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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious Beliefs Of U.S. Adults,
About Their Own And Other
Religions, from 2000 to 2017:

Page 1

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Faith symbols

Religious symbols of world religions.
(Somehow, they missed Wicca)

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This essay contains public opinion poll results on:

bullet 1. How U.S. adults view religion in general

bullet 2. How "warmly" do U.S. adults view different Christian denominations and other religions?

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1. How U.S. adults view religion in general:

A survey of U.S. adults was commissioned by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and was released during 2002. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a more recent Pew report on these specific topics.

It found that:

bulletIs religion good or bad?
bullet80% believe that religion in the world is beneficial.

bullet13% believe that religion is a bad thing.

bulletDo religions play a role in causing war?
bullet65% believe that religion in general has either a "great deal" or "fair amount" to do with causing wars and civil conflict.

bullet29% believe that religion has either "only a little" or "no" role in causing war.

bulletDo religions encourage violence?
bullet47% believe that some religions encourage violence more than others.

bullet 41% disagree. 1

The survey found that:

"The most secular and liberal elements of the country are more critical of the role of religion in general terms, but have a more favorable view of Muslims and Islam. Conservative groups, including white evangelical Protestants, hold the opposite opinions. They are more supportive of the role of religion in the world, but hold more negative views of Muslims."

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2. How "warmly" do U.S. adults view other religions and faith groups?

Pew Research polled a random selection of U.S. adults during 2014 2 and 2017. 3 They calculated a "mean thermometer rating" that measures the "warmth" that the person felt towards other religious groups. They found that warmth had increased significantly by 4 to 9 points during the three years between the two surveys towards all other faith groups except Evangelical Christians:

Warmth feeling towards Faith group

Degrees warmth, 2014

Degrees warmth, 2017

Increase

Jews
63
67
4
Catholics
62
66
4
Mainline Protestants
Not sampled
65
Unknown
Evangelical Christians
61
61
0
Buddhists
53
60
7
Hindus
50
58
8
Mormons *
48
54
6
Atheists
41
50
9
Muslims
40
48
8

* More properly referred to as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The results above are shown for all 4,248 adults who were sampled during the poll. The margin of error is ±1.5 warmth rating.

  • Atheists show the greatest improvement over the three years in "warmth" by others (9 points "warmth rating")

  • Evangelical Christians show the least improvement (0).

  • Mormons received the lowest warmth rating of all religious groups from among persons aged 30 to 64, and the third lowest among persons 65 and above.

  • The lowest warmth rating, 29, was given by Atheists towards Evangelical Christians. The second lowest warmth rating, 33 was given by White Evangelical Christians towards Atheists.

The Pew report contains an abundance of interesting results when sub-sets of the people sampled are studied. For example:

  • Persons who are Republicans or leaning Republican gave the highest warmth rating towards Evangelical Christians at 71 and gave Muslims the lowest warmth at 39.

  • Persons who are Democrats or leaning Democrat rated Jews the highest at 66 and Mormons the lowest at 52.
  • Groups tended to rate themselves very warmly. For example Jews rated themselves at 91; Catholics rated themselves at 83; White Evangelicals rated other Evangelicals at 81.

We concluded from this data that there is a desperate need for dialogue between some groups -- particularly between Evangelicals and Atheists. That would not be an easy task to organize.

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Three additional topics are shown in the next essay:

How U.S. adults:
- view salvation outside their faith tradition;
- view their own spirituality and religious faith;
- exhibit religious inclusivity
.

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Americans Struggle with Religion’s Role at Home and Abroad," Pew Research, 2002-MAR-20, at: http://www.people-press.org/
  2. "How Americans Feel About Religious Groups," Pew Research, 2014-JUL-16, at: http://www.pewforum.org/
  3. "Americans Express Increasingly Warm Feelings Toward Religious Groups," Pew Research, 2017-FEB-15, at: http://www.pewforum.org/

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Site navigation:

 Home page > Christianity > Christian history, belief... > Polls > here

 Home page > Religious info. > Basic info. > Polls > here

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Copyright © 1999 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-MAY-13
Latest update: 2017-FEB-20
Author: B.A. Robinson 

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