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June 25, 2008

Pew Research finds Americans have pluralistic view on religion

by Dave Malnes

In a poll released on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released some startling statistcs on religios life and beliefs in America.  What they found is that many (70% or more) of self-professing Christians have no idea what the Holy Bible teaches to be true.

For instance,

  • 49% of mainline Protestants say they seldom or never read their religion’s holy texts.
  • 68% say there is more than one way to interpret the teachings of their religion.
  • 80% say they believe in “absolute standards of right and wrong.”  BUt, only a third say they turn primarily to religious teachings to set their standards.
  • 74% believe in heaven as a place where people who have led good lives will be eternally rewarded.
  • 59% believe in hell where people who have led bad lives and die without repenting are eternally punished.
  • 57% of Evangelical Christians who say that multiple religions can lead to salvation.

These statistics obviously show us that most professing Christians today don’t have much of an idea of what the Bible teaches. These pluralistic views on religion infects Christianity as we know it. It’s no wonder that non-Christian religions like Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses are becoming more attractive. How can you share your faith with others if you yourself don’t fully know what you believe?

No wonder we are a nation that seems to be searching for purpose, hurting and having great difficulty in finding mutually-agreeable boundaries on what it means to have a fulfilling life. The prevailing wisdom of “if it feels good, than do it” dominates our thoughts, words and actions.

As our nation continues down the path toward secularism, it can only mean that Christianity will slowly dissolve. There will always be a remnant, but it certainly seems that the gospel cloud hovering over America is slowly drifting away.

How do awaken from a spiritual slumber? How do we gain a zeal for Christ? Typically, it is in difficult circumstances we discover our own frailties and God becomes more real. Perhaps a nation going through some significant adversity is the only way to turn hearts toward God. It seems most people have turned their attention and their ears away from those who are faithfully declaring God’s truth. That is, until a difficult circumstance (loss of job, loss of loved one) beckons a person to seek the real truth and counsel of man with the true knowledge of God.

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