Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heaven just ain't what it used to be

A recent Pew poll on religious beliefs finds that "A majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life. Indeed, among Christians who believe many religions can lead to eternal life, 80% name at least one non-Christian faith that can do so."

This is great news for anyone who desires a more secular society because it means that, if the survey results are accurate, religion is weakening as a cultural force. Clearly anyone who actually knows anything about the Bible or the Koran knows that these religions are anything but conciliatory or pluralistic; on the contrary, they are exclusive and vindictive, promising damnation and misery for anyone who fails to follow every step of the way. The exciting thing is that Americans no longer know or care. As you might expect, the more interested parties, churches and ministers and those who devote their lives to religious study have been questioning the study's results. Maybe they'll preach against this slack attitude toward heaven and hell. Maybe they'll tell their congregations that Jesus is the only way and that their friends and neighbors are going to hell, no matter how nice they are.

But the cat is out of the bag. America is apparently trending toward a more tolerant and less aggressive religion, which translates into a more tolerant and less religious society. Let's see where this takes us!

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