

Evangelicals Similar to Muslims – In many questions, the group most similar to evangelicals was Muslims. For instance, 79% of evangelicals say religion is very important in their lives. The compares to 56% for the population as a whole, 56% among Catholics, 31% among Jews – and 72% among Muslims.

The Heaven-Hell Gap – 74% of Americans believe in heaven but only 59% believe in Hell. So where do serial killers go when they die?

Tolerance — 70% of Americans say “many religions can lead to eternal life” and 68% that there “is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.” Most amazing, 57% of evangelicals say many religions can lead to eternal life. Given that one of the most important teachings of evangelical Christianity is that salvation comes ONLY through Christ, this finding ought to rattle Christian leaders.

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4 comments

  1. None of this surprises me very much except for the first line: 21% of atheists believe in god? What? I think 21% percent of atheists need a good dictionary. It reminds me of a British sitcom called Coupling, in which a character named Jane often says things like, “I’m a very committed vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat meat, silly!”
    The whole thing is indicative of this trend we have in which we don’t believe or even THINK anything with too much conviction for fear that we’ll offend someone and society will come crashing down upon us.
    Where’s George Carlin when you need him?

  2. lol. Good point.

    Do you think it is because people don’t want to offend others, or because people simply have no idea what the hell they are saying half the time? Both?

    Also, do you think this trend that you mention is new or one of those things that we are noticing now as we grow older? I’ve thought about that one a lot, with different issues. How do we tell the difference between a real trend and our changing perspective?

  3. Wait…”The spirituality of Atheists”…WHAT?
    How does this study conclude, “what this means is that Atheism has become a cultural designation, rather than a theological statement”??????

    Isn’t the proper conclusion:

    “What this means is that 21% of people who claim they are atheists are A) actually agnostic, but are idiots and don’t know any better…

    OR b) thought the question on the survery that asked “If you are atheist, do you believe in god?” was such a stupid question they HAD to bubble in “YES”.

  4. Hmm … interesting point about changing trends vs. changing personal views, Paul. How can we tell the difference? I guess I assume that if I didn’t see something before, it’s because it wasn’t there! lol
    I will have to consider that from now on, however.
    Damn you, making me reconsider my points of view in order to gain a better grasp on what’s actually happening …
    @ AC- I agree, somebody stupid was definitely involved in the “Spirituality of Atheists” part of the survey- whether giving the survey or taking it.

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