Tuesday, June 24, 2008


the u.s. religious landscape survey "finds broad tolerance for other faiths", or so says the headline. but what the survey really found was that most americans think that religions other than their own can "lead to eternal life" or "salvation", or can "bring a personal relationship with god." that's not "tolerance" that's ecumenicalism.

personally, i think people can believe whatever they want to believe about religious issues. it really doesn't bother me if different people have radically different views about god or the afterlife or whatever. i hang around people in a variety of religious traditions, some of them are quite religious and i've never had any problem forming friendships with them. i think that makes me quite tolerant.

but by the criteria set by the above article, i'm not. i don't believe any religion "leads to eternal life" or "salvation" because i don't believe in either eternal life or salvation. i don't think any religion brings any personal relationship with god, because i don't believe there is a god. i haven't read the study itself, but it's misleading to report that the survey measures general religious tolerance when it asks questions that only make sense in the context of religious belief.