Pew Reports on “warmness and coldness” between faith groups

Americans tend to have the warmest feelings toward Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians and the coldest feelings towards atheists and Muslims, according to new Pew Research Center survey results released today.

The survey asked Americans to rate religious groups on what was called a “feeling thermometer” from zero to 100, with zero being the “coldest” and 100 being the “warmest.”

Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians were on rated 60 or higher. Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons had neutral ratings that ranged from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. Atheists and Muslim were respectively rated 41 and 40.

At least 40 percent of Americans rated both atheists and Muslims the coldest, which was at 33 and below.

Pew researchers also found that groups tended to be rated the best by people who shared the same religious background. Catholics on average rated Catholics at 80, but non-Catholics gave Catholics a rating of 58. Evangelicals were similarly highly rated among themselves, but similar percentages of non-evangelicals rated them coldly as did those that rated them warmly.

Pew reported that personally knowing somebody of a certain faith was related toward warmer feelings about that group.

Part of the high ratings of Catholics and evangelicals, Pew said, is that its sample size of 3,217 adults included high numbers of those particular groups. Catholics made up about 20 percent of the survey sample and evangelical Christians made up about 32 percent.

Between religious groups, there was a general pattern of mutually warm and mutually cold feelings, except between white evangelicals and Jews. Evangelicals on average gave Jews a rating of 69, while the average rating Jews gave to them was 34.

The full report, which also includes results broken down by race, age group and political party, is available on Pew’s website.


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