Thanks to Lutheran Kantor and Dan at Necessary Roughness for mining the data in that Pew Survey we blogged about, which gives some embarrassing data about Missouri Synod Lutherans. From Atheists That Believe in a God and Lutherans That Don’t:
Gene Veith blogs on the recent Pew Religion Survey (full report PDF):
My favorite fact of the study:
One out of five ATHEISTS believe in God or a universal spirit. And nearly half of all AGNOSTICS (defined as someone who does not know whether or not God exists) report believing in God or a universal spirit.
That’s worth a chuckle, but the Lutheran Kantor finds disturbing numbers:
The survey classified the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) to be an Evangelical denomination. Based on the survey results of the 588 LCMS respondents, the LCMS is very open minded and tolerant. So open minded and tolerant that 78% of the LCMS respondents believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life.” We beat the national average! That’s not something to be proud of.
Other statistics about the 588 surveyed:
Only 84% are absolutely certain there is a god; 12% are fairly certain.
9% seldom go to church; 2% never do.
Only 42% said the Bible should be taken literally.
28% believe there is one correct way to interpret scripture.
For all our efforts to divide the human populace between “churched” and “unchurched” for programmatic and spending purposes, this data shows that we cannot take the beliefs of the “churched” for granted.
You non-Lutheran readers may be sick of the Lutheran triumphalism sometimes evident on this blog, though I’ve also been criticized for airing the LCMS dirty laundry in my writings. I do think Lutheran theology gets it right–comprehending the best of every other Christian tradition–and is the quintessential EVANGELICAL theology, in which the Gospel of salvation through Christ on the Cross is central to every other article. If Lutherans would become Lutherans, maybe others would.