Most U.S. Protestant pastors see Islam as dangerous – survey

December 15, 2009
atlantamosque

American Muslims at the Atlanta Masjid of al-Islam mosque, 9 Feb 2007/Tami Chappell

Here’s an interesting survey that was released on Monday by LifeWay Research, which is the number crunching arm of the South Baptist Convention, America’s largest evangelical group.

It says that two-thirds of Protestant pastors in America regard Islam as a dangerous religion. You can see their press release here. The full survey has not been posted on their site.

But in a nut shell, the survey of over 1,000 pastors of different Protestant denominations found that 45 percent strongly agreed with the statement “I believe Islam is a dangerous religion,” while 21 percent agreed to it “somewhat.”

The survey was conducted in October, before the massacre at the Fort Hood army base in Texas allegedly by a Muslim soldier.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, 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.”

Given the very conservative cast of the SBC and strong evangelical Protestant support over the years for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some people will automatically take the survey with a grain of salt. But the survey did include clergy from mainline Protestant denominations as well as evangelicals.

Not surprisingly, it found that: “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.”

It also asked about partisan affiliation and found, according to its release, that:  ”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.

Rural and small town pastors were also more likely than their big city and suburban counterparts to agree with the statement. The same was true of politically conservative pastors compared to those of a liberal bent.

None of this is surprising though one could ask why there are such concerns in rural America — assuming that the men of the cloth reflect their flocks’ outlook — when much of America’s Muslim population is concentrated in urban areas? What do you think?

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11 comments

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Its greatly important to include some information about conservative Christians within an article like this. Otherwise it gives the impression that these Christians have a valid reason for considering Islam a dangerous religion.

Islam reveres Jesus as a prophet equal to Muhammad, peace be upon them both. Quran even includes a chapter on Maryam and describes how Jesus was born of a virgin. But there is also a huge difference between Islam and Christianity when it comes to Jesus. Christianity teaches that Jesus is God. Islam teaches that Jesus was a human being just like Muhammad.

Conservative protestants and Catholics believe Jesus is God and they insist the only way to heaven is to accept Jesus as Lord. Obviously this means that conservative Christians would view Islam as dangerous because of this. It is also important to remember that conservative Christians would most likely consider every other religion dangerous because it views Christianity as the only true path.

Mainline and liberal Christians would be more apt to be tolerant and accepting of diversity. They would also spend more time educating themselves about the reality of a religion like Islam. But lets remember that the media has taken the extremist views of Islam yet it completely ignores the other interpretations of Islam. Most Muslims disagree with extremist ideology.

To me, the most dangerous part of the growing tension between Muslims and non-Muslims is the fear created by misleading or completely incorrect information about Islam. No one is really interested in the Muslims who value democracy and freedom as much as Americans do.

We need to take Islam back from a) extremists and b) those who portray Islam as dangerous vs. full of piety, compassion, tolerance and desiring of a peaceful coexistence among all God’s creation.

Posted by freda4peace | Report as abusive

WELL IT IS ABOUT TIME, CHRISTIAN’S WILL STAND UP AND BE COUNTED WE ARE ABOUT LOVE AND WE ARE ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT
MAINSTREAM ISLAM IS FINE WITH ME IT IS WHEN WE GET OUTSIDE OF MAINSTREAM THAT I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH

SO EVERYBODY STAY MAINSTREAM

Posted by theDR | Report as abusive

I’m sure if the same type of poll was taken in muslim countries and we asked 1000 imams, shiekhs, mullah, ayotallas if they thought “Christianity was dangerous” then it would be the same result on the other side. wars in afghanistan and iraq, illegal drone strikes in pakistan, strong support of israel in its illegal occupation of palestine, support for arab dictators in saudia arabia, egypt, and UAE, continued threats of the bombing of iran are all factors that would lead to some muslim clerics yelling “crusade”. so what exactly was the point of the poll to begin with? to tell us something that most of us could have predicted the outcome of beforehand.

Posted by sidrock23 | Report as abusive

Perhaps Muslims think Christianity is dangerous. But that simply represents their religious mindset.

Western actions in Afganistan and Iraq were to prevent terror, bring democracy and gain power in the middle east.

Western drone strikes in Pakistan are due to the fact that Pakistan has a rising insurgency problem and is being used as a refuge for Taliban.

Support for Arab dictators in the Middle East is simply because those nations are willing to act with Western interests.

Supporting Israel is simply because if Israel was not supported, Israel would have no reason to hold back the next time Hamas or Hezbullah attacks Israeli territory.

The threat of bombing Iran is due to the threat Iran will possess if it illegally obtains nuclear weapons.

None of these things have anything to do with Christianity. They are simply actions done for political advantage and for the interests of the West.

But Islamic insurgency, the concept of Jihad, theocracies and the threat Islam sees from Christianity, are all symptoms of the religious grounding in which many Islamic nations and terror groups operate.

And this is why even though Christianity poses no actual threat to Islam, Islam poses an actual threat to the West. And Militant Islam poses an actual threat to freedom.

Posted by defcon86 | Report as abusive

I’m not religious, but America’s addiction to polls where all the questions are leading ones but none of the important issues facing society is ever addressed is getting more and more like End Times at The Tower of Babel every day.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

In a nutshell–”When a Christian man or woman becomes very religious, it means they try to convert you.” When a Muslim becomes “very religious,” it means they try to kill you. Virtually every terrorist act in the world today that is unrelated to drugs has some Islamic component:
The Philippines.
Chechnya.
Pakistan.
Europe.
Britain.
And so forth.
Why is it so difficult to admit what is obvious? If Muslims are truly opposed to violence, let them speak against it.
Christians do, and they do not honor those among them who commit violent acts.

Posted by sbinsandiego | Report as abusive

The other SanDiego tries to make the point that Christians only try to convert people.

During the dark ages people where killed if they did not convert, or if they where caught practicing any other religion.

During the crusades countless horrors where commited in the name of Jesus and God.

What about the Spanish inqusision?

Here in America the native Americans where killed by the spanish or converted by the tip of a sword.

During WWII the nazi’s killed million’s for not being Christian.

This year an abortion doctor was killed by a Christian extremist. This year Obama received death threats for being suspected of being a Muslim.

The only real truth here is that as long as there has been a God, there has been killing in his name. I really wounder if the world would be better off without a belief in God, a world without religion would be far more advanced as well.

Posted by TheSanDiego | Report as abusive

It is unbelievable that Christians are seen as people believing in God, by the Muslims and they consider them as brothers. Most Christians talk of love, but where is the love for Muslims who happen to be fellow human beings? Read any post anywhere and please let me know when it is not fighty, fiesty, anti-Islam and false propaganda. The world has seen some groups that claim to follow a certain religion, but they act opposite to what the religion teaches. The Jewish, the Christians nor the Muslims are free of those elements. However, I see that the Muslim groups against other religions are usually created by anti_islam forces i.e. creation of Wahabyism, Alqaidah, Taalban etc. Wahabyism was created by Anti-Islam forces to defeat Ottomans, goal achieved, Al Qaidah to defeat Russia in Afghanistan, goal achieved, and west started fighting them, and they are ruthless anti-Islam force. Taalban for the similar reason and they are ruthless force, so is wahabyism. The forign forces must not indulge in changing the path of Muslims, we can become brothers as was the case at the time of prophet Mohammed.

Posted by Samaritan | Report as abusive

The crusades and Spanish inquisition, much like the dark ages, were centuries ago. And were matched by equal Islamic actions.

The German genocides of WW2 were not really religion motivated, but rather on racial lines.

It is fine and good to point to Christianity and look at past evils committed in God’s name to kill the unbeliever and sinner. And to point out that back in the old days, Past Christianity and Past Islam were equal in terrible actions.

But it is unfair to then draw an analogy between Past Christianity and Present Islam.

Just because Islam remains in the 14th Century with concepts of holy war and global domination, doesn’t mean that 21st Century Christianity must also be considered as hostile or belligerent.

Most of the actions taken by the West are based on secular and political grounds, not religious ones.

If Islam considers itself in a war with Christianity, this is simply an extension to its war with the West and its greater war against the secular world.

Posted by defcon86 | Report as abusive

The most Islamic countries are Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. They actively persecute minorities and their rates of human rights abuses are extremely high. Real Islam is very dangerous to minorities. This is documented by many human rights organizations. The governements could stop it, but don’t…due to the authentic teachings of Islam that favour persecution of kafirs.

Posted by Rutine | Report as abusive

I dont know what topic is discussing here. i am a Muslim by birth. i m 31 years of age . worked in very famous banks in Pakistan as wel as dubai. i want to convert as Christan, if i announced here in Pakistan or UAE every one would feel honor to kill me. can any one guide me how i can get the amnesty and conversion

Posted by galaxyviz | Report as abusive

[...] face the constant media onslaught that seeks to portray him and his faith as inherently evil and dangerous. He hears of his friends and families or other Muslims being routinely harassed, humiliated and [...]

[...] face the constant media onslaught that seeks to portray him and his faith as inherently evil and dangerous. He hears of his friends and families or other Muslims being routinely harassed, humiliated [...]