We’re Number One!

According to a new Pew survey of Evangelical Christian leaders, the biggest threat to Evangelical Christianity is… us!

Should I break out the party hats?

Funny, though. I would’ve said the biggest threat to Evangelical Christianity is their stubbornness when it comes to issues of homosexuality, women’s rights, and science education. While the rest of the country gets more enlightened, they insist on staying in the dark.

There’s hope that younger Christians see through some of the bullshit, but I rarely hear about Christian youth groups fighting for same-sex marriage, against Intelligent Design/Creationism, and for the right of women to have abortions. They have an obligation to do those things because it’s their religion that remains the biggest obstacle in each area. If they remain silent, or take a wishy-washy stance that doesn’t challenge their church’s teachings, they’re no better than the so-called “leaders.”

A few other notes:

  • Only 3% of the “leaders” accept evolution as a natural process. It’s scary how badly these people don’t want to accept reality.
  • More than half of them (52%) believe that Jesus might return during their lifetime. (The survey doesn’t note this, but I’ll bet many of these same people railed against Harold Camping, because he offered a specific date.)
  • More than half of those polled believe “must always obey her husband.” Always. That means when the husband is wrong, the wife can’t even call him out on it. She must obey. I don’t know how any woman could stand that.

The rest of the results are here. Read through it and prepare to be horrified.

  • JimG

    Hemant, you say you would have thought the biggest threat was evangelical stubbornness on social issues and education, but I don’t think there’s a difference. I rather suspect that to evangelical leaders, “secularism” means “being tolerant, reasonable and fair” – and that’s what they’re against.

  • Heidi

    Remember, it’s what they think the biggest threat is. Of course they aren’t going to say they are endangering themselves with their draconian policies.

    I’m happy that we get to take credit, though.

  • http://parsleyvictorious.blogspot.com Parsley Victorious

    “I don’t know how any woman could stand that.”

    Honestly, I don’t know how any -man- could stand that. I want a partner, not a sycophant.

  • Icaarus

    Parley Victorious,

    You beat me to the punch. I choose relationships more on “calls me on my bullshit and reminds me to be more than a computer” than looks or education, or lifestyle, or for that matter most other factors.

    So to the odd girl (or guy) who thinks they have to let their partner be right that manages to read this post (I realize I am mostly preaching to the choir so to speak) Find your voice and use your mind, that way the person you find will want you and not a shell you pretend to be.

  • rdbhcx

    I rarely hear about Christian youth groups fighting for same-sex marriage, against Intelligent Design/Creationism, and for the right of women to have abortions. They have an obligation to do those things because it’s their religion that remains the biggest obstacle in each area.

    When I was in a youth group, I would have never fought for those. It ‘s a two part problem:
    1. You’re insulated from interacting with people of another opinion/experience.
    2. Religion will always put blinders on.

    However, there’s always the hope that once young Christians are out from under the parents’ watchful eyes, they’ll see the world for themselves.

  • http://chronosynclasticinfundibulum.wordpress.com/ Salo

    PZ commented about this study and brought up an interesting point. That 3% of evangelicals who believe in evolution? 3% is within the margin of error, and is the same percentage as those who said that it is not necessary to follow the teachings of Jesus in their lives.

  • tlawren

    A majority also believe the rapture will probably occur in their lifetime too. With only 5% of respondents under the age of 30, one can conclude that they believe the rapture will probably occur sometime in the next 35-40 years. In light of their political activism, I find that result scary!

  • bible belt atheist

    They’re losing the battle over gay rights,and when they lose that battle, guess who their new bogeyman will be?

  • http://notanygods.blogspot.com/ Miss Coconut

    More than half of those polled believe “must always obey her husband.” Always. That means when the husband is wrong, the wife can’t even call him out on it. She must obey. I don’t know how any woman could stand that.

    They say they believe it, but they hardly do it. — But it’s okay, Jesus will forgive them. They’re sinners, after all. What do you expect? “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    Me? Like tartarus I would! I don’t and I won’t, and I would hate it if the positions were reversed and I had a guy like that. Uh, no thanks.

  • Meyekael

    So they get rid of secularism,then it’ll be Islam or Judaism or Buddhdism or any other non-Christian belief system.

    Christianity has become neither kinder nor gentler – Its just less powerful. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  • Carlie

    I’m surprised the top answer for the biggest threat wasn’t “reality”.

  • Icaarus

    I find it odd that they are more worried about theological division between the different churches then church leaders committing sexual immoral acts.

  • Evan

    Only 3% of the “leaders” accept evolution as a natural process. It’s scary how badly these people don’t want to accept reality.

    You are being pretty seriously misleading here: an additional 41% believe that “Evolution has occurred, guided by God”; the 3% is for “Evolution has occurred solely by natural processes.” I’m actually surprised by how high the 3% number is–it seems like those Evangelical leaders are actually admitting that certain parts of Genesis are not even not-so-literally true.

    Unfortunately, the question isn’t well written, so there’s really no way to tell what portion of this 41% basically believe in evolution by natural selection (with some occasional nudges to the dice by God along the way so that humans would evolve in His image), and what portion believe, say, that evolution by natural selection definitely does lead to the evolution of e.g. antibiotic-resistant bacteria but that certain irreducibly complex structures in “higher” organisms could not have evolved by natural selection without the aid of an intelligent designer.

    (Amusingly, 50% believe that “the Bible should be read literally, word of word”, but only 47% answered “Humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time” to this question.)

  • Meghan

    Secularism is a bigger threat, in their eyes, than their leaders raping their children? Wow. I find this horrifying.

  • Rabid

    #3 “Sex and violence in popular culture”

    Ya know, the bible is full of both. And I’m pretty sure it can be counted as “popular” culture.

    Oops!

  • http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/ Timothy Brannan

    We rank even higher than Islam.

    See I find all this odd, all the secular people I know and read all seem like such nice, intelligent people.
    But yet we are rated higher than pretty much everyone else they claim to really, really hate.
    Wow.

  • http://cafephilos.wordpress.com/ Paul Sunstone

    I don’t much care for the fact so few of the Evangelicals thought Catholicism was their enemy. I’d rather they didn’t unite with the Catholics on issues like birth control, and so forth.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I can’t believe how far down the list “Evangelican leaders violating sexual morals” is placed.

  • Trace

    I am surprised they list us as a religion. I don’t understand the aversion to alcohol either. What about the transmutation of water into wine?

  • gcwang

    What a big surprise that the top 4 are coming from outside evangelical Christianity, ahead of the problems from within.

    Pass the blame, find a scapegoat, play the victim. That’s their M.O.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I’m actually shocked that 30% of evangelical leaders say they have a favorable opinion of atheists! It would have expected it to be much lower than that.

    I’m disturbed by many of these results, but particularly by the fact that a majority claim to have directly experienced or witnessed supernatural events. Divine healing: 76%, Direct revelation from God: 61%, Exorcism: 57%. That’s some seriously scary stuff. What world are these people living in? Are they hallucinating? I just don’t understand what’s going on in their minds. Do they hear voices and have visions? Do they actually see supernatural entities flying around? If so, what’s the difference between that and mental illness?

  • http://www.secularplanet.org Secular Planet

    Did you see that fully 49% of Evangelical leaders say that you can be good without God?!?

    I’m amazed at that statistic. Amazed. And pleased!

  • http://www.patrickoden.com Patrick Oden

    We’re #1 in a lot of categories. E.g., Who’s most likely to stay out of prison? Atheists.

    But this is a good one, too.

  • http://www.cashforgoldorangecounty.com Chonna – Sell Gold

    HA! What an interesting study! “Only 3% of the “leaders” accept evolution as a natural process.” God, I feel like our world is moving backwards sometimes as far as intelligence goes! Ignorance always seems to prevail.. All I can do is teach my own household not to follow in idiots footsteps!

  • Bryan Johnson

    Anna said:

    I’m disturbed by many of these results, but particularly by the fact that a majority claim to have directly experienced or witnessed supernatural events. Divine healing: 76%, Direct revelation from God: 61%, Exorcism: 57%.

    Yeah, I was kind of amazed at these numbers too, but I wonder how much of these results were influenced by the participants from the “Global South” (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia). Many of these “miracles,” particularly exorcism, are more prevalent in third world countries whose population still puts a lot of stock in superstition; sadly, a majority of third-world countries seem to be in the “Global South” region.

    That said, the American South certainly has its share of howlin’ faith healers.

  • Todd

    I find it interesting that 67% found “too much emphasis on consumerism and material goods” to be a “major threat” yet only 30% found “evangelical leaders living a lavish lifestyle” to be a “major threat”. It basically says that 37% of the evangelical leaders polled believe it is alright to to put an emphasis on material goods as long as you are an Evengelical leader. Hypocrites.

  • John

    Look at the full survey the number is 92% in the United States. Not only that, but the Christian evangelicals in the United States are the most pessimistic about Christianity in their country and feel the most threatened by secularism in the world.

  • John

    Look at what it says on this page:
    http://pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/Christian/Evangelical_Protestant_Churches/Global%20Survey%20of%20Evan.%20Prot.%20Leaders.pdf

    This is from the full report:

    “Perceptions of the threat from secularism are high both in the Global North and in the Global South, though they are higher in the North (86%) than in the South (59%). Nine-in-ten leaders (90%) from North America (including 92% from the United States) say the influence of secularism is a major threat; nearly as many leaders from Europe agree (82%). Concern about secularism is lowest in the Middle East and North Africa, where slightly more than a third view it as a major threat (37%).”

  • Alan

    I think the biggest threat to religion is reason and evidence. :-)

  • Upaut

    More than half of those polled believe “must always obey her husband.” Always. That means when the husband is wrong, the wife can’t even call him out on it. She must obey. I don’t know how any woman could stand that.

    Well, their kink may not be your kink, but that’s all right. We all have certain needs, and one couples happy life may be an oddity to another.

    I mean really, should the secular people have all the BDSM fun?

    Some wear a collar, some wear a cross, same thing really.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    More than half of those polled believe “must always obey her husband.” Always. That means when the husband is wrong, the wife can’t even call him out on it. She must obey. I don’t know how any woman could stand that.

    That’s the kind of shit that leads right to DV.

  • Charles Black

    It must be the persecution complex at work. Let them destroy themselves, Evangelical Christians are their own worst enemy.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I wonder if they even know what secularism is?

  • Mihangel apYrs

    damn!!!! I thought it was the “homosexual agenda” that was the greatest threat!

    We need to up our game homo-terrorists!

  • david

    The poll states that 49% think that it is not necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, that’s quite surprising.

  • Andrew

    But the actual wording says “the influence of secularism”, not “the influence of atheism”. To me those are not the same thing, especially when it comes to our government and legal system (which, by the way, are supposed to be secular).


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