Most American pastors: Islam is ‘dangerous’
    December 16 2009 by Baptist Press

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two-thirds of Protestant pastors believe Islam is a dangerous religion, according to survey results released by LifeWay Research in December. The survey, however, did not explore the issues behind their concern.

    While opinions vary widely based on factors such as denominational affiliation and political ideology, the survey of more than 1,000 Protestant pastors found 45 percent strongly agree with the statement “I believe Islam is a dangerous religion,” and 21 percent agree somewhat.

    Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, said American Protestant pastors’ agreement that Islam is dangerous could speak to various issues, however, “in one sense, Protestant pastors are a competing religion, so we should not be completely surprised by their concerns about Islam.”

    Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, said LifeWay Research decided to ask the question after European headlines used the phrase “dangerous religion” to describe results drawn from a 2008 study across 21 European countries that found an “overwhelming majority” of people believe immigration from predominantly Muslim countries poses a threat to Europeans’ traditional way of life.

    “It appears that Protestant pastors in America are overwhelmingly willing to use that phrase and cite Islam as a ‘dangerous religion,’” McConnell said.

    Additionally, a study by the Pew Research Center found that 38 percent of all Americans say Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions. But studies also indicate a need for interaction. For example, data from the Gallup Muslim-West Dialogue Index shows that when given the option of labeling greater interaction between Muslim and Western worlds a threat or a benefit, 70 percent of Americans call it a benefit. 

    “It’s important to note,” Stetzer said, “our survey asked whether pastors viewed Islam as ‘dangerous,’ but that does not necessarily mean ‘violent.’ ‘Dangerous’ can be defined in a variety of ways, including from the perspective of spiritual influence. Regardless of the definition, the numbers tell us that Protestant pastors are concerned.”

    The LifeWay Research study found six statistically significant differences in the belief about Islam statement among pastors:
    • Mainline denomination pastors are less likely than evangelicals to say Islam is “a dangerous religion.” While 77 percent of evangelical pastors either somewhat or strongly agree Islam is dangerous, only 44 percent of mainline pastors feel the same way, and 38 percent strongly disagree.
    • More educated pastors are less likely to agree than those with less education. While 64 percent of pastors with a bachelor’s degree or less strongly agree Islam is dangerous, only 37 percent with a master’s degree or more feel the same way, and 25 percent of those strongly disagree.
    • The majority of pastors affiliated with the Democratic Party are more likely to strongly disagree than Republicans or Independents. While 61 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Independents strongly agree Islam is dangerous, only 16 percent of Democrats feel the same way, and 52 percent of Democrats strongly disagree.
    • Older pastors are more likely to strongly agree than any other age group. While overall agreement differs little by age, 58 percent of pastors age 65 and older strongly agree about the danger of Islam, contrasted with 42 percent of pastors ages 50-64, and 44 percent of pastors younger than 50.
    • Rural and smaller city pastors are more likely to agree than pastors in large cities and suburbs. A full 51 percent of rural pastors and 47 percent of small-city pastors agree that Islam is dangerous, while 37 percent of suburban pastors and 39 percent of large-city pastors feel the same way.
    • Politically conservative pastors stood in starkest contrast with politically moderate and liberal pastors. Among very conservative pastors, 78 percent strongly agree about the danger of Islam and 55 percent of conservative pastors feel the same way, contrasted with 69 percent of liberal or very liberal pastors and 38 percent of moderates who strongly disagree.
    The Pew study, conducted in August, asked more than 2,000 adults in the United States whether Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other faiths. While 38 percent said yes, views on the subject have fluctuated in recent years. Similar Pew studies found 25 percent answered yes in 2002, 36 percent in 2005 and 45 percent in 2007.

    The Gallup study was commissioned for the World Economic Forum, and released as “Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue.”          
    12/16/2009 8:47:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 5 comments




Comments
Dr. James Willingham
Judgment is a messy business, but sometimes believers have to render their assessments and get in the muck of life. Some of the "theological sophisticated Germans" got involved like Bonhoeffer and tried to take Hitler out with assassination, and they paid with their lives. Not all are blinded by an educational system that intimidates scholars who might take adverse positions vis-a-vis paradigms suppoedly not open to debate scientifically. As to the baby bashing thing, my agnostic professor in intellectual history use to say, "What's a few babies with their heads bashed in? What I hate is that Jesus is with his doctrine of Hell." I would twit him, "O ___, your just a dishonest atheist." Knowing I had been an atheist, he would laugh. Having been a total skeptic of the Bible and having found out that its testimony that Jesus stands at the door knocking is literally true, I am willing to accept the Bible's statement that God ordered all of the inhabitants of a city put to death (including the infants)as He has the right to say when one's life ends (and besides I believe with cause from that Book that those infant were in Paradise a second after they died). I might not be able to justify all that the Bible says, in fact, I can't, but I am willing for God to aswer if He wishes too. However, I know this: My arguments against there being a god vanished out of my mind the moment I saw Jesus in a vision/hallucination before me with His hand raised like He was knocking at a door. Interestingly enough, Job never put a single one of his questions to the Lord after the Lord spoke to Him. I get a kick out of the atheists speaking of the meglomaniac god of the Bible. Well, when He showed up, I was utterly overwhelmed by His very Being. Like it says in Zeph.2:11 He shows Himself awesome. I now think the skepticism I once exercised toward the Bible and that which I have found in the schools to be pathetic putridity, a waste of time and effort of lazy, slothful thinkers or, rather, of people who really refuse to think. Dawkins and Hitchens, with others like Tom Paine and Voltaire (altho the latter wasn't quite as bad as he is pictured), who treat the Bible with captious and contemptuous criticisms of careless and cruel considerations like the cacophony of clamorous curs, suffer from a breakdown in their reasoning processes. It is a sad commentary on the present state of affairs in education world-wide that such folks not only receive a hearing but actually have a platform to disseminate their silly putty ideas and a public that takes such drivel seriously.
12/22/2009 8:16:55 PM

Gene Scarborough
Too much religion is just as dangerous as too little!
12/19/2009 10:34:32 AM

Thomas Kiker
Of course Islam is dangerous, just like any other false religion. Of course I support a Muslim's freedom to practice his religion, I just pray for his salvation in Christ Jesus.
12/18/2009 11:37:05 PM

Gene Scarborough
I had to read hard to figure what it is all about. The conclusion I see is that:

(1) More highly educated people are less worried Muslims are dangerous.

(2) Republicans tend to be more skeptical and less willing to allow the Constitutional right of freedom of religion.

My personal observation is that stupid and lusty individuals are drawn to a hate-filled religion or politic which blesses hatred to the point of killing and destroying. The ancient Jews taking over the Promised Land were sure God blessed bashing babies' heads and raping all the women of the enemy while bringing all the gold to the Priests. The "sophisticated theological" Germans had their hatred stirred by Hitler to do awful acts against fellow humans perceived as "non-arian."

It seems the Moral Majority used by the Republican Party is trying to make us believe Public Healthcare is nothing but "approved abortion" and--all not like them--are Infidels (just to mention 1 issue).

Whatever happened to a land where men and women of good will can live in peace worshiping as their hearts lead them without government interference????
12/18/2009 10:12:09 AM

Brent Hobbs
This is such an odd study... I didn't really see the point. The statement is way too general, in my opinion, to really tell us anything. This was pointed out in the comment section at Ed Stetzer's blog: http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/edstetzer/2009/12/protestant-pastors-and-islam.html#comments

Agree or disagree: Cars are dangerous. Dogs are dangerous. Some things don't lend themselves to agree/disagree answers.
12/17/2009 9:09:25 PM

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