Monday, June 23, 2008

Comparing across American religions   posted by Razib @ 6/23/2008 01:44:00 PM

The Pew US Religious Landscape Survey has come out with its second week of survey results, now focusing in more detail on the beliefs of various groups. Nice way to compare across groups. I've collected and reformatted a selection of responses and their frequencies for four groups, Evangelicals (excluding Historically Black Churches), Mainline Protestants, Catholics and Muslims. I havd argued before that the median religious beliefs of American Muslims are closer to Evangelical Christians than to the religious as a whole. Therefore, one has to be careful when comparing "moderate Christians" to "moderate Muslims," since the former is likely to have far more liberal religious and social beliefs than the latter, though they might be appropriately termed so in the spectrum of their tradition. The results seem to suggest that I was mostly right; though American Muslims are somewhat less conservative than Evangelicals. Interestingly, note that Roman Catholics and Mainline Protestants are hard to distinguish.

(Caution: don't read that much into the percentages on the margins. 6% of atheists and 14% of agnostics believe in a Personal God according to the survey! Also, readers will probably be interested in the detailed tables which breakdown by denominations)

Evangelical Muslim Catholic Mainline Protestant
Abortion legal in all cases 9 13 16 20
Homosexuality should be accepted by society 26 27 58 56
Receives answers to prayer once a week 29 31 15 14
Attend religion service more than once a week 30 17 9 8
Own religion is one true faith leading to eternal life 36 33 16 12
Only one true way to interpret religion 41 33 19 14
Gov. should do more to protect morality 50 59 43 33
Scripture literally true word of god 59 50 23 22
Frequency of prayer 78 71 58 53
Religion very important 79 72 56 52
Belief in God: absolutely certain 90 82 72 73