Nine of 10 Americans own at least one Bible and eight of 10 call themselves Christians, but their smorgasbord of religious beliefs appear to contradict that second statistic. Examining 13 different beliefs, the Barna Research Group's (BRG) latest survey found that a large percentage of Protestants or Catholics have adopted beliefs that conflict with the teachings of the Bible and their churches.
Released last week, the poll of 630 adults discovered that most of them reject the notions of original sin, the existence of Satan and salvation by God's grace alone. The report also found that 80 percent of Catholics believe that "praying to deceased saints can have a positive effect in a person's life."
Surprisingly, 41 percent of Protestants believe in praying to dead saints, too -- a notion dismissed by most evangelical churches. Thirty-five percent of Protestants surveyed also said that it is "possible to communicate with others after they die." And in yet another break from biblical teaching, the study found that 44 percent contend that "the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths."
"Americans still revere the Bible and like to think of themselves as Bible-believing people, but the evidence suggests otherwise," said BRG president George Barna, who was not surprised by the findings on Americans' pluralistic beliefs. "Christians have increasingly been adopting spiritual views that come from... other sources."