Positive views among U.S. adults toward nearly all religious groups increased from 2014 to 2017, according to the Pew Research Center.

There was an average 6 percent increase in positive views of all religions included in the survey.

Atheists moved from 41 percent positive (2014) to 50 percent (2017), Muslims 40 to 48 percent, Hindus 50 to 58, Buddhists 53 to 60, Mormons 48 to 54, Jews 63 to 67, Catholics 62 to 66, and mainline Protestants 61 to 65.

Evangelical Christians remained stable at 61 percent.

“The increase in mean [average] ratings is broad based. Warmer feelings are expressed by people in all the major religious groups analyzed, as well as by both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and younger and older adults,” Pew commented. “However, the mean ratings given to particular religious groups still vary widely depending on who is being asked.”

Younger adults (aged 18-29) rated all religious groups in a relatively tight grouping – with a high of 66 percent positive (Buddhists) to a low of 54 percent (Mormons).

A wider disparity in responses was seen in older adults.

Respondents aged 30-49 rated Jews most positively (64 percent) and Muslims least positively (47 percent).

By comparison, respondents aged 50-64 ranged from 69 percent (Jews) to 45 percent (Muslims) and those aged 65-plus ranged from 75 percent (mainline Protestants) to 44 percent (atheists and Muslims).

Most religious traditions were at least moderately positive toward other faiths, save for atheists’ and evangelical Christians’ views of one another.

“There are only two groups analyzed who give another group a mean rating of 33 or lower,” Pew explained, “and the chilly feelings are mutual: Atheists rate evangelical Christians at a cold 29 degrees, while white evangelical Protestants place atheists at 33.”

The top four groups (in average positive responses) are Jews (67 percent), Catholics (66), mainline Protestants (65) and evangelical Christians (61).

The full report is available here.

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