The CNN website has this story: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth’s age. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Interesting, but not surprising if it comes from the Southern Baptist Convention. The poll may or may not conflict with the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution, and it’s difficult to compare this with the results of The Clergy Letter Project, a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 12,000 Christian clergymen. It all depends on the denominations involved. Here’s more:
When asked if “God used evolution to create people,” 73% of pastors disagreed – 64% said they strongly disagreed – compared to 12% who said they agree.
Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.
Well, whatcha gonna do? Let’s read on:
The Southern Baptist Convention survey, which queried 1,000 American Protestant pastors, also found that 74% believe the biblical Adam and Eve were literal people.
Who conducted this poll? Ah, they say:
“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a report on LifeWay’s site. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”
The CNN article doesn’t break the results down by denomination. But apparently the respondents weren’t all Southern Baptists. We’re told this:
The phone survey was conducted in May 2011, sampling ministers from randomly selected Protestant churches. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, LifeWay said.
So we went to the LifeWay website and found this: Poll: Pastors oppose evolution, split on earth’s age. It’s dated today. They say:
When asked to respond to the statement, “I believe God used evolution to create people,” 73 percent of pastors disagree, with 64 percent strongly disagreeing and 8 percent somewhat disagreeing. Twelve percent each somewhat agree and strongly agree. Four percent are not sure.
In response to the statement, “I believe Adam and Eve were literal people,” 74 percent strongly agree and 8 percent somewhat agree. Six percent somewhat disagree, 11 percent strongly disagree and 1 percent are not sure.
Here are some quotes we plucked from various places in the LifeWay article:
[A]bout one in five pastors agree that most of their congregation believes in evolution.
Pastors in the Northeast are more likely than their counterparts in any other region to strongly agree that God used evolution to create people. While 25 percent of Northeastern pastors strongly agree, only 13 percent in the West, 12 percent in the Midwest and 8 percent in the South feel similarly.
Pastors who consider themselves Mainline are more likely than Evangelicals to believe in evolution. Among those identifying themselves as Mainline, 25 percent strongly agree that God used evolution to create humans. Only 8 percent of Evangelicals strongly agree.
Pastors who indicate they are Evangelical are more likely than their Mainline colleagues to strongly agree that Adam and Eve were literal people (82 percent vs. 50 percent).
In response to the statement, “I believe the earth is approximately 6,000 years old,” 34 percent of pastors strongly disagree. However, 30 percent strongly agree. Nine percent somewhat disagree, and 16 percent somewhat agree.
We still don’t see any statistical breakdown among denominations, so it’s impossible to reach any reliable conclusions about Protestants generally. There’s one footnote about methodology, which says:
The phone survey, conducted in May 2011, sampled randomly selected Protestant churches. Each interview was conducted with the senior pastor, minister or priest of the church called and responses were weighted to reflect the geographic distribution of Protestant churches. The completed sample of 1,000 phone interviews provides a 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed ±3.2 percent. Margins of error are higher in subgroups.
You can click over there to read the rest. As we said, it’s interesting, but not surprising. And it’s not as informative as it could have been.
See also: Ken Ham Is Furious Over Clergy Poll.
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