Friday, June 27, 2008

Distrubing, but Not Surprising Survey

In a recent AP article Eric Gorski writes:
"America remains a nation of believers, but a new survey finds most Americans don't feel their religion is the only way to eternal life - even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise.

The findings, revealed this week in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that American dismiss or don't known fundamental teachings of their own faiths.

Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching.

In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion."

While this is disturbing news, it is not shocking. Many a pastor has discovered this thinking even in the hallowed halls of otherwise conservative Lutheran churches. Obviously we need to be aware of this in our preaching and teaching and address it accordingly.

1 comment:

Roxann said...

While I would NOT say that "there is more than one TRUE way to interpret the teachings of their own religion" (my emphasis), I find myself having a very low tolerance of people who dogmatically assert that their interpretation is THE only correct belief.

Of course there are many core beliefs central to the Christian faith... I'm not suggesting those are open to interpretation. But there are many teachings where an alternate interpretation seems equally plausible.

On the other hand, perhaps my intolerance of these people really is just an indication of jealousy that they are so certain of their beliefs...