8.23.2005

American Idolotry Results Post: Atheist & Evangelist Make It to Semi-Finals!

The Pearly Gates Are Wide Open

from Beliefnet

One of the central tenets of evangelical Christianity is that to be saved—to earn admission into heaven — you must accept Jesus Christ as your savior. Yet 68% of “born again” or “evangelical” Christians say that a “good person who isn’t of your religious faith” can gain salvation, according to a new
Newsweek/Beliefnet poll.

This is pretty amazing. Evangelicals are among the most churchgoing and religiously attentive people in the United States, and one of the ideas they’re most likely to hear from the minister at church on a given Sunday is that the path to salvation is through Jesus. Apparently, rank-and-file evangelicals have a different view. Nationally, 79% of those surveyed said the same thing, and the figure is 73% for non-Christians and an astounding 91% among Catholics.

For a few thousand years, wars have been fought over this point; countless sermons have been given—by people of all faiths — to prove the opposite point. It is one of the main ways that clergy of any given faith can explain why it's important for people to show up at their particular church and read their particular sacred text.

The Newsweek/Beliefnet poll produced a number of other fascinating findings:

One quarter of Americans have veered from their childhood faith. When asked to compare their current faith lives to that of their childhood, 68% said it was the same or mostly the same, while 24% said they’d changed faiths mostly or completely or become an atheist or agnostic. The spiritual approaches that seem to be gaining fans were evangelical Christianity and atheism, while Catholicism and non-evangelical Protestants lost ground.

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