Study finds faithful can't agree on Bible, government's role, social responsibility
Christians who are engaged in witnessing to the lost American culture are well aware of these study findings, but the vast majority of Americans are being manipulated by anti-christian forces, and so such a study could enlighten Americans.
-- From "Why can't Christians unite to change America's ways?" by Drew Zahn © 2009 WorldNetDaily 9/27/09
According to a new study, the answer is that [self-identified] Christians don't share a common worldview, their morals and values sprayed across the spectrum by differing views in a handful of key areas.
The 2009 Religious Activists Surveys (click to download .PDF) – conducted by Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron in partnership with Public Religion Research – focused on religious activists working on both "conservative" and "progressive" causes, and found that while the majority of both types called themselves Christian, they are driven apart by disagreements over social responsibility, biblical authority and the role of government.
The statistics reflect that Christians who differ in defining these key areas also differ in political and moral convictions.
In the past, said E.J. Dionne, one of the speakers chosen to announce the study, "Social and theological differences between denominations and faith traditions mattered a great deal. Those old divisions have largely passed away. Now conservative Catholics, Protestants and Jews tend to ally together against more liberal Catholics, Protestants and Jews."
The study data included a combined 3,000 survey responses from political activists associated both with the religious left – working for organizations like the Interfaith Alliance and Sojourners – and the religious right – from groups like Concerned Women for America and the National Right to Life Committee.
55 percent of the conservative activists identified themselves as Evangelical Protestants, while only 10 percent of the progressives claimed the same label.
Conversely, among the progressives, 44 percent called themselves mainline Protestant, while only 9 percent of conservatives identified themselves as such.
Roman Catholics were more evenly split, composing 35 percent of conservative activists and 17 percent of progressives.
. . . when asked about the most important issues among a set of eight choices, conservative activists pegged as priorities abortion (83 percent) and same-sex marriage (65 percent). Fewer than 10 percent of their progressive counterparts, however, identified those issues as "most important," choosing instead to focus on poverty (74 percent), health care (67 percent) and the environment (56 percent).
. . . 95 percent of the conservative religious activists responded that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while 80 percent of the progressives answered that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
Similarly, only 13 percent of conservative activists supported additional environmental protection at the cost of raised prices or lost jobs, while 87 percent of progressive activists would rather suffer the price in exchange for increased environmental protections.
The disparity between the two groups was also reflected on the issues of same-sex marriage (82 percent of conservatives opposed, 59 percent of progressives in favor), government health care, the Iraq war, the use of extreme interrogation techniques and so on.
And despite being divided in their voting patterns (93 percent of progressives voted for Obama in 2008, while 90 percent of conservatives report voting for McCain), the majority of both groups affirmed that faith was "an important factor" in their voting decision.
Among conservative activists, 48 percent stated they believe the Bible to be the "literal Word of God" and another 36 percent accepted the same label without the word "literal" – a total of 84 percent affirming the Good Book as the Word of God.
Among progressives, however, only 22 percent of respondents combined to call the Bible the "Word of God." Instead, 36 percent answered that the Bible merely "contains" the Word of God, and 21 percent called the Bible simply "one important source of wisdom."
Among conservative religious activists, 92 percent agreed the main cause of America's problems is moral decay, while only about 1-in-4 progressives agreed and nearly half disagreed.
Instead, 47 percent of progressives look to poverty and discrimination as the primary causes of America's troubles, while only 4 percent of conservatives agree.
When presented with the idea, "If enough people were brought to Christ, social ills would take care of themselves," 67 percent of the conservative activists agreed, and 15 percent disagreed. Among progressives, only 13 percent agreed, while 61 percent disagreed.
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