Americans see truth in a range of faiths, massive study finds
Few would deny that America is a very religious nation, but a massive study shows that it is uniquely religious in a way that is very different from other nations. Though the United States has the highest rate of belief in God in the developed world (hovering around 94 percent), they are quite fluid about what that God might be. 'Religiousity' in the United States trumps any one particular faith.
In America, it is not important what you believe, but just that you believe in something. This is reflected in other surveys which have shown that atheists are the most distrusted minority in America, ahead of every religious or racial group.
The United States is a nation of believers: most Americans say they believe in God, they pray, and they attend worship services regularly; they also believe in angels and demons, in heaven and hell, and in miracles.
But they also say, contradicting the teachings of many faiths, that truth comes in many forms. Large majorities of Americans say that many religions - not just their own - can lead to eternal life, and that there is more than one way to interpret religious teachings, according to a massive new study of religion in America conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and released yesterday.
"Even though the country is highly religious . . . most Americans are, in fact, not dogmatic about their faith," said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum.
New Englanders are among the least likely to say they are religious, according to the study. Massachusetts lags behind the nation - often near the bottom of all states - in the percentage of its residents who say they are certain that God exists, that they believe the word of God is literally true, that religion is very important in their lives, or that they attend worship weekly or pray daily.