How accurate is the 2008 Pew poll on religion?

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released their poll on “Religion in America” last week and it has been a major topic in the secular and religious world since its release.  The statistics reveal that a majority of religious people in America are less dogmatic than previously thought.  Here are some of the highlights of the statistics where 35,556 American adults were polled (in case you haven’t seen them yet):

  • 70% of Americans with religious affiliations believe their religion is not the only way to eternal life.
  • 68% of religious Americans believe there are several ways to interpret the truths in their religious teachings.
  • 57% of evangelical churchgoers think there is more than one way to eternal life.
  • 92% of Americans believe in God.
  • 21% of atheists believe in God or a “universal spirit.”
  • 83% of “mainline” Protestants believe there are many roads to God.
  • 59% of members of historic black congregations believe there are many roads to God.
  • 79% of Roman Catholics believe there are many roads to God.
  • 82% of Jews believe there are many roads to God.
  • 56% of Muslims believe there are many roads to God.
  • 74% of Americans believe in life after death.


Members of the liberal press were so ecstatic about reporting these results because in their eyes, this means the brand of strict Christianity that proclaims Jesus is the only way to God is losing its foothold in American society.  I watched the ABC Evening News when the report came out and the bias against Christianity was obvious in how it was reported.  There was such excitement in George Stephanopoulos’ voice when he ran down the stats revealing that most Christians thought Jesus was not the only way to God.  Then his voice dropped down to a “shame on you” tone of voice when he reported that there were still a good number of Christians who still hold to the doctrine that Jesus is the only way to God. 

But I personally question how this poll was done.  I took a look at Pew’s survey methodology at this link to see who was polled and how the poll was conducted.  A total of 429,726 phone calls were made for this poll.  Ultimately, only 35,556 people ended up taking the poll for various reasons such as no one answering at the number dialed or people who answered that were not interested in being polled.  The response rate for those who were contacted was a measly 24%.

So I have to ask myself several questions that never were asked in the news reports that I saw, and here are my questions:

  • Is 35,556 an accurate number of people to make such broad conclusions about Americans’ opinions on religion?
  • If only 24% of people contacted were polled, can we really take the results of this poll seriously?
  • How many people from each state were contacted?  Results can be skewed depending on what part of the country is polled.  For instance, if a large number from the West Coast and New England were polled, then it is no surprise that such a large percentage don’t believe that Jesus is the only way, since these regions are very liberal.


My third question above is my main concern and I searched Pew’s website about this poll to find the state-by-state data, but it wasn’t there.  It seems to me that they would make such data easy to find if they wanted the public to know as much as possible on how their survey was done.  This leads me to wonder if they’re hiding something.  Could it be that there is an ulterior motive for their poll, such as an attempt to pressure those of us who hold fast to the truth that Jesus is the only way to salvation and who believe in the 100% accuracy of the scriptures to join the “mainstream” way of thinking?

But let me break down the math of the poll for a minute.  If the U.S. population is roughly 300 million people and approximately 24.6% of them are under 18, then 75.4% of that 300 million are adults.  That means the U.S. adult population is about 226,200,000.  If 35,556 adults were polled, then less than 1% of our population were polled.  In my opinion, that’s somewhat pathetic to base the beliefs of over 200 million people on less than 1% of our population. 

If the Pew poll is accurate, I believe it verifies that America is really not a “Christian” nation.  We are merely a country that has a significant number of Christians in it.  It also shows how deceived “religious” people can be.  If the Pew poll is inaccurate, my opinion is that it is another attempt to try to sway people’s minds toward a one-world religion, which is a reflection of an antichrist spirit, to prepare people for the coming of the Antichrist.

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?  Luke 18:8

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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