Researchers for Pew's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey analyzed the religious practices of more than 35,000 U.S. adults and found that while they embrace their own faith, they also respect and sometimes practice parts of other religions. John Green, a spokesman for the study said that "Many religions—maybe even most—can be perceived as having an exclusivity clause: We're right and therefore everybody else is wrong. What we've found is that many Americans apparently don't invoke the exclusivity clause."
In fact the study found that more than half of evangelical respondents said that many religions can lead to eternal life, despite the central evangelical belief that Jesus is the only way to God. Twenty-nine percent of Catholics see God as an impersonal force, even though the Catholic Catechism teaches that "the faith of all Christians" rests on the belief in God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One in five self-described atheists, whose main tenet is to reject belief in God, say they believe in God or a universal spirit.
"I think it really underscores the sense that the issue with religion in America is not that Americans don't believe in anything, it's that they believe in everything," said Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University in Houston. "Religion is 3,000 miles wide, but it's only three inches deep."