July 5, 2008

Study: Most Americans say many religions can lead to eternal life

Most Americans say they are absolutely sure about standards of right and wrong – and are just as sure that no one religion holds an exclusive franchise on the truth.

Overwhelming majorities of Americans say they believe in God (or a "universal spirit"). But substantial majorities from all major religious categories also say they believe their religion is not the only path to eternal life, and that there's not just one correct version of their faith.


But a willingness to accept diverse views could be found even in members of many faith traditions known for strictly defined religious truths: More than 60 percent of those who said they were Southern Baptists said many religions can be right about how to get to the hereafter. And about eight in 10 Catholics said there was more than one true interpretation of their faith.


As other surveys have indicated, the Pew study indicates that America has drifted slightly more secular over the decades, but overwhelming majorities continue to say they believe in God (92 percent), heaven (74 percent), hell (59 percent), and angels and demons active in the world (68 percent).

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