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Pastors See Alternative Faiths Gaining Influence

November 09, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

A large majority of Protestant pastors surveyed predict that non-Christian religions and New Age spirituality will become more influential in the next decade.

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

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

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

Just over a quarter of ministers predict that Christianity will be more influential in Americans' daily lives in 2012 than it is in 2002. Forty-one percent predict decreasing influence and 33% expect it to remain about the same.

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

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