Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two-Thirds of Evangelicals Doubt Jesus' Words Regarding Salvation Thru Him Alone

More on the Newsweek article about Americans finding their own way with regard to spiritual matters. The study attached to the article claims that Two-Thirds of Evangelicals Doubt Jesus' Words Regarding Salvation Thru Him Alone.

Really? Hmm ...

Having conducted a fair number of research polls through my career, I find the survey question incredibly amateurish.

The question in the poll read: "Can a good person who isn't of your religious faith go to heaven or attain salvation, or not?"

According to the poll results of more than 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older, 68 percent of evangelical Christians believe "good" people of other faiths can also go to heaven. Nationally, 79 percent of those surveyed said the same thing, with an "astounding" 91 percent agreement among Catholics, notes Beliefnet. Beliefnet spokesman Steven Waldman calls the results "pretty amazing."

Amazing indeed. First, what does "good person" mean? This certainly doesn't say anything about attaining salvation through or apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, what does "religious faith" mean? Respondents could have thought this meant any number of things. Sure, someone from another religious faith can attain salvation, providing they repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ. For all we know, the Catholic respondents could have thought they were answering about Protestants and vice versa.

Compare this to how the Barna organization puts their questions together. (See the "Godless Hollywood" item below.) They leave no doubt.

This is not to say that all Christians understand that salvation is through Christ alone or that the American Christian church is doing a good job of teaching the fundamentals, but to say that a majority of evangelicals deny the uniqueness of Jesus Christ in salvation from that flimsy question is a bit of a stretch.