Pastors predict greater New-Age influence

82% say they expect non-Christian faiths to be more popular
Religion News Service, Nov. 30, 2002
http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/

A majority of Protestant pastors surveyed predict non-Christian religions and New Age spirituality will increase in their influence in the next decade.

Eighty-two percent of ministers expect a growing influence of non-Christian faiths, compared to 5 percent who expect their influence will decrease and 13 percent who don’t anticipate much difference in the next 10 years.

Ellison Research of Phoenix also found that 55 percent of ministers think New Age spirituality will increase in influence in the next decade compared to 19 percent who think its influence will decrease and 26 percent who don’t expect much change in that time period.

Asked to predict other changes, ministers were most pessimistic about the future of “overall religious freedom” in the United States. Ten percent expected it to improve while 46 percent said it would stay the same as it is now and 44 percent expect declining religious freedom.

Just over 25 percent of ministers surveyed predict Christianity will be more influential in Americans’ daily lives in 2012 than in 2002. Forty-one percent predict decreasing influence, and 33 percent expect it to remain about the same.

Fewer ministers — 19 percent — expect Christianity to have an increasing influence on national politics. Fifty percent expect little change, and 31 percent think there will be a declining influence.

Clergy are divided over the future of churches. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed expect there to be an increase in the proportion of Americans attending a Christian church, while 44 percent expect a decline in church attendance and 23 percent expect a similar proportion in a decade.

The findings, based on a national sample of 567 Protestant ministers, have a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday November 30, 2002.
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