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These are among the main findings of a new Pew Research Center survey of 24,599 adults across 15 countries in Western Europe, conducted from April to August 2017 through telephone interviews on both cellphones and landlines.The study, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation, is part of a larger effort by Pew Research Center to understand religious change and its impact on societies around the world.To be sure, Catholics in Western Europe (median of 59%) are more likely than Protestants (median of 47%) to take the traditionally Catholic position that both good deeds and faith in God are necessary for salvation.But even Protestants in every country surveyed except Norway are more likely to say that both elements are necessary for salvation than to take the traditionally Protestant sola fide position.The survey also shows that one of the major theological controversies of the Protestant Reformation no longer starkly divides rank-and-file Catholics and Protestants in Western Europe.
Among both Catholics and Protestants, those who say religion is “very” or “somewhat” important in their lives are more likely than those who say religion is less important to take their own tradition’s position on salvation.
Today, however, Western European Catholic and Protestant laity are no longer starkly divided by this theological issue: More Catholics and Protestants say both faith and good works are necessary to get into heaven than say faith alone leads to salvation.
And considerable shares of both groups do not take a clear position on this issue, perhaps reflecting a lack of familiarity with the theological intricacies.
If one date must be picked as the starting point of the Protestant Reformation, the conventional choice would be Oct.
31, 1517, when Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and university professor in Wittenberg, Germany, publicly posted a lengthy list of academic arguments against Catholic Church practices.