Americans Very Tolerant of Religious Differences

Posted June 24, 2008 at 11:06am

Despite public perception of great religious divides in the U.S., most Americans (70 percent) think that “many religions lead to eternal life” and 68 percent say that there are many ways to interpret their own religion. These findings came from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s “U.S. Religious Landscape” survey released today.

The study authors credit a diversity of religious affiliations for the “lack of dogmatism” in American religion. For example, while 92 percent believe in God or a universal spirit,
25 percent say God is an “impersonal force,” and don’t feel as if they have a personal relationship with God.

Not surprisingly, the study found that: “people who regularly attend worship services and hold traditional religious views are much more likely to hold conservative political views while those who are less connected to religious institutions and more secular in their outlook are more likely to hold liberal political views.” This is especially true on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

This is Pew’s second Religious Landscape survey. For the overall survey, the margin of error was less than one point: +/- .6 percent.