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Half of protestant pastors agree with Franklin Graham’s view that Islam is an “evil” religion, according to a new LifeWay Research survey. Most pastors have a negative view of the religion overall.

The study proposed a variety of questions about the differences between Christianity and Islam and then offered negative and positive descriptors. According to Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, pastors “consistently chose the negative descriptions.”

In the headlining question, pastors were asked to describe which is more accurate: Graham’s widely reported comment that Islam is “a very evil and a very wicked religion,” or former President George W. Bush’s remark that “the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion.” Some 47 percent agreed with Graham’s statement, and 12 percent agreed with both.

In other statements on the survey, 68 percent of pastors strongly disagreed that “Christians and Muslims pray to the same God.” Some 82 percent said that Islam is “fundamentally different from Christianity,” and 42 percent believe that the religion “promotes violence.”

“We should not say that Protestant pastors are uniform in their view and in no way does this study show they think that Muslims are bad people, but it does show concerns about the religion and its impact,” said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research. [, 4/23/10]

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