Poll: 52% of evangelical Christians believe religious institutions foreswearing traditional beliefs

by Will Tubbs

Matt Bush, FISM News

A new Rasmussen survey shows that a majority of Americans believe that religious institutions are abandoning or watering down traditional beliefs.

The poll was a national telephone and online survey of 1,056 adults in the U.S. between April 9 and April 11 that included “25% Evangelical Christians, 21% Catholic and 16% identified as Protestant. 3% of participants identified as Jewish and 1% identified as Muslim. Another 17% identified as some other religious faith, while another 12% said they were atheists.” 

According to the poll, 75% of respondents said faith is important to their everyday lives, up from 71% in 2018. 

However, 65% of respondents, including 52% of evangelical Christians either agreed or strongly agreed with a follow-up question that read,  “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: Too many religious institutions nowadays are watering down or abandoning their traditional beliefs?” 

The poll shows that political affiliation is correlated with a person’s faith with 55% of Republicans, 49% of Democrats, and 44% of unaffiliated adults considering their faith to be “very important” in their daily lives.

Income also shaped a person’s faith as Americans earning less than $100,000 annually were more likely to consider their faith “very important” while 64% of those earning less than $30,000 per year said the same.


Polls like the one from Rasmussen are good at pointing out issues, revealing trends, and helping people to understand the direction in which the world is moving. They often reach their limit when the question turns to “why,” and sometimes that is the most important question to ask.

Past articles from FISM point to some of the reasons that the message of Christianity may seem watered down to many. 

An article from January highlighted the phenomenon of Christians being more distracted from the root message of Christianity.  Another FISM article shows that Pastors say comfort and security are the idols that hold the most influence over their congregations. This is in direct agreement with the role that the Rasmussen Poll says income plays in a person’s faith.

Another article states that only 13% of professing Christians tithe consistently while yet a different FISM article shows that 56% of Christians believe their faith is a “private matter” rather than something to be shared.

As America turns to social media, politics, and the idol of comfort and security, the message of the church continues to be watered down. As people turn to a “private” faith that is never described nor prescribed in the Bible, they miss out on the relationships with other Christians that are meant to build them up and hold them accountable.

There are two mistakes people make when a new poll like this comes out about the church. Some disbelieve the results and choose instead to believe that everything is fine, while others point to the results to show that the church is failing and use it as an excuse to continue living apart from a body of believers.

A daily devotional from the Billy Graham training center summarizes the dangers of watered-down beliefs: “A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity that has produced an anemic, watered-down, and spineless Christian who is not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue. We must have a virile, dynamic, aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die, if necessary, for his faith. We need Christians who are ethical, honest, gracious, bold, strong, and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.”