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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › Pew Survey on US Religious Landscape

Pew Survey on US Religious Landscape

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Post #: 30
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Based on interviews with more than 35,000 American adults, this extensive survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political attitudes of the American public.

Summary of Key Findings

A major survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that most Americans have a
non-dogmatic approach to faith. A strong majority of those who are affiliated with a religion,
including majorities of nearly every religious tradition, do not believe their religion is the only
way to salvation. And almost the same number believes that there is more than one true way to
interpret the teachings of their religion. This openness to a range of religious viewpoints is in line
with the great diversity of religious affiliation, belief and practice that exists in the United States,
as documented in a survey of more than 35,000 Americans that comprehensively examines the
country?s religious landscape.

This is not to suggest that Americans do not take religion seriously. The U.S. Religious Landscape
Survey also shows that more than half of Americans say religion is very important in their lives,
attend religious services regularly and pray daily. Furthermore, a plurality of adults who are affiliated
with a religion want their religion to preserve its traditional beliefs and practices rather than
either adjust to new circumstances or adopt modern beliefs and practices. Moreover, significant
minorities across nearly all religious traditions see a conflict between being a devout person and
living in a modern society.

The Landscape Survey confirms the close link between Americans? religious affiliation, beliefs and
practices, on the one hand, and their social and political attitudes, on the other. Indeed, the survey
demonstrates that the social and political fault lines in American society run through, as well as
alongside, religious traditions. The relationship between religion and politics is particularly strong
with respect to political ideology and views on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality,
with the more religiously committed adherents across several religious traditions expressing
more conservative political views. On other issues included in the survey, such as environmental
protection, foreign affairs, and the proper size and role of government, differences based on
religion tend to be smaller.
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