Christians: No One Path to Salvation
From TIME magazine today, with thanks to Dr. Veith for more details, provided below. This is a very significant report, perhaps nothing new in it, per se, but a lot of details and documentation. Let's just say we continue to more than have our work cut out for us.
Americans of every religious stripe are considerably more
tolerant of the beliefs of others than most of us might have assumed,
according to a new poll released Monday. The Pew Forum on Religion and
Public Life last year surveyed 35,000 Americans, and found that 70% of
respondents agreed with the statement "Many religions can lead to
eternal life." Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians
were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to
salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words
of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that "no one comes to the Father
except through me." Even as mainline churches had become more tolerant,
the exclusivity of Christianity's path to heaven has long been one of
the Evangelicals' fundamental tenets. The new poll suggests a major
shift, at least in the pews.
The Religious Landscape Survey's findings appear to signal that
religion may actually be a less divisive factor in American political
life than had been suggested by the national conversation over the last
few decades. Peter Berger, University Professor of Sociology and
Theology at Boston University, said that the poll confirms that "the
so-called culture war, in its more aggressive form, is mainly waged
between rather small groups of people." The combination of such
tolerance with high levels of religious participation and intensity in
the U.S., says Berger, "is distinctively American — and rather
From Dr. Veith's Cranach blog:
Much of it confirms what other polls have noted: 92% of Americans
believe in “God or universal spirit”; 40% of Americans say they attend
a religious service every week.
There are some additional facts I had not known before: 20% of
Americans speak in tongues. 60% pray daily. 63% believe their holy book
is the word of God. 79% believe in miracles.
The biggest revelation, as it were, is that for all of Americans’
religiosity, some 70% believe that people who hold to other religions
can find salvation.
My favorite fact of the study: One out of five ATHEISTS believe in
God or a universal spirit. And nearly half of all AGNOSTICS (defined as
someone who does not know whether or not God exists) report believing
in God or a universal spirit.
The non-believing community, like other religious groups, needs to
better teach and enforce their doctrinal orthodoxy. Or at least stop
calling their adherents “brights.”