New polling of religious Americans suggests a majority understand basic beliefs but they are otherwise all over the theological map.
At the same time you're reading that atheism is on the rise and the U.S. is fleeing churches, a survey by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research finds nearly seven in ten Americans still believe God is perfect and two thirds believe the resurrection of Jesus was an actual historical event.
But when it comes to some of the more difficult truths of the gospel, Americans in general and even evangelicals are slipping. Half of evangelicals, for example, believe God accepts the worship of all religions.
The "State of Theology" survey is done every two years, Ligonier explains on its website, to take the "theological temperature" of the U.S.
Scott McConnell of Lifeway tells OneNewsNow the respondents were quick to agree with the "core elements" of biblical Christianity.
"But if there's any hint that that might involve them," he adds, "a lot of people back off."
Fifty-five percent of evangelicals believe that while everyone sins a little, most people are good by nature.
McConnell says that mirrors others in the survey.
"We grow up telling every kid that they're a good kid," he observes, "and that carries through all the way to our beliefs about God and theology: two-thirds of Americans agree that everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature."
Steve Lawson of Ligonier Ministries says young people seem to be abandoning some important cultural and theological battles of the day.
"When you look at some of the hot-button social issues --- gender identity, same-sex issues --- the millennials are out there," he says, "at one point eight percent ahead of the general population in a wrong answer on the issue of gender identity."