People often question my conclusion that American evangelicalism is shifting to become more tolerant and open-minded. Here’s a new study that finds something beyond even what I would have thought: 57 percent of self-identified evangelicals agree that “many religions,” not just their own, can lead to eternal salvation. Even among “traditionalists,” 50 percent agree.
Peter Berger, University Professor of Sociology and Theology at Boston University, said that the poll confirms that “the so-called culture war, in its more aggressive form, is mainly waged between rather small groups of people.”
What does this mean?
Liberals and conservatives will interpret the numbers in different ways, says Pew’s Green. “The liberal [interpretation] is that Americans are becoming more universalistic, religiously. The conservative one is that Americans are losing faith and becoming more accommodationist.” But he says the truth may lie elsewhere. “Just because they don’t want to believe that there’s only one way to salvation doesn’t meant that they don’t take their religion very seriously.”