For some time now I've been questioning the view, associated with Karen Armstrong among others, that religion isn't mainly about belief, but rather about practice. Some might even think I've been questioning it to the point of tedium (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Anyway, here Julian Baggini summarizes one of the results of a survey he's conducted (acknowledging, it should be added, the survey's limitations from a methodological point of view):
So what is the headline finding? It is that whatever some might say about religion being more about practice than belief, more praxis than dogma, more about the moral insight of mythos than the factual claims of logos, the vast majority of churchgoing Christians appear to believe orthodox doctrine at pretty much face value. They believe that Jesus is divine, not simply an exceptional human being; that his resurrection was a real, bodily one; that he performed miracles no human being ever could; that he needed to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven; and that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. On many of these issues, a significant minority are uncertain but in all cases it is only a small minority who actively disagree, or even just tend to disagree. As for the main reason they go to church, it is not for reflection, spiritual guidance or to be part of a community, but overwhelmingly in order to worship God.
This is, I think, a firm riposte to those who dismiss atheists, especially the "new" variety, as being fixated on the literal beliefs associated with religion rather than ethos or practice.