Catholicism and Evangelicalism: doctrinal, moral and political views

    This is a report from a multitude of referenced formal studies, primarily spanning 1992 to 2012, which mainly testify to the overall fruit of Roman Catholic and Evangelical faith* during this time, as manifest in differences in moral and doctrinal views and commitment. I have not found stats on for both sides for all views (and sometimes there is some overlap in categories), and this collection is mainly valid for views in America, though there are also some stats from a worldwide survey of “evangelical” leaders.

    (Last update: 1-10-2014. For PDF file click here)

    I collect stats on lots of things related to faith in America, as seen in the extensive Revealing Statistics page here. For a chart of state by state comparisons on many aspects see here, and here as regards poltico-religio correlations.

    Sources are in small italics, and the up arrow ^ refers to the last referenced source above. Notes on classification, unity and the integrity of sources are further below.

Table of contents (click TOC to return)

Theological views and Practices

Moral views and Behaviors

Political-Moral Views and Affiliation

Demographics, Growth, Conversions, Etc.

On the term “Evangelical.”

Commentary on unity

Note on the integrity of this study


  • (See also ethnic section)

  • 73% (highest) of Pentecostal/Foursquare believers strongly affirm that Christ was sinless on earth, with Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists being tied at 33%, and the lowest being among Episcopalians with just 28%

  • 94.4% of Evangelical Protestants and 84.9% of Catholics believe that Jesus is the son of God. 42.1% of the former and 46.1% of the latter say they pray once a day or more.

  • 47.8% of the Evangelicals and 11.8% of Catholics affirm the Bible is Literally true. 6.5% of the former and 19.8% of the latter see it as an ancient book of history and legends. ^

  • 42.1% of Evangelical Protestants and 7.1% of Catholics Read Scripture weekly or more. ^

  • 64% of those in Assemblies of God churches (versus only 9% of Catholics) strongly DISAGREE that if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others they will earn a place in Heaven [salvation on the basis of merit]. ^

  • 56% of Assemblies of God (versus 17% Catholics) Christians strongly DISAGREE that Satan is just a symbol of evil [rather than a real being]. ^

  • Catholics and Mainline Protestants tend more towards belief in a more Distant God. Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion - American Piety in the 21 Century – September 2006 .

  • Evangelical Protestants and Black Protestants tend towards belief in a more Authoritarian God. ^

  • Thirty percent of Protestants listed God as their most important connection (relationship) versus 9% of Catholics. Barna, 2008

  • Political conservatives were almost three times as likely as political liberals to identify God as their most important relationship (33% vs. 12%, respectively). ^

  • About 56 percent of Evangelicals currently say they're strongly affiliated with their religion, while only 35 percent of Catholics say the same, and 4% lower than mainline Protestants (devoutness of Mainline Protestants [distinct from evangelicals] fell to roughly 30 percent in the late 1970s to late 1980s before gradually climbing to 39 percent in 2010)

  • Bible Reading: the highest was 75%, by those going to a Pentecostal/Foursquare church who reported they had read the Bible during the past week (besides at church), while the lowest was among Catholics at 23% ^

  • Volunteer church work (during past 7 days): Assemblies of God were highest at 30%, with the lowest going to Catholics at 12%. ^

  • Donating Money (during the last month): Church of Christ churches were the highest at 29%, with Catholics being the lowest at 12% ^

  • American evangelicals gave four times as much money, per person, to churches as did all other church donors in 2001. 88 percent of evangelicals and 73 percent of all Protestants donated to churches. John Ronsvalle and Sylvia Ronsvalle, The State of Church Giving through 2004: Will We Will? 16th ed. (Champaign, Ill.: Empty Tomb, 2006),12.

  • Data from a variety of researchers indicates that Catholics give one-third to one-half the portion of income that Protestants give.

  • A Catholic survey reports that 4 percent of US Catholics described themselves as “veryinvolved in parish or religious activities other than attending Mass, and 11% as “somewhat involved, and 64% as “not involved at all.” Among weekly (or more) attendees (approx 22% of adult Catholics), 13% were very” involved, 29%somewhat involved and 25% not involved at all.”

  • 59% of Catholics (and 80% of weekly attendees) reported they had a statue or picture of Mary on display in their home, but 48% never pray the rosary.

  • By denomination, 61% of the those associated with an Assemblies of God church said they had shared their faith at least once during the past year, as did 61% of those who attend a Pentecostal/Foursquare church, and ending 14% among Episcopalians and just 10% among Roman Catholics.

  • 25% of Evangelical Christians and 20% of other Protestants and 7% of Catholics said the read the Bible on a daily basis. 44% of Catholics said they rarely or never read the Bible, along with only 7% of Evangelical Christians and 13% of other Protestants.

  • 91% of Evangelical Christians and 63% of other Protestants and 25% of Catholics consider themselves to be born again; ^

  • 44% of Evangelical Christians reflect at least daily on the meaning of Scripture in their lives. 36% of other Protestants and 22% of Catholics do the same; ^

  • 52% of Evangelical Christians have had a meaningful discussion about their faith with a non-Christian during the past month. 28% of other Protestants and 18% of Catholics also have held such a discussion. ^

  • 68% of Evangelical Christians attend a regular Bible Study or participate in some other small-group activity. 47% of other Protestants take part in small groups related to their faith, along with 24% of Catholics. ^

  • Church attendance [2001]: 69% of those associated with Assembly of God churches, and 66% of other Pentecostal churches and 61% of those in non-denominational Protestant churches were the most likely to have attended in the past week (which does to mean they always do) .

  • However, numbers from head counts show the actual rate of attendance nationwide is less than half (around 18%) of what the pollsters report, though some studies show attendance at services as increasing.;

  • From 2000 to 2004 the Catholic Church experienced an 11% decrease in its attendance percentage, followed by mainline Protestant churches which saw a 10% percentage decline, while Evangelicals experienced the smallest drop at 1%.

  • Another study found that a growing number of people are attending small Christian groups, with 24.5% of Americans now saying their primary form of spiritual nourishment is meeting with a small group of 20 or less people every week. ^

  • Church attendance [2002-2005]: Evangelicals at approx. 60 percent showed the highest percentage of those who reported they attended services weekly or almost weekly, with 30% going more than once a week. Catholics were at 45 percent (9% more than once a week), and Jews 15 percent. Gallup poll. between 2002 and 2005.

  • 2102: The percentage of all Catholics who say they attend Mass at least once a week has dropped from 47% in 1974 to 24% in 2012. -

  • A 2007 Pew survey reported that 9% of Catholics said they attended Mass more than once a week, and 33% once a week, while evangelicals were at 30% for more than once a week, and 28% for once a week, respectively. -

  • A Catholic study reported that the percentage of U.S. adult Catholics who say they attended Mass once a week or more (i.e., those attending every week) was 24% in 2012.

  • 54 percent of Catholics who came of age before Vatican Two (10 percent of Catholics today) attend Mass weekly, compared to 23 percent of millennial Catholics, those born from 1979 to 1987.

  • 39 percent of Catholics affirmed not attending church is a sin, versus 23 percent of Protestants. Ellison Research, March 11, 2008

  • Christian church attendance is between 1 ½ and 2 times higher in the South and the Midwest than it is in the West and the Northeast [the latter two have the highest percentage of Catholics].;

  • The states with the most frequent churchgoers were Mississippi, Alabama, S. Carolina, Louisiana, Utah Tennessee, Arkansas, N. Carolina, Georgia, then Texas. The states with the most infrequent churchgoers were Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Alaska, then Washington.

  • Catholics' responses to the questions that make up the 2004 Gallup Index of Leading Religious Indicators show Catholics lag noticeably behind Protestants on all but two of the survey items that make up the Index: belief in God and church membership.

  • Among those who converted to a Christian denomination, 42% of of those to Roman Catholicism, 43% of Episcopalian converts, 44% of those to Lutheranism, 48% of those to Methodism, 50% of those to the Presbyterian church, 60% of Baptist converts, 60% of Non-denominational converts, and 73% of of converts to Pentecostal churches reported they attend services weekly.

  • In 2011, 49% of Catholics were likely to attend church services [not necessarily weekly], down from 59% in 1991, while 29% were unchurched, up from 20% in 1991, and were 10 points less likely to volunteer at their church (down to only 9%).

  • Of an estimated Catholic population in the United States of almost 78 million, less than 48 million attend more than once yearly.

  • See HERE for 2001 church attendance (based on adults who attended a church service in the past week) by Denomination.

  • 49% of evangelical adults fit the charismatic definition, with 7% of Southern Baptist churches and 6% of mainline churches being charismatic, according to their Senior Pastors, 9% of whom are female (same as non-charismatic). 36% of all U.S. Catholics, and 22% of all charismatics in the U.S. identify as Catholic. Barna research, 2008

  • 51% of all born again Christians are charismatic, with 46% of all adults who attend a Protestant church identifying with that. 16% of the country's white Protestant congregations are Pentecostal, compared to 65% of the Protestant churches dominated by African-Americans. (Barna research, 2008)

  • The highest percentage of those who strongly agree they have a personal responsibility to share their faith was found among believers in Pentecostal/Foursquare churches (73%)

  • 81% of Pentecostal/Foursquare believers strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all that it teaches , followed by 77% of Assemblies of God believers, and ending with 26% of Catholics and 22% of Episcopalians. ^

  • The percentage of Catholics who believed the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches declined from 34% in 1991 to 26% in 2011

  • Catholics [2012] report the lowest proportion of strongly affiliated followers among major American religious traditions, with a considerable divergence between evangelical Protestants on the one hand and Catholics and mainline Protestants on the other. There was an abrupt decline in strength of affiliation among Catholics starting in 1984 and ending in 1989. Thus may be due to the growing number of Latino Catholics responding to the survey. Previous research has shown Latino Catholics were less likely to report a strong religious affiliation compared with other Catholics. Also, the percentage of Americans who say they adhere to no religion climbed from about 6 percent in the 1970s and 1980s to 16 percent in 2010.

  • The typical Catholic person was 38% less likely than the average American to read the Bible; 67% less likely to attend a Sunday school class; 20% less likely to share their faith in Christ with someone who had different beliefs, donated about 17% less money to churches, and were 36% less likely to have an "active faith," defined as reading the Bible, praying and attending a church service during the prior week. Catholics were also significantly less likely to believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. 44% of Catholics claimed to be "absolutely committed" to their faith, compared to 54% of the entire adult population. However, Catholics were 16% more likely to attend a church service and 8% more likely to have prayed to God during the prior week than the average American. Barna Reaearch, 2007, “Catholics Have Become Mainstream America”

  • 82% of Mainline Churches, 77% of Catholics and 53% of Evangelical Churches affirmed, "There is MORE than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion." U.S. Religious landscape survey; Copyright © 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

  • Orthodox (29%), Mainline Churches (28%), and Catholics (27%) led Christian Churches in affirming that the Scriptures were written by men and were not the word of God, versus just and 7% of Evangelical Churches, who instead rightly affirm its full inspiration of God.^

  • Catholics broke with their Church's teachings more than most other groups, with just six out of 10 Catholics affirming that God is "a person with whom people can have a relationship", and three in 10 describing God as an "impersonal force." 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

  • Only 33% of Catholics strongly affirmed that Christ was sinless on earth.

  • A 1992 Catholic-funded Gallup Poll found only 30% of American Catholics affirmed: "When receiving Holy Communion, you are really and truly receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine. Poll of 519 American Catholics, 18 years or older, conducted from December 10, 1991, to January 19, 1992,

  • Responding to the questions on the Roman Catholic Eucharist, “Which of the following comes closest to what you believe takes place at Mass: (1) The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, or (2) The bread and wine are symbolic reminders of Christ? 63% of Roman Catholics overall, and 51% of weekly attenders, and 70% of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 affirmed the Roman Catholic Eucharist is a "symbolic reminder" of Jesus [it is, of His death], indicating they do not believe it is really Jesus body and blood [as Rome erroneously teaches]. New York Times/CBS News poll, Apr. 21-23, 1994, subsample of 446 Catholics, MOE ± 5% 1995 Commonweal Foundation

  • In a survey by the Pew Forum, 55% of Catholics affirmed that their church teaches that the bread and wine in their liturgy of the Lord's supper become Christ’s body and blood, while (41%) said that the church teaches that the bread and wine are symbols.

  • A study by the Roper Center and commissioned by Catholic World Report reported that 82% of Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week agreed with the statement that "the bread and wine used at Mass are actually transformed into the body and blood of Christ." . Catholic World Report; 1997 survey of 1,000 Catholic Americans by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut.

  • A Catholic polling service reported that 57 percent of adult Catholics (and 91% of adult weekly Mass attenders), said their belief about the Eucharist is best reflected by the statement “Jesus Christ is really present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist,” [a statement which Lutherans could assent to] versus to 43 percent who said their belief is best reflected in the statement, “Bread and wine are symbols of Jesus, but Jesus is not really present.” Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, 2007, commissioned by the Department of Communications of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

  • A 2008 Catholic commissioned survey of adult Catholics reported 68% of Catholics affirmed you could be a good Catholic without going to Mass every Sunday, and 55% thought of themselves as good Catholics. 77% of Catholics agreed they were proud to be Catholic, (85% of weekly attendees) and 61% agreed that sacraments were essential to their faith (83% of weekly attendees). 2008 poll of 1,007 self-identified adult Catholics by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University;

  • 43% of Catholics overall (and 36% of weekly attendees) affirmed they look to Catholic teachings and statements made the pope and bishops to form their conscience on what is morally acceptable . ^

  • 36% of weekly attendees affirmed their Catholic faith was the most important part of their life, 39% said it was “among the most important.” ^

  • 83% of Catholics affirmed that helping those in need was important to their sense of what it means to be a Catholic; 79% affirmed the Eucharist was, 73% said living according to Church teachings, 68% said devotion to Mary, and 66% said attending Mass. Catholics in the South are the most likely to say such things are “very important.” ^

  • 75% of surveyed adult Catholics said they never doubted the Trinity, 68% that the Father created all we know of the Universe, 73% that Christ rose from the dead, 59% that there is a Hell, and 44% that the pope and bishops have taken the place of Peter and the apostles. ^

  • Almost a third of Catholics surveyed, including 15 percent of highly committed church members, said one could be a good Catholic without believing Jesus rose from the dead.

  • 66% of Catholics supported women's ordination to the priesthood, and 73% approved of the way John Paul II leads the church. Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs by George Gallup, Jr. and D. Michael Lindsay (Morehouse Publishing, 1999). Copyright © 2004 -- The Gallup Organization

  • 80% of Catholics believe it is possible to disagree with the pope on official positions on morality and still be a good Catholic. Time/CNN nationwide poll of 1,000 adults, conducted by Yankelovich Partners, Sept. 27-28, 1995; subsample of 500 Catholics, MOE ± 4.5%

  • 77% of Catholics polled "believe a person can be a good Catholic without going to Mass every Sunday, 65 percent believe good Catholics can divorce and remarry, and 53 percent believe Catholics can have abortions and remain in good standing. 1999 poll by the National Catholic Reporter.

  • Comparing Catholics and other Americans, 44% of Catholics claimed to be "absolutely committed" to their faith versus 54% of the entire adult population, and donated about 17% less money to churches; was 38% less likely than the average American to read the Bible; 67% less likely to attend a Sunday school class; 20% less likely to share their faith in Christ with someone who had different beliefs; 24% less likely to say their religious faith has greatly transformed their life; and were 36% less likely to have an "active faith," (defined as reading the Bible, praying and attending a church service during the prior week.) Yet Catholics were 16% more likely than the norm to attend a church service and 8% more likely to have prayed to God during the prior week. Catholics Have Become Mainstream America, Barna research, July 9, 2007 TOC


  • 40% Roman Catholics vs. 41% Non-R.C. see abortion as "morally acceptable"; Sex between unmarried couples: 67% vs. 57%; Baby out of wedlock: 61% vs. 52%; Homosexual relations: 54% vs. 45%; Gambling: 72% vs. 59%

  • Committed Roman Catholics (church attendance weekly or almost) versus Non-R.C. faithful church goers (see the below as as morally acceptable): Abortion: 24% of R.C. vs. 19% Non-R.C.; Sex between unmarried couples: 53% vs. 30%; Baby out of wedlock: 48% vs. 29%; Homosexual relations: 44% vs. 21%; Gambling: 67% vs. 40%; Divorce: 63 vs. 46% ^

  • Comparing 16 moral behaviors, Catholics were less likely to say mean things about people behind their back, and tending to engage in recycling more. However, they were also twice as likely to view pornographic content on the Internet, and were more prone to use profanity, to gamble, and to buy lottery tickets. ^

  • In a survey asking whether one approves or rejects or overall sees little consequence (skeptical) to society regarding seven trends on the family (More: unmarried couples raising children; gay and lesbian couples raising children; single women having children without a male partner to help raise them; people living together without getting married; mothers of young children working outside the home; people of different races marrying each other; and more women not ever having children), 42% of all Protestants wereRejectersof the modern trend, 35% were Skeptics, and 23% wereApprovers.” Among Catholics, 27% were Rejecters, 34% were Approvers, and 39% were Skeptics. (Among non religious, 10% were Rejecters, 48% were Approvers, and 42% were Skeptics.) Pew forum, The Public Renders a Split Verdict On Changes in Family Structure, February 16, 2011

  • 50 percent of Protestants affirmed gambling was a sin, versus 15 percent of Catholics; that getting drunk was a sin: 63 percent of Protestants, 28 percent of Catholics; gossip: 70 percent to 45 percent: homosexual activity or sex: 72 percent to 42 percent. Ellison Research, March 11, 2008

  • Combined aggregate results from 9 surveys conducted from 2001 through 2004 show 71% of Protestants (68% of regular church goers) and 66% of Catholics (59% of regular Catholic church-goers) support capital punishment.

  • 73 percent of Catholics rejected Catholic teaching artificial methods of birth control. Catholic World Report; 1997 survey of 1,000 Catholic Americans by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut

  • Only 20 percent strongly agreed with the Church teaching that only men may be ordained. ^

  • Of never-married adult females, 25% of Evangelicals, 11% of Catholics and 14% of Mainline Protestants professed never to be have had sexual relations. Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use, Guttmacher Institute, April. 2011

  • Contraceptives

  • Just 15% of U.S. Catholics say that using contraceptives is morally wrong. 41% say that using contraceptives is morally acceptable, while 36% say it is not a moral issue. 37% of Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week say using contraceptives is morally wrong while 33% say it is morally acceptable and 30% say it is not a moral issue. —

  • 74% of Evangelicals, 73% of Mainline Protestants, and 68% of sexually active Catholics women use birth control. 3% of the Catholics rely on natural family planning. Attendance at religious services and importance of religion to daily life are largely unrelated to use of highly effective contraceptive methods. ^

  • 88% of Catholics believe that they can practice artificial means of birth control and still be considered good Catholics. New York Times/CBS News poll, Apr. 21-23, 1994, subsample of 446 Catholics, MOE ± 5%

  • 98% of self-identified Catholic women ages 15-44 who have ever had sexual relations have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point in their lives. .”

  • 40% of 18- to 29-year-old Catholics said the church’s “teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date.”

  • 59% of all Catholic women of childbearing age practice contraception—a rate of usage statistically equivalent to that of the general population (60%). Calvin Goldscheider and William D. Mosher, "Patterns of Contraceptive Use in the United States:

  • 58% of Catholics 52% if they are voters) believe that employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception;

  • 50% of white Catholics support this requirement, versus 47% who oppose it, along with 38% of white evangelical Protestants an 50% of white mainline Protestants. Public Religion Research Institute, February 2012

  • Abortion

  • [2000-2001] Catholic women had an abortion rate 29 percent higher than Protestants. 43% of women over age 17 in the 2000-2001 survey said they were Protestant, while 27 percent said they were Catholic. 13 percent said they were evangelical or “born-again.” Catholics were more likely to get an abortion: The abortion rate for Catholic women was 22 per 1,000 women; the rate for Protestants was 18 per 1,000 women, Alan Guttmacher Institute;

  • 75% of white evangelical Protestants consider having an abortion morally wrong, as do 64% of Hispanic Catholics, 58% of black Protestants, 53% of white Catholics, 38% of white mainline Protestants and 25% of religiously unaffiliated adults.

  • White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning Roe v. Wade.

  • 35% of white evangelicals and 52% of 59% of white Catholics see overturning Roe v. Wade as not that important.

  • 64% of white evangelical Protestants [blacks make up 6% of all evangelicals] believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, as do 52% of Hispanic Catholics, and 41% of white Catholics, and 39% of black Protestants, and 31% of white mainline Protestants.

  • 31% of faithful Catholics (those who attend church weekly, 2004) say abortion should be legal either in "many" or in "all" cases.. 2004, The Gallup Organization Gallup Survey for Catholics Speak Out: 802 Catholics, May 1992, MOE ± 4%;

  • When ask to choose, three-fourths of all Protestant pastors surveyed said [2009] they are pro-life, and 13 percent said they were pro-choice. LifeWay Research;

  • 26 percent of Catholics (2007) polled strongly agree with the Church's unequivocal position on abortion Catholic World Report; survey of 1,000 Catholic Americans by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut;

  • 46 percent of Catholics who say they attend mass weekly accept Church teaching on abortion; 43 percent accept the all-male priesthood; and 30 percent see contraception as morally wrong. ^

  • In 1992 0nly 13 percent of Catholics overall agreed that abortion could never be a moral choice. 41% said it was morally acceptable in rare circumstances and another 41 percent said it was morally acceptable in many or all circumstances. 70% of Catholics overall agreed that Catholics can vote in good conscience for political candidates who support legal abortion.

  • Fornication, homosexuality

  • In a 2010 LifeWay Research survey 77 percent of American Protestant pastors (57% of mainline versus 87% evangelical) strongly disagree with same-sex marriage, with 6% percent somewhat disagreeing, and 5% being somewhat in agreement and 10 percent strongly agreeing. (5% of evangelical).

  • Only 3% of evangelical pastors (versus 11% mainline) somewhat agree that there is nothing wrong with homosexual marriage.

  • 11% of evangelical pastors (versus 30% mainline) somewhat agree that homosexual civil unions are acceptable, with 67% of the former and 38% of the latter strongly disagreeing with homosexual civil unions. October 2010 LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 randomly selected Protestant pastors.

  • A 2002 nationwide poll of 1,854 priests in the United States and Puerto Rico reported that 30% of Roman Catholic priests described themselves as Liberal, 28% as Conservative, and 37% as Moderate in their Religious ideology. 53 percent responded that they thought it always was a sin for unmarried people to have sexual relations; 32 percent that is often was, and 9 percent seldom/never. However, nearly four in 10 younger priests in 2002 described themselves as conservative, and were more likely to regard as "always a sin" such acts as premarital sex, abortion, artificial birth control, homosexual relations, etc., and three-fourths said they were more religiously orthodox than their older counterparts. Los Angeles Times (extensive) nationwide survey (2002).

  • The survey also found that 80% of Roman Catholic priests referred to themselves as “mostlyheterosexual in orientation, with 67% being exclusively heterosexual, 8% leaning toward heterosexual, 5% completely in the middle, and 6% leaning toward homosexual and 9% saying they are homosexual, for a combined figure of 15% on the homosexual class. Among younger priests (those ordained for 20 years or less) the figure was 23%. ^

  • One-third of surveyed priests said they “do not waver” from their vow of celibacy, while 47% described celibacy as “an ongoing journey” and 14% said they “do not always succeed in following” it. 2% said celibacy is not relevant to their priesthood and they do not observe it. not celibate. ^

  • 71 percent of priests responded that it always was wrong for a woman to get an abortion, 19 percent that it often was, and 4 percent seldom/never. ^

  • 28 percent judged that is always was sin for married couples to use artificial birth control, 25 percent often, 40 percent never. ^

  • 49 percent affirmed that it was always a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, often, 25 percent; and never, 19 percent. ^

  • To take one's own life if suffering from a debilitating disease: always, 59 percent; often, 18 percent; never, 17 percent. ^

  • A combined 15 percent of the clergy polled identified themselves as "gay (9%) > or more (6%) on the homosexual side." Among younger priests 23 percent did so. Los Angeles Times (extensive) nationwide survey (2002).

  • 17 percent of the priests said "definitely" , and 27% said "probably," a homosexual subculture'--defined as a `definite group of persons that has its own friendships, social gatherings and vocabulary'--exists in their diocese or religious order. ^

  • After examining the official web sites of 244 Catholic universities and colleges in America, the TFP Student Action found that 107 – or 43% have pro-homosexual clubs. TFP Student Action Dec. 6. 2011;

  • 39 percent of Roman Catholics and 79 percent of born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist American Christians affirm that homosexual behavior is sinful. LifeWay (SBC) Research study, released Wednesday. 2008 LifeWay Research study.

  • 79 percent of American Jews, 58 percent of Catholics and 56 percent of mainline Protestants favor acceptance of homosexuality, versus 39 percent of members of historically black churches, 27 percent of Muslims and 26 percent of the evangelical Protestants. U.S. U.S. Religious landscape survey; Copyright © 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

  • 56% of Catholics overall (and 46% of the general public) believe that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is not a sin, while 39%. of Catholics say homosexual behavior is morally wrong, (versus 76% of white evangelicals and 66% of black Protestants, and 40% of Mainline Protestants). 41% of Catholics do not consider homosexual behavior to be a moral issue. (Pew Research Center, Religion & Politics Survey, 2009; PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey, October 2010;

  • Catholics testify [2010] to showing more support (in numbers) for legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition, and Americans overall. Almost three-quarters of Catholics favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry or allowing them to form civil unions (43% and 31% respectively). Only 22% of Catholics said there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship. (PRRI, Pre-­-election American Values Survey, 9/2010;

  • This 2010 survey of more than 3,000 adults found that 41% of White American Catholics, 45% of Latino Catholics (versus 16 percent of White evangelical Christians, and 23% of Black Protestants) supported the rights of same-sex couples to marry, and 36% (22% of Latino Catholics) supported civil unions (versus 24% of White evangelicals, and 25% of Black Protestants). Among the general public the rates were 37 and 27 percent.

  • 69% of Catholics disagree that homosexual orientation can be changed, versus 23% who believe that they can change. ^

  • 19% of White Catholics, 30% of Latino Catholics, 58% of White evangelicals, 52% of Black Protestants and 29% of White Mainline Protestants oppose any legal recognition of homosexual marriage. ^

  • 60% of Catholics overall, and 53% of the general public favor allowing homosexual couples to adopt children. ^

  • 73% of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace, and 63% favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military. For the general public the figures are 68% and 58% respectively. ^

  • 49% of Catholics and 45% of the general public agree that homosexuals should be eligible for ordination with no special requirements. ^

  • Among Catholics who attend services regularly (weekly or more), 31% say there should be no legal recognition for homosexual relationships (marriage or civil unions), with 26% favoring allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, versus 43% of Catholics who attend once or twice a month, and 59% of Catholics who attend a few times a year or less favoring allowance of homosexual marriage. ^

  • 27% of Catholics who attend church services regularly say their clergy speak about the issue of homosexuality, with 63% of this group saying the messages they hear are negative. ^

  • 48% of white evangelical Protestants oppose letting homosexuals serve openly in the military, with 34% supporting this proposal, versus 63% of Catholics (66% of white) supporting and 23% opposing. Pew forum, November 29, 2010,

  • White evangelicals are most satisfied with their church’s handling of homosexuality, with 75 percent giving it an `A’ or a `B.’ Catholics are the most critical, with nearly a third — twice as many as any other group — giving their church a `D’ or `F.’ Oct. 2010 Poll sponsored by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service.

  • 31% of Catholics called celibacy a major factor leading to sexual abuse, while another 28% called it a minor factor. 35% said celibacy did not play a part in the abuse.

  • 30%, meanwhile, said homosexuality played a major role. An additional 23% said it played a minor role. 37% said it was not a factor. ^

  • The percentage of percentage of adults Protestants who have been married and divorced is 34% versus 28% for Catholics, (the survey not determining if the divorce occurred before or after conversions) while Evangelicals were at 26%. Atheists or agnostic were at 30% (only 65% were ever married, vs. 84% for born-again Christians) while those aligned with a non-Christian faith were at 38%. The largest disparity (17%) relative to divorce was between high and low income levels (22% to 39%). TOC


  • 82% of White evangelicals (blacks make up 6% of evangelicals, and 15% of all blacks), along with 84% of Orthodox Jews overall, versus 38% of Catholics and 16% of no-religion Jews, affirmed that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews. 50% of White evangelicals disagree that Israel and an independent Palestinian state can coexist peacefully.

  • 46% of white evangelical Protestants, versus 20% of Catholics, say that the U.S. is not providing enough support for Israel. 22% of Catholics think the level of support for Israel is to high, versus just 12% of White evangelicals .

  • Asking Americans (June 2014) to rate eight religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, white evangelicals (6% of evangelicals are black) averaged 82 toward each other, 69 toward Jews (who averaged 34 toward them) and 63 toward Catholics, 30 toward Muslims, and 25 toward atheists (who averaged 28 toward them).

  • Catholics averaged 80 toward each other, 61 toward Jews (who averaged 58 toward them), 57 toward evangelical Christians, 40 toward Muslims and 38 toward atheists (who averaged 47 toward them). —

  • A study which broke down Mainline Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, and non-Hispanic Catholics into the three subgroups of traditionalists, centrists, and modernists, found that 5.3 percent of the population qualified as traditionalist Catholic, 5.4 percent as centrist Catholics, and 4.9 percent of were modernist Catholics. The Henry Institute, A Pre-Election Analysis

  • Latinos Catholics constituted 6.8 percent of the survey respondents. ^

  • About 68 percent of traditionalist Catholics opposed gays and lesbian marriage, versus 50% of centrist Catholics and 65 percent of modernist Catholics. ^

  • Traditionalist Catholics disagreed that “abortion should be legal and solely up to the woman to decide” 71 to 21 percent, centrist Catholics agreed 54 to 40 percent, and modernist Catholics agreed 80-16 percent. ^

  • 99% of Protestant pastors who hold to very conservative theology strongly disagree that homosexual marriage should be legal, with 98% also describing themselves as pro-life, and of such 98 percent strongly agree with the statement "Our church considers Scripture to be the authority for our church and our lives." Among pastors who do not strongly disagree that gay marriage should be legal, 71 percent said they agreed with the above affirmation, as well as 65% of pro-choice pastors (three-fourths of all Protestant pastors surveyed said they are pro-life). LifeWay Research;

  • Evangelical Protestants are the most politically conservative Christian tradition. Within each tradition, those with literal views of the Bible are more politically conservative than is their tradition overall. Catholics that are Biblical literalists (11.8%) hold more conservative political views than the Catholic population in general does. The Biblical literalist Catholic is as politically conservative as the Biblical literalist who is Evangelical (47.8%) or Mainline Protestant. (11.2%) American Piety in the 21st Century, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

  • 72% of Catholics said that the will of the American people should have more influence than the Bible on US law, as compared to 63% of the general public. Pew Research Center, "Pragmatic Americans Liberal and Conservative on Social Issues," August 3, 2006, (accessed June 24, 2008).

  • In 2011, 70% of [white?] evangelicals considered themselves Republican or leaned toward that party, versus 24% Democrat.

  • 48% of Catholics considered themselves Democrats or leaned toward that party, 43% Republican or leaned thereto. ^

  • 47% of white Catholics identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party, while 46% supported the GOP in the mid-September [2012] poll [up from 41% in 2008], while 72% of white evangelicals identified with the GOP.

  • 37% of Catholics were registered as Democrats [2007], 27% Republican, and 31% as Independents. Aggregated Pew Research Surveys, 2007.

  • 34% of weekly Mass attending Catholics are Democrats, and an additional 19% are not affiliated with a party but lean toward the Democrats (53% identifying or leaning as Democrats). 28% of weekly attenders are Republicans and an additional 17% lean toward being a Republican (43 percent identifying or leaning as Republicans). Thus Democrats have a 10% point edge among weekly attendees, Catholics who attend Mass less than weekly are even more likely to be a Democrat rather than a Republican.

  • 91% of faculty and administrators from America’s top 23 Catholic universities who contributed to presidential campaigns in 2012 gave to President Obama. 89.6% of all 928 donors contributed to Obama, versus 10.3% who gave to Romney. Employees of the Catholic schools contributed $449,229 to President Obama while giving just $70,304 to Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Of the 826 individuals who donated over $200 to the two major candidates, 748 gave to President Obama’s campaign while 78 contributed to Romney. Based on official Federal Election Commission data made available by;

  • Based upon exit polling, 74 percent of Evangelicals voted for McCain in 2008, with 25 percent for Obama. (Another measure which put the percentage of US evangelicals at 23 percent, with 73 percent voting for McCain, 26 percent for Obama.)

  • Catholics overall supported Obama over McCain by a nine-point margin (54% vs. 45%) ^

  • Exit polls in 2008 reported that weekly churchgoing Catholics voted for John McCain over Barack Obama, by just 50 percent to 49 percent. Weekly Protestant church attendees voted for McCain over Barack Obama 66 to 32 percent.

  • In the 2012 election (preliminary exit-poll analysis), white Evangelicals (23% of the electorate) voted 79%/20% Romney/Obama; Protestants overall (53% of the electorate) voted 57%/42%; black Protestants (9% of the electorate) and other Christian voted 5%/95%; Catholics overall (25% of the electorate) voted 48%/50%; white Catholics (18% of the electorate) voted 59%/40%; and Hispanic Catholics (5% of the electorate) voted 21%/75% Romney/Obama

  • Weekly Church attendees (28% of the electorate) voted 57%/39% Romney/Obama; more than weekly (14% of the electorate) voted 63%/36% and “never” attendees (17% of the electorate) were at 34%/62% Romney/Obama. ^

  • According to Barna, in 2012 45% of the people who voted in November indicated that their faith affected how they voted. 72% of Evangelicals, 34% non-evangelical born again voters, and 19% of Catholics, 17% of non-Christian faith said their faith affected their presidential preference a lot. 9% of voters overall and 10% of evangelicals felt strongly that Mr. Romney's Mormon connection diminished their likelihood of supporting him.

  • Evangelicals supported Mr. Romney 81% to 17% over Mr. Obama (a smaller percentage for the Republican candidate than in previous years). Born again Christians who are not evangelicals supported Romney 56% to 43% over the incumbent. Catholics supported Mr. Obama by 57% to 42% — the largest margin since Bill Clinton topped Bob Dole by 21 points in 1996. Protestant overall voted 57% to 42% in favor of Mr. Romney. ^

  • Notional Christians (the largest segment of voters and who consider themselves to be Christian but are not evangelical or born again) voted 57% to 41% in favor of Mr. Obama. 68% of Skeptics and 69% of non-Christian faiths (14% of total voters) also voted for the Democratic candidate. ^

  • 1% of Evangelicals, 10% of non-evangelical born again voters, 14% of Notional Christians and 33% of Skeptics said they were politically liberal. ^

  • 48% of voters overall, 54% of Notional Christians, 53% of Catholics, and just 14% of Evangelicals agreed that the United States will be better off four years from now than it is today. 64% of voters overall said they would prefer that the presidential campaign be decided by the popular vote rather than Electoral votes. ^

      Ethnic views section in particular

    • Latinos make up about 40 percent of all U.S. Catholics (Pew Research states 33%); 70 percent of Latinos are Catholic; 23 percent of Latinos are Protestant or “other Christian;” 37 percent of the U.S. Latino population (14.2 million) self-identifies as “born-againor evangelical (26% as born again); This figure includes Catholic charismatics, who constitute 22 percent of U.S. Latino Catholics;

    • In 2007, 68% of Latinos identified as Catholics, two-thirds being immigrants. 42% did not graduate from high school. 46% have a household income of less than $30,000 per year - lower than that of other religious traditions. The Latino electorate was overwhelmingly Catholic (63%), and 70% of all Latino eligible voters who identified as Democrats were Catholics.

    • 15% of Hispanics overall identified themselves as evangelicals. 64% have at least a high school diploma, and about 39% have a household income of less than $30,000 per year Among Hispanic eligible voters who were evangelicals, 37% said they considered themselves Republicans and 32% said they were Democrats.

    • Among registered voters in 2007, 50% of white Evangelicals and 36% of Latino Evangelicals were Republican, 25% of the former and 36% of the latter were Democrats. 23% white Evangelical and 19% of Latino Evangelicals were Independents

    • 70% of Latino registered voters in 2012 identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 22% identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. 81 percent of Latinos with no religious affiliation were Democrats or Democratic leaning.

    • 73% of Latino Catholics surveyed said they favored Obama, versus 19% for Romney, while 50% of Latino evangelical Protestants (who accounted for 16% of all Latino registered voters) favored Obama, and 39% were for Romney.

    • Latino Catholics made up 57% of the Latin electorate in 2012, and 71% are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 21% identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. Among Latino evangelical voters, about half are Democrats or lean Democratic, while about a third are Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party.

    • White, non-Hispanic Catholics express about as much support for same-sex marriage as Hispanic Catholics do (53% and 54%, respectively). White evangelical Protestants are somewhat more opposed to gay marriage (76%) than are Hispanic evangelical Protestants (66%). ^

    • Latino Evangelicals are 50% more likely than those who are Catholics to identify with the Republican Party, and are significantly more conservative than Catholics on social issues, foreign policy issues and even in their attitudes toward the plight of the poor.

    • 54% of Hispanic Catholics believe that churches and other places of worship should be required to provide health care coverage that includes contraception, compared to 41% Hispanic Protestants. African American & Hispanic Reproductive Issues Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, July 2012

    • 80% of religiously unaffiliated Hispanics, and 62% of Hispanic Catholics, and 47% of Hispanic mainline Protestants support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, versus 21% of evangelical Protestants (79% oppose same-sex marriage).

    • 52% of Hispanic Catholics say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, along with 74% of Evangelical Protestants. ^

    • 30% of Hispanic Catholics say that having an abortion is morally wrong, compared to 7% who say it is morally acceptable. nearly 59% of evangelical Protestants say that having an abortion is morally wrong, compared to only 4% who say it is morally acceptable. ^

    • 45% of Hispanic Catholics and 51% of mainline Protestants say that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is morally wrong, compared to 16% of Catholics and 19% of mainline Protestants who say it is morally acceptable.10% of Hispanic Catholics and 4% of mainline Protestants believe the morality of same gender sexual activity depends on the situation, and 27% of Catholics and 23% of mainline Protestants say it is not a moral issue. ^

    • 72% of evangelical Protestants say that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is morally wrong, while 8% say it is morally acceptable. 6% say that the morality of the behavior depends on the situation and 14% say that it is not a moral issue. ^

    • 51% of Hispanic Catholics and mainline Protestants say that it is possible to disagree with church teachings on homosexuality and remain a good Catholic or Christian, versus 70% of evangelical Hispanic Protestants who say it is not possible to disagree with church teachings on the issue of homosexuality and remain a good Christian. ^

    • 12% of Hispanic Catholics, and 22% of Hispanic mainline Protestants and 50% of Hispanic evangelicals report that religion is the most important thing in their lives. ^

    • Catholics and mainline Protestants do not differ in the frequency of their religious attendance from Hispanics overall, while evangelical Protestants are significantly more likely to attend religious services regularly.

    • 5% of Hispanics report that they do not believe in God. Hispanic Catholics closely resemble Hispanics overall, with 59% believing God is a person and 32% believing God is an impersonal force. 69% of Mainline Protestants believe God is a person 25% believe God is an impersonal force (25%). 85% of Hispanic evangelical Protestants believe God is a person with whom one can have a relationship. ^

    • Black Catholics constituted 5% of the Catholic church (highly predominantly from the West at 11%, versus 4-6% elsewhere) in 2007, and 15% of evangelicals (based on denomination, and spread fairly evenly, even in the NE at 16%, but lowest in the West at 11%).

    • Blacks constituted 13% of the electorate in 2012.

    • 77 percent of Black Protestants said they vote Democratic, whether they attended weekly services or not. 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

    • For those in black Catholic churches, political affiliation or leaning in 2007 was 17%/74% Republican/Democrat, and 11%/76% for black evangelical churches. Opposition to homosexuality 37% by black Catholics and 58% by black evangelicals. Opposition to abortion was 35% by black Catholics and 53% by black evangelicals. 66% of black evangelicals and 36% of black Catholics say they attend services at least weekly.

    • 22% of Asian-Americans are Protestants and 19% are Catholic (while 26% are unaffiliated, with 52% of Chinese being so). .

    • 47% of Asian-American Protestants are or lean toward the Republican party, versus 36% Democrat. Asian-American evangelicals were at 56%/28%. Asian-American Catholics were at 42%/41% (Hindu Asian-Americans 9%/72% Republican/Democrat). ^

    • 76% of Asian-American evangelical Protestants go to services at least once a week, followed by Catholics at 60%. Opposition to abortion and homosexuality is likewise higher among the former. ^

  • 71% of Evangelicals, 35% of Protestants and 25% of Catholics said that a candidates position on abortion would have a lot of influence on their decision of who to vote for in 2012. Likewise 63% of evangelicals, 35% of Protestants and 19% of Catholics and said a candidates position on homosexual marriage would have a lot of influence on their decision. Barna, April, 2011

  • 73% of Catholics polled say they believe Catholic politicians are under no religious obligation to vote on issues the way the bishops recommend, with 75% disapproving of denying communion to Catholics who support legal abortion, while 70% of Catholics say that the views of Catholic bishops in the US are unimportant to them in deciding for whom to vote, and 69% of say they feel no obligation to vote against candidates who support abortion. Belden Russonello & Stewart, "Secular and Security-Minded: The Catholic Vote in Summer 2008," Catholics for Choice, July 2008.

  • According to a February, 2011 Pew forum survey, 44% of white evangelical Protestants agree with the Tea Party movement, with only 8% disagreeing, while 33% of white Catholics agree and 23% disagree. Only 12% of atheists/agnostics support it with 67% opposing.

  • In 2011, 70% of white evangelicals favored the GOP (up from 65% in 2004), compared with 24% who favored the Democratic Party.

  • By 2011 the number of mainline Protestants favoring the Republican Party had jumped by six points to 51%, and Democratic support had dropped by six points to 39%. White mainline Protestants are now 12 points more likely to express support for the GOP than for the Democratic Party.

  • 49% white Catholics in 2008 supported for the Democratic Party and 41% identified as Republican or said they leaned toward the GOP. By 2011, the figures were reversed, 42% expressed support for Democrats and 49% for Republicans.

  • White evangelicals under 30 are now more heavily Republican than those over 30 (82% vs. 69%). And among white non-Hispanic Catholics under age 30, support for the GOP has increased from 41% in 2008 to 54% in 2011.

  • In 2011, all basic groups (all Catholic, Protestants, Mormons, Jewish, atheist/agnostic) showed increased support for Republicans.

  • Religiously unaffiliated voters - the fastest growing block - 61% identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party, versus 27% for Republicans. -

  • 65% of Catholics supported a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans in 2006, up from 52 percent in 2002. Majorities of Catholics support issues traditionally considered planks of the Democratic Party platform: universal healthcare, pro-labor policies, access to abortion, and social welfare programs for the poor.

  • 10% of Evangelical Protestants reside in the NE, 23% in the Midwest, 50% in the South, and 17% in the West. Catholics: 29% NE, 24% Midwest, 24% in the South, 23% in the West.Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream,” Pew Research Center, 2007.

  • The population of Massachusetts ranks as the most liberal, with Boston and Cambridge being the most liberal large cities (100,000 or more), followed by California.

  • The 16 most Catholic states contain 24 of the most liberal cities. Excluding (Maryland 26th), predominately Roman Catholic states contain all but one (Seattle WA) of the 30 most liberal cities. Of states in which S. Baptists are the single largest denomination none (of the 30 cities) were found. (the term “liberal” being defined according to individual contributions to PACs, election returns and the number of homosexual households: ,

  • The highest percentages of residents who describe themselves as Christian are typically in the South, including: Shreveport, LA (98%), Birmingham (96%), Charlotte (96%), Nashville (95%), Greenville, SC / Asheville, NC (94%), New Orleans (94%), Indianapolis (93%), Lexington (93%), Roanoke-Lynchburg (93%), Little Rock (92%), and Memphis (92%).

  • 73% of the populations of Charlotte and Shreveport held scripture in high regard, versus only 27% of the residents of Providence, Rhode Island [the most Catholic state] and San Francisco [the most homosexual large city]. ^

  • The lowest percentages of self-identified Christians inhabited the following markets: San Francisco (68%), Portland, Oregon (71%), Portland, Maine (72%), Seattle (73%), Sacramento (73%), New York (73%), San Diego (75%), Los Angeles (75%), Boston (76%), Phoenix (78%), Miami (78%), Las Vegas (78%), and Denver (78%). Even in these cities, however, roughly three out of every four residents align with Christianity. ^

  • The highest percentage of souls who tended toward being atheist or agnostic were in Portland, Maine (19%), Seattle (19%), Portland, Oregon (16%), Sacramento (16%), and Spokane (16%)

  • Commitment to evangelism (agree strongly that a person has a responsibility to share their beliefs with others) saw the greatest percentage of endorsement by residents of Birmingham (64%) and Charlotte (54%), in contrast to residents of Providence (14%) and Boston (17%).

  • (See HERE for a table on Religious-Political relations. And HERE for correlations between faith, ideology, politics, environment, money.) And HERE for supplementary compilation of stats on moral positions related to numerical impact, and Whites, Latinos and African Americans. TOC


  • 31% of Catholics made less than $30,000 per year (2008), while 19% made $100,000 or more (National average: 31% and 18% respectively). The figures for Evangelical Protestants were 34% and 13% respectively. Hindus and Jews had the highest income levels.

  • Evangelical Churches (17%), had the lowest percentage of souls aged 18-29, versus Unaffiliated (31%), Muslims (29%), Historically Black Churches (24%), Mormons (24%) and Other Faiths (24%). Mainline Churches had the greater percentage (23%) of souls 65 and older. U.S. Religious landscape survey; Copyright © 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

  • A Catholic study in the year 2000 reported that of the 17 religious bodies in America with 1 million or more adherents in 2000, only six showed an increase in numbers while 10 showed a decline in numbers. Glenmary Research Centers. 3.5

  • Among the gainers, four religious bodies showed double-digit increases-- between 16 percent for Catholics and 19 percent for Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). The Southern Baptist Convention grew at nearly 5 percent. ^

  • Except for Catholics (which grew between 1990 and 2000 mainly by immigration), all those bodies gaining members between 1990 and 2000 generally are considered “Conservative Protestants,” while most of those showing a decrease in number of adherents generally are considered “Moderate” or “LiberalProtestants. ^

  • In every state, the percent Catholic growth from 1990 to 2000 was substantially greater than the general population growth [including a 45 percent increase in Arkansas and 111 percent increase in Nevada.] ^

  • The Catholic population of the US had fallen by nearly 400,000 in 2007, and suffered a slight membership loss in 2009 but increased 1.49 percent in 2010. [U.S. population growth rate in 2008 was 0.9 percent, and 0.57 percent in 2011.]. From 2007 to 2008 Roman Catholics grew from 17.33 percent of the global population to 17.4 percent in 2008.;

  • 2002 Statistics compiled by the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs reported that 71 percent of the U.S. Catholic population growth since 1960 was due to Hispanics. The statistics are taken from U.S. Census reports and recent surveys of Hispanics.

  • In 2008, 25:1% of respondents self-identified themselves as Catholic (versus 26.2 in 1990), with 50.9 belonging to Other Christian groups (from 60% in 1990).

  • The total number baptized Catholic individuals recognized by each parish and mission in the United States was 58.9 million. Note various ways of tabulation:

  • According to the American Bishops' count in their Official Catholic Directory 2010, which primarily rests on the parish assessment tax which pastors evaluate yearly according to the number of registered members and contributors, Catholics in the United States represented 22% of the US population.

  • 24% of current “Nones(not identifying with any religion) and 35% of 1st generation or "new" Nones) identified themselves being Catholic at age 12, 11% identified themselves as "Christian," 7% as Baptist, and 3% as Protestant. 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS);

  • A 2010 report show the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) - ranked 24th largest - increased 1.76 percent, and the Assemblies of God (9th) grew 1.27 percent. The (so-called) Latter-day Saints” [cult] (ranked 4th largest) grew 1.71 percent, the (so-called) Jehovah's Witnesses [cult] (23rd ) said they were up 2 percent

  • The Presbyterian Church (USA) shrank 3.3 percent Southern Baptist Convention, the largest denomination after Catholics, lost 0.24 percent of its membership and now stands at 16.2 million. It also declined in membership in the year prior.

  • Between 2000 and 2004, the net gain (the number of new churches minus the closed churches) in the number of evangelical churches was 5,452, but mainline and Catholic churches closed more than they started for a net loss of 2,200, while a net gain of 13,024 churches was necessary to keep up with the U.S. population growth. At those rates, by 2050, the percentage of the U.S. population attending church will be almost half of what it was in 1990.

  • In numbers (not percentage), Catholicism, which lists 68.1 million in the US, has experienced “the greatest net loss” of any major religious group. members. The 'had it' Catholics,” National Catholic Reporter ,Oct. 11, 2001, based on reports from the 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey and the National Council of Churches’ 2010 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

  • 68% of those raised Roman Catholic still are Catholic (higher than the retention rates of individual Protestant denoms, but less than Jews at 76%). 15% are now Protestant (9% evangelical); 14% are unaffiliated. Pew forum, Faith in Flux (April 27, 2009)

  • 80% of adults who were raised Protestant are still Protestant, but (analysis shows) 25% no longer self-identify with the Protestant denomination in which they were raised. ^

  • 44 percent of Americans have switched religious affiliations since childhood, mostly mainline Protestants. 7% who were raised Protestant are now unaffiliated; 15% now belong to a different Protestant faith. ^

  • 51% of Protestants from a different Protestant denomination cite a lack of spiritual fulfillment as a reason for leaving their childhood faith. 85% say they joined their current denominational faith because they enjoy the services and style of worship. Only 15% left say they left because they stopped believing in its teachings. ^

  • Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. 10.1% have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic, while only 2.6% of adults have become Catholic after having been raised in a different faith.^

  • 4% of Americans raised Catholic are now unaffiliated; 5% are now Protestant. ^

  • Over 75% of those who left Catholicism attended Mass at least once a week as children, versus 86% having done so who remain Catholics today.^

  • Regarding reasons for leaving Catholicism, less than 30% of former Catholics agreed that the clergy sexual abuse scandal played a role in their departure. ^

  • 71% of converts from Catholicism to Protestant faith said that their spiritual needs were not being met in Catholicism, with 78% of Evangelical Protestants in particular concurring, versus 43% of those now unaffiliated. ^

  • Only 23% (20% now evangelical) of all Protestants converts from Catholicism said they were unhappy about Catholicism's teachings on abortion/homosexuality (versus 46% of those now unaffiliated); 23% also expressed disagreement with teaching on divorce/remarriage; 16% (12% now evangelical) were dissatisfied with teachings on birth control, 70% said they found a religion the liked more in Protestantism.

  • 55% of evangelical converts from Catholicism cited dissatisfaction with Catholic teachings about the Bible was a reason for leaving Catholicism, with 46% saying the Catholic Church did not view the Bible literally enough.

  • 81% of all Protestant converts from Catholicism said they enjoyed the service and worship of Protestant faith as a reason for joining a Protestant denomination, with 62% of all Protestants and 74% Evangelicals also saying that they felt God's call to do so. ^

  • 42% of those now unaffiliated stated they do not believe in God, or most religious teaching. ^

  • 54% of “millennial generation” Catholics (born in 1982 or later) are Hispanics, while 39% are non-Hispanic whites. On the other hand, 76% of “pre-Vatican II generation” Catholics (born 1943 or earlier) are non-Hispanic whites, while 15% are Hispanics. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, September, 2010 .

  • 68% of all Latinos in the U.S. identify as Catholics. Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion - American Piety in the 21 Century – 9-2006

  • Among Catholics under the age of 30, 47% are white, and 45% are Latino. In contrast, among Catholics over the age of 65, 82% are white (Pew Forum 2007, reported in

  • Latinos comprised 32 percent of all U.S. Catholics in 2008, versus to 20 percent in 1990. However, Catholic identification has slipped from 66 percent in 1990 to 60 percent in 2008. There has also been a significant rise in the number of Latinos who do not adhere to a religion. The longer a Latino has lived in the United States, the less likely he or she is to be Catholic. Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College,

  • 18% of all Latinos say they have either converted from one religion to another or to no religion at all.

  • 1,000 Mexicans left the Catholic Church every day between 2000 and 2010, a decline that has continued uninterrupted over the past 60 years, from 98.21 of the population to 83.9 percent today. Latin American Herald Tribune, March 10, 2011, based upon census data and study by sociologist and historian Roberto Blancarte of Colegio de Mexico and the National Autonomous University of Mexico

  • The percentage of of Protestants and Evangelicals rose from 1.28% in 1950 to close to 8% of the total population in 2010, (excluding so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons). 5.2 million say they profess no religion. ^

  • This decline is seen as extending across the region (Catholics represent between 55% to 73% in Central America, 70% in Brazil, 50% in Cuba and Uruguay).^

  • Brazil’s National Statistics Institute reported that the number of evangelical Christians in Brazil (the world’s largest Catholic country) has risen from 15% of the population in 2000 to to 22% of the population in 2010, and 4% 40 years ago, while the proportion of Catholic Brazilians fell from 93.% of Brazilians 40 years ago, and 74% of the population in 2000 to to 65% in 2010.

  • Almost 20% of all Latino American Catholics have left the Roman Catholicism, with 23 percent of second-generation Latino Americans doing so.

  • 54% of Hispanic Catholics describe themselves as charismatic Christians.

  • 51% of Hispanic Evangelicals are converts, and 43% are former Catholics. ^

  • 82% of Hispanics cite the desire for a more direct, personal experience with God as the main reason for adopting a new faith. Among those who have become evangelicals, 90% say it was a spiritual search for a more direct, personal experience with God was the main reason that drove their conversion. Negative views of Catholicism do not appear to be a major reason for their conversion. ^

  • Latino evangelicals are more than 20 percentage points more likely than Catholics to say that abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances.

  • The first generation of Latino immigrants is 74 percent Catholic, and 15 percent Protestant. The second generation is 72 percent Catholic, and 20 percent Protestant. The third generation is 62 percent Catholic, and 29 percent Protestant. ^

  • According to the Census Bureau, the Latino population in the United States grew from 22.4 million in 1990 to 41.3 million in 2004, adding a staggering 18.9 million people in 10 years. Broader estimates, which include Puerto Rican islanders (4 million) and undocumented immigrants (5 million), put the U.S. Latino population at over 50 million. ^

  • In 2003, Latinos surpassed African-Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. Latinos now represent about 14 percent of the U.S. population. This growth is a result of both immigration and high domestic birth rates. About 53 percent of all immigrants to the United States come from Latin America. Mexicans and Mexican-Americans make up 58 percent of all foreign born Latin-American immigrants. ^

    • Globally 98% of evangelical leaders agree that the Bible is the word of God. Only 3% believe that human life has evolved with no involvement from a supreme being, and 47% reject theistic evolution, while 41% believe God has used evolution for the purpose of creating humans and other life.

    • 51% do not see influence of Catholicism as a threat, while 35% see it as a minor threat, and 10% see it as a major one. 92% express favorable opinions of Pentecostals, and 76% express favorable opinions of Catholics. 7% say they consider non-religious people to be friendly toward evangelicals, and 35% say they have a very unfavorable opinion of atheists, with 35%saying mostly unfavorable. ^

    • 41% say that conflict between religious groups is a small problem, while 17% say it is a very big problem, with 30% seeing theological divisions among evangelical as one (54% as a minor threat), and 77% also see evangelical leaders displaying lavish lifestyles as a threat (30% major, 47% minor). ^

    • Evangelical leaders in the Middle East and North Africa are most likely to say religious conflict is a moderately big (37%) or very big (35%) problem. 55% of those in the Asia-Pacific region and 49% in sub-Saharan Africa also see inter- religious conflict as a moderately or very big problem. 90% who live in Muslim-majority countries say the influence of Islam is a major threat, compared with 41% of elsewhere. ^

    • 73% of evangelical leaders worldwide affirm that God’s covenant with the Jewish people continues today, and 60% hold mostly favorable views of Jews, though 33% think that Jews are unfriendly toward evangelicals. 48% say the state of Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy about the Second Coming of Jesus, while 42% say it is not, and 49% say they sympathize with both Israel and the Palestinians equally. ^

    • 33% describe themselves as Pentecostals, versus 14% of leaders from the Global North. 76% say they have experienced or witnessed a divine healing, and 70% of those from the Global South say they have witnessed the devil or evil spirits being driven out. ^

    • 90% reject the so-called prosperity gospel, the notion that God will grant wealth and good health to those who have enough faith. 52% (75% in the “Global South”) believe drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good evangelical, 97% likewise reject astrology, 96% reject reincarnation, 95% reject denying Jesus is the only way to salvation, 92% reject yoga. ^

    • 96% disapprove of abortion at least conditionally, with 51% (59% in the “Global South,” including Africa) affirming that abortion is always wrong, with 45% saying it is usually wrong. 84% say that society should discourage homosexuality, and 79% say that men should serve as the religious leaders in the marriage and family, and 71% of the leaders are male, yet 75% think that women may be allowed to serve as pastors. (in contrast to historical Protestantism). ^

    • 84% think that religious leaders should express their views on political matters, with just 13% disagreeing. 48% oppose making the Bible the law of the land, while 45% favor it. However, 74% vs. 21% of evangelical leaders surveyed said it is acceptable to them if their country’s

    • political leaders have a different religion than their own. ^

    • 58% in the Global South say that evangelical Christians are gaining influence on life in their countries. By contrast, 66% in the Global North (82% say in the United States) say that evangelicals are losing influence in the societies in which they live. ^

  •  TOC

    On the term “Evangelical.”

  • It must be noted that while the term “evangelical” is a warranted and recognized distinguishable category of “tradition,” it is not a precise classification, due to it not being a formal denomination or having a formal definition, and the determinative methodology used by pollsters is not uniform. Most studies use self-identification for religious categorizations, but some classify respondents as evangelical depending on answers to a few basic questions (see below), and or what denomination they belong to (which themselves are classified based upon some general and recognized basic defining aspects), but typically they combineborn again” with “evangelical.” The former is usually associated with experiencing a “day of salvation” (2Cor. 6:2) in which one entered into a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ (born again), but which today can include a liberal idea of what that means, as will be shown below. For evangelical denominations a typical distinctive is that of holding to a basic literalistic view of the Bible and as Scripture being the supreme authority, and of salvation by faith versus earning it, as well as an emphasis upon evangelism, and possessing other basic conservative theological as well as moral views.

    Along this line, in seeking to be more precise than other pollsters, Barna distinguishes between “born again” and “evangelical” and categorizes the latter based upon affirmation of 9 theological aspects. Under such, only 8% of US adults doctrinally qualify as “Evangelicals” (2004 survey), while 38% of US adults classify as born again, but not Evangelical.

    These different methods can result in somewhat different numbers for evangelicals among pollsters, and can include those of any denomination, as well as reveal general characteristics of those in such. Only a small percentage of Catholics self-identify as “evangelical,” and denominational and religious tradition comparisons are best manifest in surveys which compare denominations.

    The American religious identification survey (ARIS) of 2008 asked, Do you identify as a Born Again or Evangelical Christian?,” with no definition being offered or a distinction made between the two terms. In response, 44.8% of all American Christians (34% of the total national adult population), fell into the combined born again/evangelical category, including 18% of Catholics. (p. 9) This ambiguous self-identification versus classification (according to denomination or basic views) resulted in very high figure. The same survey also showed 25-30 percent of those who affirmed they were “Born Againaffirmed they believed in a higher power but not a personal God. In contrast, according to Barna's criteria, only 8% of the nation theologically qualifies as evangelical.

    A basic Gallup Poll (2005) self-identification question, "Do you consider yourself to be born-again or evangelical?” found 42% Americans affirming. However, based upon respondents' answers to three questions that most evangelical leaders would say are core evangelical doctrines (if the Bible is the word of God, and if they had a born again experience — a turning point when they committed their life to Jesus Christ — and if they have tried to get someone else to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior), only 22% of Americans fit the description of an evangelical. (That number is further reduced to 18% if it is limited to those who are Protestants or unaffiliated Christians.) (

    In contrast, when Gallup asked, “Would you describe yourself as a 'born again' or evangelical?,” 47% affirmed they were, up from 35% in 1996. (

  • In distinguishing between born again and evangelical, a 2008 Rasmussen Reports survey of 928 Regular Churchgoers, found 91% of Evangelical Christians (apparently from evangelical denominations), 63% of other Protestants, along with 25% of Catholics consider themselves to be born again. (Toplines - Churchgoers - December 16, 2008)

    In the 2005 Baylor Religion Survey, 33.6% of the US population were categorized as Evangelical Protestant by affiliation, but in choosing to affirm titles among many labels to describe their religious identity, and in which more than one could apply, 47.2% choose “Bible-believing,” and 28.5%Born again,” 17.6% and “Theologically Conservative,but only 14.9% chose the specific term “Evangelical,” and barely 2% say it is the best description.

    Thus we see that in the born-again/evangelical, category, the former term has the higher figure, while together they totaled around 42%. This survey also found 21.2% of Americans identified themselves as Catholic, (4.7% as “Born again,” and 2.8% as “Evangelical”) and 22.1% as Mainline Protestant. Respondents were asked to choose from a standard list of names, as well as to give the name and the address of their place of worship.

  • Going back further, a 2002 ABCNEWS/Beliefnet poll of a random national sample of 1,022 adults, showed 53 percent of Americans were Protestants, 22 percent were Catholics and 8 percent were other Christians, including Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. 37 percent of all Christians described themselves as born-again or evangelical; 14% as did Catholics, as well as 47% of all Protestants including 62% of Baptists and 37% of nondenominational Protestants. (

    Commentary on unity:

    This page was originally partly occasioned by a Roman Catholic polemic which impugned the evangelical doctrine of the supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture by contrasting the divisions in what is broadly defined as Protestantism, in comparison to the doctrinal unity of Rome enabled by her magisterium, under the premise of providing superior assurance and clarity. To which I counter that,

    1. Comparing a group of churches (Protestant denominations) to a particular church (Roman Catholicism) is not the best comparison, unless one is making a comparison between particular churches, and in which case the unity in Roman Catholicism is not necessarily better than certain other particular churches. Including those which effectively operate according to the Roman Catholic model of sola ecclesia. Despite assertions of universal rule, Rome is effectively as one denomination among those who also claim to the one true Church, as well as others who make up the Body of Christ, the “household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10)

    Instead, a more valid comparison would be between the two different means for unity, that being Scripture as the assured Word of God and the supreme doctrinal authority according to its historical, Scriptural tradition, as in Sola Scriptura, or Prima Scriptura, versus the church being the supreme doctrinal authority, which is termed Sola Ecclesia. The latter includes more than the Roman Catholic church, though she is the main focus.

    My premise is that there is disunity and formal divisions under both Sola Scriptura and Sola Ecclesia, the difference being a matter of degrees, but that unity under SS is superior to that which can be claimed under SE, in quality if not in quantity.

    2. Any claim to universal doctrinal unity within Roman Catholicism can only refer to a quite limited official unity on basic issues, while due to the lack of clarity and comprehensiveness of the magisterium, Catholics can and do disagree on many things, In addition, due to her lack of real discipline, and treating the most nominal Roman Catholics as members in life and in death, Rome effectually promotes a diversity of views on moral issues and certain core truths,resulting in schisms, and Roman Catholics are typically less unified and more liberal than her evangelical counterparts. And which the statistics here testify to, though the integrity of both faiths is in decline.

  • The following further develops the above.

  • Unity as proof

    Unity itself as a proof of being the one true church is not a valid criteria. Cults display the greatest unity, as they share with Rome the same basis for its greatest unity (assent of faith in an infallible-type human authority). But unity itself is not a goal of Godliness; rather, the Scriptural goal is unity with God and each other based upon established Truth.

    While comprehensive doctrinal unity has ever been a goal not realized, though it must be sought, it is the unity of Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:3) that is most essential and foundational, and which is realized by souls being regenerated by repentant faith out of a broken heart and contrite spirit. (Ps. 34:18) Only by this can Jesus prayer can be realized to any degree — sonship with Christ in them and they in Him (Jn. 17:21-23) — but which institutionalized religion overall does not foster, and its unity is one that is much in critical error. The unity that results from the Berean method and heart, (Acts 17:11) while it can result in more division than assenting to men as if they were assuredly infallible, is of a much higher quality, if not quantity, than implicit trust in such men based on as if their words were as assured Scripture.

    Division because of truth is also what Christ promised, (Lk. 12:51-53) as it is necessary, (1Cor. 11:19) and Christianity is itself a result of division, and rejection by those who had the claim of official authority. (Mt. 23:2; Lk. 17:25; 20:17; Jn. 7:43; 10:19; Acts 13:46) And such necessary divisions occur due to a remnant wanting to preserve historic truth. Rome has her internal divisions, in heart and in doctrine, and the fact that they more rarely result in formal divisions due to tolerance of liberal deviation is not necessarily a positive attribute. It also may be said that the lack of a Berean heart that esteems the truth of Scripture above men, and wants to follow it wherever it leads, is the reason for detrimental divisions, rather than the method that such uses being the problem.

    Meanwhile, Scripture nowhere promises perpetual formulaic infallibility, and as seen in Scripture, writings were established as Scripture and truth preserved without an assuredly infallible magisterium. And rather than the surety of faith which Scripture promises being based on the premise of a perpetual assuredly infallible magisterium, instead it is realized by faith based upon demonstrable conformity with Scripture (Acts 17:11) and the Scriptural attestation that it evidences God gives to truth and faith. (Mk. 16:20; Acts 4:33; Rm. 15:19) Thus the apostolic testimony was, “by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God,” (2Cor. 4:2) and which most essentially is by the manifest transformative regeneration which affirms the gospel. (1Thes. 1:3ff) And by judging themselves in the light of what is written, believers can even know they presently have eternal life. (1Jn. 5:13; cf. Heb. 5:9)

  • Unity based on two different assured infallible supreme sources

    Evangelicals are attacked by Catholics as having a supreme, assuredly infallible (incapable of teaching error) authority, that being Scripture (though some disagree that it can be termed infallible), and lacking this, and with only a local fallible magisterium at best, and thus they are charged with not being able to have surety of doctrine, as they must rely upon fallible human reasoning in their interpretations.

    This is then contrasted with Roman Catholicism in which the supreme magisterium is asserted to be perpetually protected from fallibility when speaking in accordance with her infallibly defined (scope and subject-based) criteria, though this promise does not necessarily extend to the arguments and reasoning behind such decrees.

    However, RCs themselves have not only made a fallible human decision to submit to the self-proclaimed infallible magisterium of Rome, but as they have no infallible interpreter of their supreme doctrinal authority on earth, then they must rely upon fallible human reasoning (that of their own and the non-infallible and often conflicting magisterium) to not only judge which of the potentially hundreds of infallible pronouncements really are so (which is necessary if that they will provide the necessary assent of faith), but (to varying degrees) the meaning of these and the multiplicity of non-infallible teachings.

    In addition to a lack of magisterial perspicuity is the lack of comprehensiveness, leaving many things which Catholics can and do disagree on. And as only a few verses of Scripture are typically judged as having been infallibly defined, then within the parameters of Rome's teaching (as the Catholic fallibly understands her) the Catholic has great liberty to interpret (and to wrest) Scripture in order to support Rome.

    Therefore, there is much less absolute certainty and more division within Roman Catholicism that most realize, as while Rome claims an assuredly infallible magisterium, yet its members cannot claim assured infallibility in understanding it, or whether a decree is infallible.

    Certain core doctrines are provided, these being “infallible” pronouncements for which assent of faith is required, but it is a matter of interpretation as to how many of the multitudes of potentially infallible pronouncements really are infallible (and Catholics have a right to know if one is infallible before giving its requisite “assent of faith”), and in which their is disagreement, but which are generally held to be few. And these pronouncements themselves overall allow for some degree of interpretation.

    In addition, much or most of what Catholics believe and practice today comes from the non-infallible Ordinary magisterium, which includes its catechisms, and (as Roman Catholic forums show) these can require interpretation to reconcile to Catholic teachings issued down through the centuries.

    Moreover, Catholics can exercise varying degrees of dissent in non-infallible teachings (although that is a matter of interpretation), and which includes areas where evangelicals have much disagreement, such as freedom of the will and eschatology, and there actually can be much uncertainty about what Rome officially teaches.

    Roman Catholics can look to officially approved publications which have the Roman Catholic stamps of approval, the Nhil Obstat (a Latin phrase meaning that “nothing stands in the way,” of publication, that a book contains nothing damaging to faith or morals) and its Imprimatur (Latin, meaning “let it be printed”). But Roman Catholic apologists themselves state that this is not an assurance that the contents are orthodox, nor is it required for much of Roman Catholic literature.

    They can look to papal pronouncements from nearly 300 popes, but trying to study such is a mammoth task even for theologians, let alone the impossibility of reconciling all that is taught therein as well as the rest of what Rome has taught (for instance see here as regards Bible reading). Just the "Bulls" of the popes from 540 to 1857 fill forty-one volumes, and the General Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law states that Alexander III is said to have issued thirty-nine hundred and thirty-nine decrees and Innocent II over five thousand. (p. 42; H.A. Ayrinhac, Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1969;

    Futhermore, due to the degree in which Rome's teachings can be interpreted, she has her own schisms, such as the SSPX and sedevacantists which reveal this. In addition are the formal divisions between “Catholic” churches which operate under the Roman model of sola ecclesia, in which the church is effectively the supreme authority, and which extends beyond Roman Catholicism and includes cults.

    And thus under sola ecclesia respective magisteriums can autocratically infallibly interpret tradition, Scripture and history as supporting them.

    And which Rome does:

    It was the charge of the Reformers that the Catholic doctrines were not primitive, and their pretension was to revert to antiquity. But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine...

    I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. Its past is present with it, for both are one to a mind which is immutable. Primitive and modern are predicates, not of truth, but of ourselves. (“Most Rev.” Dr. Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, Lord Archbishop of Westminster, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: pp. 227-228)

    That is to say, Rome protects herself from the charge of being in error by claiming she is the supreme and assuredly infallible authority on what error is.

    Therefore, what the exclusion of Scripture amounts to (as providing surety versus the formulaic assuredly infallibility of Rome) is that assurance of the infallible nature of such decrees essentially rests upon the infallible self-declaration of Rome to be so.

    As for Protestantism, which should be at least reduced to churches which hold to the supremacy of Scripture as the assured Word of God, as per its basic conservative Scriptural "tradition," while these also suffer disagreements and formal divisions, they also overall affirm and contend for certain core truths, which is partly manifested in a common front against cults and Rome's traditions of men. They also have their own magisteriums which also require basic doctrinal assent, and limit the degree of varying interpretations in secondary issues.

    Moreover, even without an assuredly infallible magisterium of men or centralized magisterium, those who in practice hold to the historical doctrine of the supremacy of Scripture of Scripture and its hermeneutic and its manner of (normatively) literal exegesis — from Southern and Fundamental baptists to Assembles of God churches to Calvary chapels — most universally (if not inclusively) agree on foundational truths stated in the Apostle's Creed, as well as salvation of grace (versus deserving or earning it), and the supremacy of Scripture, and which is shown by their common contention against cults which deny such things as the Deity of Christ, as well as extra-Biblical teachings of Rome, both of which are typically a result of effectively holding men or an office as a supreme, infallible type authority. In addition manifest a remarkable degree of spiritual fellowship — which is seen in in many realms — while disagreement in other things has overall been limited in degree and scope, with fringe groups being marked by their deviating from the norm.

  • Conclusions: basis and types of unity

    While evangelicals and Catholics both look to an authority they hold as infallible, neither one offers assurance that the understanding of every type of hearers will be infallible (though Scripture does offer assurance based upon judging oneself in the light of what is written: 1Jn. 5:13), nor can Catholics be sure about what infallible pronouncements all consist of, as no infallible canon of all such is known to exists, thus interpretations vary of when the magisterium has spoken infallibly, and how many times it has, as well as (to some extent) the meaning of these and noninfallible teaching.

    And as little of the Bible has been “infallibly' defined, therefore, Roman Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin can state, “the liberty of the [Catholic] Scripture interpreter remains extensive, as taking due consideration of the factors that influence proper exegesis, only a few interpretations will be excluded with certainty by any of the four factors [the judgment of the magisterium, by the Church Fathers, or by the analogy of faith, these being open to some interpretation], circumscribing the interpreter’s liberty.”

    While Roman Catholics can engage in much private interpretation of Scripture in seeking to support Rome, yet no amount of insufficient Scriptural warrant or contradiction of Scripture is allowed to correct what Rome has presumed to infallibly declare, which things are considered infallible when she declares them in accordance with her infallible declared (scope and subject-based) formula.

    The Roman Catholic oath of Vatican 1 forbids interpreting the Scriptures contrary to the “unanimous consent of the fathers,” but Rome itself violates that command, yet it can autocratically define non-unanimous consent] to mean unanimous. And in addition, the most complete written compilation of the Fathers (Oxford/Edinburgh "Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers," compiled by Anglicans) fills 38 volumes, and it is held that this work contains only a small selection of the writings of the Church Fathers.

    This all results in Catholic unity being more that of identification with a particular church and faith-culture, rather than a bond resulting from a common conversion experience of regeneration based upon Scripture, and its resultant Scripture-based relationship with God. And as is true with institutionalized Protestant churches in which doctrinal purity is not a paramount concern, in Roman Catholicism it usually takes something very major for a formal split to occur. While Catholicism itself has many but fewer divisions, than in Protestantism yet as evidenced by statistics, multitudes of its souls have left to become evangelicals, mainly due to their spiritual needs not being met, versus a desire for an easier or more liberal faith.

    All this does not negate or condone the reality of unnecessary formal and informal disunity among evangelicals, or the potential viability of a central Scriptural authority. But it is helpful to understand the different kinds of unity and cause and quality thereof.

    Evangelicalism as a movement is characterized by emphasizing the supremacy of Scripture (versus an infallible magisterium) and obedience to it, with its typical manner of historical conservative, literal, exegesis, and emphasis on conversion and conservative values, and which distinguishes it from its mainline “institutionalized” counterpart. The latter, as seen in Roman Catholicism and mainline Protestantism, overall has a unity in which the authority of Scripture is typically not effectually emphasized much, and the exegesis of it is often liberal, with both working against Biblical conviction and conversion and commitment to absolute truths. Security is found in identification with a particular church, and in set structures of worship and formalism, versus living by faith. Yet as noted above, such institutionalized churches might be considered more stable, as seen today in which it takes something as extreme as the ordination of homosexual pastors for them to formally divide over.

    And expanding on what has been stated, churches like the Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God, etc., are formally divided on some things, and some each year split off from such, yet they typically both preach the gospel of grace in which souls, being damned because of their sins and morally destitute of any merit whereby they may escape Hell or gain glory, trust the risen Divine Son of God, sent by the Father, to save them by His sinless shed blood, (Rm. 3:8-5:1) resulting in manifest regeneration, (1Thes. 1:8,9; Heb. 6:9,10) and by which the universal church and the kingdom of God is enlarged. (1Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:13)

    These therefore, rather than their faith being much centered in a relationship with a particular church which “birthed” them, are typically centered in a personal relationship with the Christ that regenerated them, and which basic faith and conversion experience transcends denominational lines. They thus can more easily go to different gatherings as they have a basic spiritual bond with others who have believed the “word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13) and received the Spirit of promise. (Acts 10:43-47; 15:8,9)

    Of course, not all in such churches have been converted or have continued in the Word and know this “fellowship of the Spirit,” (Phil. 2:1), and doctrinal divisions are real, but the unity of the remnant among such churches is greater than their differences and of a superior quality than among those who “think of men above that which is written,” (1Cor. 4:6) as is the case in Rome.

    To be sure, to hold to the supremacy of Scripture requires seeking formal unity as well, but which includes leaders being established after the Biblical manner, by a holiness and teaching that conforms to Scripture and its attestation, versus resting on formal ecclesiastical decent and a self-proclaimed infallible office. And as the prophesied general apostasy of the church take place, (2Thes. 2:1,2ff) the evangelical type unity must grow stronger in quality, even though it has not the greatest quantity; the latter of which belongs to the Beast of Revelation, whom the Lord will overcome. (Rev. 6:16; 13:3; 19:1-21; 20:10) Thanks be to God.

  • The words of Philip Schaff are noteworthy here, presenting a reality as well as vision of unity based on truth in love, which requires separation from those who are contrary to it in heart and doctrine

    To an outside spectator, especially to a Romanist and to an infidel, Protestantism presents the aspect of a religious chaos or anarchy which must end in dissolution.

    But a calm review of the history of the last three centuries and the present condition of Christendom leads to a very different conclusion. It is an undeniable fact that Christianity has the strongest hold upon the people and displays the greatest vitality and energy at home and abroad, in English-speaking countries, where it is most divided into denominations and sects. A comparison of England with Spain, or Scotland with Portugal, or the United States with Mexico and Peru or Brazil, proves the advantages of living variety over dead uniformity. Division is an element of weakness in attacking a consolidated foe, but it also multiplies the missionary, educational, and converting agencies. Every Protestant denomination has its own field of usefulness, and the cause of Christianity itself would be seriously weakened and contracted by the extinction of any one of them.

    Nor should we overlook the important fact, that the differences which divide the various Protestant denominations are not fundamental, and that the articles of faith in which they agree are more numerous than those in which they disagree. All accept the inspired Scriptures as the supreme rule of faith and practice, salvation by grace, and we may say every article of the Apostles’ Creed; while in their views of practical Christianity they unanimously teach that our duties are comprehended in the royal law of love to God and to our fellow-men, and that true piety and virtue consist in the imitation of the example of Christ, the Lord and Saviour of all. More

  • To which may be added a profession, perhaps too positive, but which describes what can be the norm. In a pamphlet for Europeans titled Information to Those Who Would Remove to America (1754), Benjamin Franklin wrote,

    “ ...serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced. Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems to have manifested His approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness by which the different sects treat each other, and by the remarkable prosperity with which He has been please to favor the whole country. — John Gould Curtis, American history told by contemporaries .... Volume 3, p. 26

  • Also of interest, Disagreements under different models of supreme authority TOC

    Note on the integrity of this study

    This comparison was issued in response to many Roman Catholics group asserting the supremacy of their church while denigrating others, which I knew research showed otherwise. The response to the import of these stats by such Catholics has often to attack the integrity of these sources (and any and all that impugn Roman Catholicism) as having an agenda to malign their church. While I am quite aware of a liberal media bias, I do not think that is the cause behind surveys showing moral declension among Catholics, which even voting pattrns how, and the idea that multiplicity of survey groups would conspired to portray Catholicism as more liberal in contrast to evangelicals is both unsubstantiated and incongruous. Instead, as these stats basically manifest a overall consistency from many established sources, even including some that were commissioned by Roman Catholic orgs and which also testify to overall declension in both, I would be suspicious of any that show much variance from the norm. In the case of stats on Catholic understanding the “Eucharist” where I found a marked deviation (apparently due to the survey's wording) I provided other surveys which attest to those variations.

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