That sound you hear is your pastor's head exploding

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.”

3 Comments

Halfway through the book -- awesome. You have a wicked sense of humor.

Anyway, that same study above also reported that 21% of self-identified atheists also said they believed there was a God, so it just may be a case of some ignorant folks latching on to labels and having no idea what those labels mean(6 percent of the atheists even said they believe in a personal God).

One has to wonder if those Christians who assert that adherents of other faiths can be saved understand the teachings of Christianity. It was Jesus - the guy who rose from the dead - that said “no one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6 ESV) not some theologians on down the line. Likewise his apostles after him affirmed his words; “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved(Acts 4:12 ESV). If Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about then all Christians who take his words seriously are deceived or worse, deluded.

It is worth noting as well that when one begins to look closely at other belief systems that not a few of them have no concept of salvation by a personal God or even a personal God. For example Nirvana and Heaven have virtually no correspondence; Nirvana is a state of mind, Heaven is a place.

If one wants to pick and choose what parts of the bible to believe and apply (AKA dalmation theology), then one can possibly make allowances for adherents of other faiths to be saved, but then how do you know what parts of the bible to believe and what parts to discard?

I’m not sure where to put this, because there isn’t an email address for you so this will have to work.

I am about 2/3 through with your book, and I can’t put it down. I’m a 25 year old lifelong Christian, and a Bible college graduate. My faith is the focus of my life. I want to let you know that your book is FINALLY saying what many Christians have been thinking for years.

I have so much to say to you, and I have typed and erased several paragraphs by now-so I’ll just say “Thank you” from all of us who have helplessly rolled our eyes at the crap people put out there in the name of faith.

...And I bet your children are beautiful, no matter what Rock for Life says. :)

2008 Daniel Radosh    Design: Pat Broderick     Programming: Kevin Shay