Americans apparently don’t know much about theology, according to a study released today (Sept. 28). Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true.
Six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — two-thirds say God accepts worship of all faiths.
Those are among the findings of a survey of American views on Christian theology from LifeWay Research, who conducted the study April 14-20.
Scott McConnell, executive director of the evangelical research firm, says most Americans still identify as Christians. But they seem to be confused about some of the details of their faith.
For example, he said, about two-thirds of Americans believe Jesus is God while half say Jesus is a being created by God. Those two beliefs don’t seem to match, he said.
“Contradictory and incompatible beliefs are okay for most people,” McConnell said.
The online survey on theology was sponsored by Orlando-based Ligonier Ministries. Researchers asked 47 questions on topics from prayer and the Bible to heaven and hell.
Among the findings:
Americans think God likes all religions.
Two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Twenty-four percent disagree. Twelve percent are not sure.
Americans of all ages hold this belief, from those 18 to 34 years old (62 percent) to those 50 and older (67 percent). More than half of African-Americans (69 percent), Hispanics (65 percent), whites (63 percent) and Asian-Americans (57 percent) agree.
The one holdout: Americans with evangelical beliefs (48 percent), who are less likely than Americans who don’t have evangelical beliefs (67 percent) to hold this view.
Evangelical believers say hell is for real. Other Americans aren’t so sure.
Eighty-four percent of those who hold evangelical beliefs say hell is a place of eternal judgment, where God sends all people who do not personally trust in Jesus Christ. Only 30 percent of Americans who don’t have evangelical beliefs hold that view.
Overall, fewer than half (40 percent) of Americans say those who don’t believe in Jesus will go to hell.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press