Pew just released a new survey that checks to see how we all feel about various religious groups.
Dated March 15, you can find their report here.
- The complete PDF report is here and runs to 25 pages, so there is a lot of nuance and detail to be found. To be clear, this is just the online version in a PDF.
- The actual questions they asked and the details of how they were answered can be found here
Pro Tip: If, for any survey, you can’t find such details, or you can’t work out exactly how they ran the survey, then you should be extremely skeptical regarding the “results”. Pew are wholly transparent about it all, and also have a good reputation.
In this specific case the data relates to a survey of 10,588 U.S. adults from Sept. 13-18, 2022. In other words, this is not a measure of public attitudes right now, but rather the prevailing attitudes roughly about a month prior to the 2022 midterm elections.
There are a few surprises here that are worth spotlighting, so let’s take a look.
Well ok, to be frank, this one is perhaps only going to be a surprise to the Evangelicals. The rest of us are not surprised, and could in fact see this one coming a mile off.
Overall 27% hold a very unfavourable view of Evangelicals, and 28% hold a favourable view.
How meaningful a measure is that?
Here is the issue, if you identify with a specific group then naturally you will hold a favourable view of that group. This means that the larger the group is the greater the skew in the numbers will be.
Pew have a go at dealing with that natural bias.
What happens to the numbers when they filtered out the Evangelicals themselves from that survey, and then look at what everybody else thinks of them?
This is what happens …
So basically when thinking about Evangelicals, almost one third of everybody else hates them, and only 18% like them.
Why is it like this?
Well gosh, I just can’t imagine why there is such a huge dislike for bigoted, anti-science, homophobic ignorant and hateful lunatics who seek to inflict their narrow intolerant views upon the rest of is, it’s simply a mystery why rapidly increasing numbers dislike them.
Close to one third have a deeply unfavourable view of Evangelicals, only 18% liked them.
That’s perhaps a cue for some Evangelicals to chime it with, “You are persecuting us“.
Sorry, nope, no persecution going on here. You are hated by so many, not because of your specific beliefs, but because of the public perception of the pain and trauma you inflict upon so many lives. If you actually practised the tolerance, forgiveness, and love promoted by Jesus, then it would be a very different story. You really did bring this upon yourselves.
It should work like this: “I believe specific things … and so I do or do not do specific things because of those beliefs” – That’s fine, knock yourself out and have fun. This is how it should be. Absolutely nobody will have a problem with this.
This however is what they do: “I believe specific things … and so I insist that you must do or not do specific things dictated by my beliefs” – That’s the problem right there, this is the line they have crossed.
As I said earlier, is anybody actually shocked by the discovery that they now reap a harvest of dislike from the seeds of intolerance and bigotry they have sown.
You would think they would appreciate it because that’s literally in the bible … “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” Gal 5:6
OK, so let’s flip the coin over and see how people now feel about those that are not religious
Overall it is 20% favourable and 24% unfavourable.
Play by the same rules, remove the Atheists, and see what everybody else thinks.
In fact they have a matrix that highlights what each religious grouping thinks of every other distinct group. Now this is fascinating and so here it is …
Check the above and this is what you can see …
- Evangelicals hate Atheists … and Atheists hate Evangelicals even more strongly (Calling them Satanic or Demon possessed will quite naturally tick people off).
- Mainstream Protestant and Catholics also don’t like Atheists …but nobody else appears to feel the same and are mostly positive.
Taking a wider look in that matrix above:
- The Mormons just love everybody else … but nobody loves them back (except some Catholics)
- Everybody Loves the Jewish community … and they in turn love Atheists, Mainstream Protestants and Catholics, but hate the Evangelicals rather strongly
- Nobody likes the Evangelicals … except the Mormons and a few Catholics.
The Dislike of Atheists is weird
Atheism is simply the group of people who, when faced with various religious claims, express profound disbelief. As I’ve mentioned above, this is generally because they have given it some thought and find no credible evidence for the various claims made.
Like every other demographic you will find Atheists who are decent honourable humans, and also people who are complete turds. You will also find right-wing and also left-wing Atheists.
Swap the word “Atheist” in that sentence above for any other group, and that remains true. For example, you will find Evangelicals who are decent honourable humans, and and people who are complete turds. You will also find right-wing and also left-wing Evangelicals.
People are Complicated – beware of labels
If I asked you to identify yourself, then what label would you use?
You could pick a religious label … Catholic, Evangelical, or the more generic term such as Christian or Muslim.
You could pick a political identify … Independent, Democrat, or Republican.
You could pick something that relates to what you do … Writer, IT Consultant, Plumber, Fitness Instructor, etc…
You could pick something you are deeply passionate about … Long Distance Runner, Stamp collector, Movie fan, etc…
Would any label you picked wholly and completely describe you?
If for example I said I was “Catholic”, then what does that tell you?
Does that mean I was raised Catholic, but don’t actually go to Mass. Perhaps it means I do attend, but even then it does not mean that I actually believe it all. I may simply accompany a spouse or parent and use the term as a cultural label and not a statement of belief. If I did indeed believe, then does it tell you what I believe? For example, many Catholics use protection when having sex, yet the official position of the Church is to condemn that as a sin.
If I said I was Evangelical, what does that actually mean? Many who now use the term “evangelical” don’t actually attend any church at all … ever.
My point is obvious. Such terms can be deeply misleading.
The Pew poll records public feelings regarding such identities in very simplistic terms, but in reality people are far more complicated and really can’t be boxed into just one label.
One Last Thought
If you are hating “them”, then you may in fact be simply hating a simplistic illusion.
I’ve said things above regarding “evangelicals”. If indeed you use the term to identify yourself then I promise to not hate you for simply using that label. If you then proceed to dispense hatred towards gay people, endorse Trump as the chosen one of God, or promote whacky conspiracy claims, well that’s game over because you have then conformed to what is now the prevailing public perception of the label.