Monday, January 12, 2009

Pew Poll Follows Up On Controversial One

A new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that a significant minority of self-identified evangelicals believe that many religions can lead to salvation, even though some of those evangelicals apparently are confused over what the term "religion" means.

The poll seeks to bring clarity to a much-criticized poll by Pew in June that found 70 percent of Americans, including 56 percent of white evangelicals, believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life." Several Christian commentators criticized that first survey's general wording, saying that Christians often refer to their denomination as their religion. In other words, those critics wondered: Were the evangelicals who were polled saying they believe people within multiple Christian denominations can obtain eternal life, or were they saying that Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus also have a path to salvation?

The new poll asked follow-up questions, and its findings do -- as least partially -- support the claims of those critics. Nevertheless, the poll contains very little good news for the evangelical church.

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