If you're Jewish, Catholic or Evangelical, you're one of the three most highly regarded religions in the U.S., according to a Pew survey. Atheists and Muslims score considerably lower, while agnostics and atheists rank Buddhists higher than any other group. It's hard to keep track, so here's a scorecard.
The Pew survey used a "feeling thermometer" to gauge how members of religious groups regard each other. A rating of 100 degrees means people feel as warm and positive as possible, zero means people feel as cold and negative as possible, and 50 degrees represents people who don't feel particularly positive or negative toward a group.
The results? Attitudes among religious groups toward each other range from mutual regard to unrequited positive feelings to mutual coldness. Catholics and Evangelicals generally view each other warmly. White Evangelical Protestants give Catholics an average thermometer rating of 63; Catholics rate evangelicals at 57. Evangelicals also hold very positive views of Jews, with white Evangelical Protestants giving Jews an average thermometer rating of 69. But that warmth is not mutual: Jews tend to give Evangelicals a much cooler rating (34 on average).
Among the other notable findings:
Atheists give largely positive ratings to several non-Christian religious groups, including Buddhists (who receive an average rating of 69 from atheists), Jews (61) and Hindus (58). Atheists tend to give much cooler ratings to Muslims and the Christian groups asked about in the survey.
Knowing someone from a religious group is linked with having relatively more positive views of that group. Those who say they know someone who is Jewish, for example, give Jews an average thermometer rating of 69, compared with a rating of 55 among those who say they do not know anyone who is Jewish. Atheists receive a neutral rating of 50, on average, from people who say they personally know an atheist, but they receive a cold rating of 29 from those who do not know an atheist. Similarly, Muslims get a neutral rating (49 on average) from those who know a Muslim, and a cooler rating (35) from those who do not know a Muslim.