a reply to: BO XIAN
Dear BO XIAN,
Good thread, if it stays within the bounds of reasonable discussion. I'm glad you presented those facts, they're interesting. Their value and
importance will come down to what meaning is ascribed to those facts. They're are lots of possible meanings, and while I don't have "the"
meaning, perhaps I can make a few observations.
The first question asked is "We'd like to get your feelings toward a number of groups . . ." That's a problem for me right off. Are they asking
about the individuals who hold a particular belief, or are they talking about the group and it's beliefs. I always feel warmer to any individual
than I do to any organization. I wouldn't know what they are asking for.
If they're asking "How do I feel towards individuals holding such and such a belief," I would have to say, 'Some are good, some are bad in any
religion. I like people so I'll give everybody an 80." If they were to ask "What do you think about this set of religious beliefs, known as
Atheism, Evangelicalism, or anything else," I'd be all over the map, some very high, some very low.
I believe that the people in this thread, and in the press, are going to come to differing opinions based on which approach they take. A serious
discussion is going to be tricky if we don't realize that problem.
The religions that are based on Judeo-Christian beliefs are well accepted by Americans.
The exotic ones, Buddhism, etc. are properly neutral because they are not part of our history and few people know much about them. Neutral seems
equivalent to "no opinion" here.
The ones actually opposed to the Biblical view, Islam and Atheism, have received some negative press. Their basic beliefs don't fit well with
American beliefs. I suspect that in answering these questions, people rated them higher than they would have normally, in part because they don't
want to see themselves as bigots.
Evangelicals can be our own worst critics. So, I'm not too surprised we rate ourselves lower than RC's rate themselves.
I'm not sure
the numbers support that. Evangelicals rate themselves 79% and Catholics rate themselves at 80% ? For this survey, that's statistically the same
Where there is a statistical difference is in how non-Evangelicals rate Evangelicals, compared to how non-Catholics rate Catholics. Catholics at 58%,
Evangelicals at 52%.
RC's are a very VERY . . . intensely convinced [?indoctrinated?] group about their own RIGHT-NESS, 'righteousness.' And membership is
EQUATED with making Heaven vs not, if one is 'outside the fold.' So, I'd expect them to rate themselves highly. Am almost surprised it wasn't
If true, then how to account for the fact that Evangelicals rated themselves as highly as Catholics? "Intensely indoctrinated,"
And as has been pointed out, the Church sees the possibility of Heaven available even for those who have never heard of Jesus. Further, going to
church every week is not a guarantee of getting to Heaven.
And, the non-Evangelicals certainly have a huge percentage of folks who are disdainful to ragingly hostile toward Evangelicals--we see that
Welcome to the club, we've saved a space for you, right next to Judaism.
It's always a joy to speak (?) with you, my thanks for putting up this thread. It can be very valuable.