During the past week the news media mentioned The Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey. This morning the full Survey is available in PDF here.
The warning of the prophet Hosea seems appropriate.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6 ESV)
Anyone interested in reaching citizens of America with the gospel of Christ should be interested in the Pew Forum report on the Religious Landscape Study. You may read a summary of the key findings here. You may download the 18 page report and/or the full report of 268 in PDF.
According to the report, among Evangelical churches 57% believe many religions can lead to eternal life. Eighty seven percent of mainline Protestant churches believe that. Not far behind 89% of Buddhists. The same view is held by 56% of Muslims in America.
Imagine Jesus saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). “At least that’s what I think 57% of the time.”
One interesting aspect of the report is the percent who see a conflict between religion and modern society. The total of all Americans is 40%. And 42% of these say their values are threatened by Hollywood. You might find the views on abortion and homosexuality surprising, too.
The summary concludes with two paragraphs on the effect of secularization.
The U.S. has largely avoided the secularizing trends that have reshaped the religious scene in recent decades in European and other economically developed nations – but not entirely. The
Landscape Survey documents, for example, that the number of Americans who are not affiliated with a religion has grown significantly in recent decades, with the number of people who today say they are unaffiliated with a religious tradition (16% of U.S. adults) more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with a religion as children (7%).
It remains to be seen how this trend toward secularization will ultimately impact religion in the U.S. But what is clear is that religion remains a powerful force in the private and public lives of most Americans, a fact amply illustrated by the findings of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey discussed in this report.
Will the buildings in which we meet one day stand in ruins (physically or spiritually) like this 550 A.D. building, called Basillica B, at Philippi? Read Acts 16 and Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.
Go read, and learn.