Friday, September 15, 2006

Most & Least Favorable Religions

A Gallup Poll released 7 September 2006 asked respondents how they felt about ten different religious groups, ranging from Fundamentalist Christians to Atheists. By every measure, Jews drew the most favorable reaction, with the highest positive rating (58%) and the lowest negative rating (only 4%). By contrast, Americans expressed decidedly mixed feelings about Mormons (with a net negative rating, 29% to 28%) and Muslims (30% to 26%). The least popular religious groups in the survey proved to be Atheists (an overwhelmingly negative 44% to 15% rating) and, most especially, Scientologists (a stunning 53% negative, to just 11% positive).

Jews are all over the place on political issues. Everyone -- liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat -- can claim (with some justification) that Judaism agrees with his or her point of view. The Jewish community, small as it is, remains bitterly divided on a host of political and religious issues. On the other hand, Mormons, Muslims, Fundamentalist Christians and Scientologists are more uniform. You pretty much know what you are getting with each -- you either can relate to them or you don't.

Jews offer no threat to other religions. It is downright tough to become a Jew and they are not actively seeking new members through the conversion process. Mormons, Muslims, Fundamentalist Christians and Scientologists are active proselytizers. Many find this bothersome.

If the interviewees are Mormons, Muslims, Fundamentalist Christians and Scientologists, they probably voted against one another. If they were not part of these groups, I'd guess they either were of those religions who are diminishing in popularity (losing membership) or secularists (which is a form of religion but their deity is materialism, the environment, the NFL or some other cause).

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