That Pew Religious Landscape study we blogged about last month now has denominational breakdowns. This includes information about demographics, political beliefs, religious beliefs, and moral beliefs.
Members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (categorized under “evangelical,” “Lutheran family”) are not as conservative as their church is (though the same could be said of other “conservative” church bodies).
After the jump, some surprises that pastors need to know about.
55% believe “right or wrong depends on the situation,” with 44% believing “there are clear standards for what is right and wrong.”
46% believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 51% saying it should be illegal in all or most cases.56% believe homosexuality “should be accepted,” with 37% saying it “should be discouraged.”
45% favor same-sex marriage; 48% don’t.
45% reject evolution; 32% believe in theistic evolution; 18% believe in evolution due to natural processes.
98% believe in God and 95% say that religion is important to their lives, and church attendance is pretty strong at 85%.
Some of the theological questions are ambiguous in their phrasing and the responses. (For example, 40% say the Bible is the Word of God “should be taken literally” and 41% say “not everything taken literally”–but that could include figures of speech and parables. The question should ask about the Bible’s authority and whether or not it is inerrant in what it affirms.) But still, this data is cause for concern.
The problem is not just with members of the LCMS. The data tracks pretty well with “evangelicals” and is much more conservative than, say, Catholics.
Do you see anything positive in the findings? What might pastors do with this information?