This is an eye opening survey by a reputed (albeit, strongly Christian) foundation. It is important because it reflects opinions of a vast cross-section of top protestant evangelical leaders.
I am reproducing here a small part that talks about Christian evangelicals view of Hindus and Hinduism. I suggest that you click on the link at the bottom to read the report or download the PDF file. There are interesting nuggets on the belief in theory of creation, literal interpretation of Bible, etc. More importantly it brings out majority opinion that environment in “Global South”, i.e., almost all of the world except Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand is conducive to conversion.
Gaurang G. Vaishnav
An excerpt from Pew Forum’s Survey of evangelical leaders
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
These are among the key findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life of 2,196 evangelical leaders from 166 countries and territories who were invited to attend the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization, a 10-day gathering of ministers and lay leaders held in October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. …….
On the whole, the evangelical Protestant leaders express favorable opinions of adherents of other faiths in the Judeo-Christian tradition, including Judaism, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. But of those who express an opinion, solid majorities express unfavorable views of Buddhists (65%), Hindus (65%), Muslims (67%) and atheists (70%). Interestingly, the leaders who live in Muslim-majority countries generally are more positive in their assessments of Muslims than are the evangelical leaders overall.2
Relations with Other Religious Traditions
Historically, the evangelical Protestant tradition was at odds with Catholicism. But the survey shows that evangelical leaders today hold favorable views of Catholics by a more than three-to-one margin, and they perceive Catholics as mostly friendly or neutral toward evangelicals. The leaders express similarly positive views about adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy, the third major historic tradition (alongside Protestantism and Catholicism) within global Christianity.
The evangelical leaders also are favorably disposed toward the century-old renewalist movement known as Pentecostalism. Some evangelical Christian denominations in the U.S. (including the largest, the Southern Baptist Convention) forbid or discourage Pentecostal practices such as speaking in tongues. But the survey finds little friction between the Lausanne delegates and Pentecostal Christians. More than nine-in-ten of the leaders who express an opinion (92%) have a favorable view of Pentecostals, and eight-in-ten (80%) see Pentecostal Christians as friendly toward evangelicals in their country — more than any other group considered. Only 3% say Pentecostals are unfriendly, suggesting there is little tension with this closely related movement or, in the view of some scholars, sub-set of evangelical Protestantism.5
Overall, most of the evangelical leaders report that conflict between religious groups is not a big problem in their home countries. 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. About half of those in the Asia-Pacific region (55%) and sub-Saharan Africa (49%) also see inter-religious conflict as a moderately or very big problem. By contrast, in North America, Latin America and Europe, majorities say it is either a small problem or not a problem at all.6
Still, the survey finds some signs of tension with non-Christian religions, particularly Islam. Nearly seven-in-ten of the evangelical leaders (69%) name Islam as more prone to violence than other religions.7 Far more leaders say Islam and Christianity are “very different” (69%) than say the two faiths have “a lot in common” (25%). And a solid majority of the leaders who express an opinion (69%) feel that Muslims are generally unfriendly toward evangelicals in their country. Sizeable minorities also see Hindus (41%) and Buddhists (39%) as unfriendly toward evangelicals. Of the evangelical leaders who express opinions on other religious groups, most say they hold generally unfavorable views of Hindus (65%), Buddhists (65%) and Muslims (67%).
Jews are the only non-Christian religious group toward which the leaders express generally favorable opinions. Three-quarters have either mostly favorable (60%) or very favorable (16%) views of Jews, even though most do not think those views are reciprocated; 86% think that Jews are either neutral (53%) or unfriendly (33%) toward evangelicals. By a margin of more than three-to-one, most also say that God’s covenant with the Jewish people continues today (73%) rather than that the biblical covenant with the Jewish people no longer applies (22%).
Attitudes toward Israel, however, are more mixed. Overall, 48% of the evangelicals say the state of Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy about the Second Coming of Jesus, while 42% say it is not. More say they sympathize with Israel (34%) than with the Palestinians (11%), but a small majority say they either sympathize with both sides equally (39%) or with neither side (13%). Leaders from sub-Saharan Africa are especially inclined to sympathize with Israel (50%), while sympathy for the Palestinians is strongest in the Middle East and North Africa (26%). Among evangelical leaders from the United States, three-in-ten (30%) sympathize more with Israel, 13% sympathize more with the Palestinians and nearly half (49%) say they sympathize with both sides equally.
The survey also assesses the evangelical leaders’ perceptions of non-religious people. Asked to assess the attitudes of various groups toward evangelical Christians in their country, just 7% say they consider non-religious people to be friendly, while 45% say the non-religious are unfriendly toward evangelicals. And seven-in-ten leaders who answered the question (70%) say they have either a very unfavorable (35%) or mostly unfavorable (35%) opinion of atheists.
POLL June 22, 2011
Download this report:
PDF (1.52MB, 118 pages)
Navigate this page:
About the Survey
The Global South and the Global North
Evangelical Beliefs and Practices
Tensions with Secularism and Modernity
Relations with Other Religious Traditions
Priorities and Strategies for Evangelization
Social and Political Attitudes
Roadmap to the Report