Well, the Pew Forum’s new study on religion in America is all over the web. The most detailed explanation that I found was on Dr. Ben Witherington‘s site, under a post entitled, “Pew Forum’s Revelations– Do even a Majority of Evangelicals Believe Jesus is the Only Way of Salvation?”
As I read the post, the feeling I got was that America is rapidly becoming a secular country. But the survey indicates that 78.4% of American adults are Christians. And yet, at the same time, the “unaffiliated” group is gaining converts (if you can call them that).
There are a few items of the survey that strike me as, well, not very believable. First, it says that 57% of evangelicals believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. Look, I’m not an expert on polls, but I seriously doubt that number, based on my own personal experience. In most evangelical settings, if you say something like, “I think there are many paths to God and heaven,” you’ll get a few reactions. One possibility is that they’ll look at you like you’re completely insane or heretical. But, most likely, they’ll quote to you John 14:6 and Acts 4:12, which present Jesus as the only way to God and salvation.
Second, the study says that 1.7% of Americans are Jewish. Is that really it? I feel that the number should be higher than that. Part of that may be because I went to two Jewish schools, but there are Jewish people in all sorts of areas, even my home town of Brazil, Indiana. That number reminds me of America’s racial demographics, which claim that African-Americans make up only 12.4% of the population. It has to be higher than that! Of course, maybe I feel this way because I walk a lot in downtown Cincinnati. But something tells me that the number should be higher.