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I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

13 April 2009

Painting the Cross by numbers

I read 3 very interesting stories about Christianity on our continent today. Each of the articles are worth a full read... but here's a taste.

Canada is Christian, most believe: Poll
By Misty Harris, Canwest News Service

The survey, conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National, found roughly six in 10 Canadians (58 per cent) identified the country as Christian. Among those who believe in God, 61 per cent think Canada is a Christian nation, while fully 48 per cent of non-believers feel that way.

Although the poll found just 58 per cent of Canadians ``definitely believe in God'' - down from 64 per cent in 2003 - Hexham believes we're nonetheless a country with ``very strong Christian ties.''

The researchers they talked to in the article were shocked because it seemed that Canadians were relating Christianity to tolerance... and it sounds like they found THAT offensive. Ha. It's fascinating how desperate segments of society are to paint the church as angry and obsolete.

The End of Christian America By Jon Meacham| NEWSWEEK

In the new Newsweek poll, fewer people now think of the United States as a "Christian nation" than did so when George W. Bush was president (62 percent in 2009 versus 69 percent in 2008). Two thirds of the public (68 percent) now say religion is "losing influence" in American society, while just 19 percent say religion's influence is on the rise. The proportion of Americans who think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at a historic low of 48 percent. During the Bush 43 and Clinton years, that figure never dropped below 58 percent.

The term, "Post-Christian America" is bandied-about in this article. People have been trying to put the final nail in the "God coffin" for century's. Nietzsche, in the 19th-century pronounced "God is dead".

Actually it struck me on the weekend while watching the Ten Commandments that God gets His way... using whatever method necessary. When Yul Brynner sent Heston into the desert (to die basically) he said something like, "I won't kill you to become a martyr (like they did eventually with Jesus), so your people can rally around your death. I'll let the desert kill you and it will on your God's hands"

Aaaaand God seemed to make it through just fine thank you. My hunch is, He's still interested in hanging around.

Most American Christians Do not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist
The Barna Group

Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.

Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.

These stats fascinate me. Really... they do. There certainly are a lot of religious idiosyncrasies that the church is (thankfully) in the process of overcoming, but these things are VITAL to understanding the very basis of why we identify ourselves as Christians.

It makes very little sense to accept a faith, and then ignore what it believes. Apathy, lukewarmness and ignorance of spiritual warfare are some of the great cons of our time that are running rough-shot through "the church" these days.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Those definitely are interesting stats. In terms of what you say about the last one, though...about Satan and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I would think that the discrepancy between those agreeing and those disagreeing with the statements would be a clear reflection of the mainline (moderate/liberal) denominations vs. the evangelical (conservative) denominations. Mainline churches typically have a fundamentally different way of interpreting the Bible as a whole, and I don't think it's necessarily fair to just say that they're "ignoring what it believes." I think they'd say the same thing about you. And I don't think the accusation of lukewarmness is a fair one. Certainly there are many lukewarm liberal Christians, but there are also plenty of lukewarm conservative ones. As I said, it's more of a fundamentally different way of looking at the same faith rather than a matter of apathy.

Coming from a conservative background myself, I'll just say that understanding the liberal denominations was a difficult thing. They put more importance on the meaning and the truth behind the Bible rather than the literal words printed on the page. It's worth some investigation if you're not that familiar with it - I don't know if you are or aren't, I just know that it's a little difficult for the two sides to wrap their heads around the other's.

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