Sunday, April 09, 2006

Most don't believe in the resurrection - 04/09/06 - The Detroit News

Most don't believe in the resurrection - 04/09/06 - The Detroit News:
"Most Americans don't believe they will experience a resurrection of their bodies after they die, putting them at odds with a core teaching of Christianity.

The findings of a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll surprised and dismayed some of the nation's top theologians since it seems to put Americans in conflict with the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed, ancient statements of faith meant to unify Christian belief...."
Note here that the question was not "the resurrection of Christ", but "the resurrection of the body", although it seems odd to me that one could believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but have difficulties with resurrection of the body at some future time. Or for that matter any number of "lesser" miracles.

These numbers seemed a little suspect, since I recalled different numbers from polls that are published on a regular basis regarding belief in the United States. A quick Google search turned up a number of hits, and a 2005 Harris poll on "The Religious and Other Beliefs of Americans 2005" was second on the list (after "Most Americans believe in Ghosts"). These results paint a different picture, including some interesting blends of Christian and non-Christian beliefs among people who identify themselves as "Christian". In this poll 889 US adults were surveyed.

A 2003 Harris Poll that asked similar questions of 2201 US adults, but broke the results down in a different way, is also available. In this poll, Table 3 separates Christians and non-Christians in their responses:

ELEVEN BELIEFS – BY CHRISTIANS AND OTHERS

"Please indicate for each one if you believe in it, or not."


Total

Christian

Non-Christian


%

%

%

God

90

99

58

Survival of the soul after death

84

92

63

Miracles

84

93

54

Heaven

82

95

44

The resurrection of Christ

80

96

26

The Virgin birth (Jesus born of Mary)

77

93

27

Hell

69

82

30

The devil

68

82

26

Ghosts

51

50

48

Astrology

31

27

35

Reincarnation – that you were once another person

27

21

40


Statistics is not an exact science, but asking the right questions goes a long way toward providing useful results.


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2 comments:

Classical Presbyterian said...

This goes along with what Tom Long observed, that most Americans are really Gnostics themselves!

You hear it all the time at funerals: "Well, she's not there anymore" (as they point to the casket.) What they mean is now the body does not mattter, for the 'spirit' or 'soul' is in some new place...no longer needing the body. That's pretty Gnostic to me!

Denis Hancock said...

I had never thought of it that way.

Do they mean "the body, for now, is irrelevant" or do they mean "her soul is now free of its corrupt prison"?