Jesus Culture Survey: Faith in Jesus Christ still Lives

Barna Research Group surveys Jesus Culture: Faith in Jesus Christ is not dead, but the youth are wavering

Barna probes: Does America really know Jesus?

Michael F. Haverluck

keyWith 317 million people in America, Kinnaman finds it encouraging to know that nearly half proclaim to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

 

bible-cross-flagWith Bible-themed movies and programs hitting the big screen and flat screen in unprecedented numbers over the past few years, one Christian research company set to find out what Americans really believe about Jesus Christ.

Acknowledging the uptick in America’s interest in the Bible and the Christian faith, the Barna Group discovered a number of clear indications to take America’s true spiritual temperature — outside of the box office and Nielsen Ratings.

“On Sunday, March 29, National Geographic Channel premiered its adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus to 3.7 million viewers — the channel’s biggest audience in history,” Barna reports. “CNN’s Finding Jesus miniseries has also sustained impressive viewership. Google searches of Jesus Christ climbed by 53 percent in the week leading up to Easter.”

Central to Barna’s latest research, the Ventura, California-based Christian organization set out to find five popular perceptions Americans have about Jesus.

Is Jesus a real person?

JesusinfieldBarna’s first observation asserts that “the vast majority of Americans believe Jesus was a real person.”

“Jesus Christ has made a cameo in hundreds of pop culture places, from The Da Vinci Code to South Park,” researchers attest. “But, although the character of Jesus has certainly been fictionalized, satirized and mythologized over the centuries, the vast majority of Americans still maintain that he was a historical figure.”

And they have the numbers to prove it.

“More than nine out of 10 adults say Jesus Christ was a real person who actually lived (92 percent),” Barna continues. “While the percentages dip slightly among younger generations — only 87 percent of Millennials (born between 1984 and 2002) agree Jesus actually lived — Americans are still very likely to believe the man, Jesus Christ, once walked the earth.”

Due to the increasing secular influences in America at all levels, Barna found that the older the generation, the more people believe in the historical account of Jesus as a man who walked on earth. Here’s the breakdown: Elders (born in 1945 or before) ─ 96 percent; Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) ─ 95 percent; and Gen-Xers (born between 1965 and 1983) ─ 91 percent.

Is Jesus God?

Barna also found that “younger generations are increasingly less likely to believe Jesus was God.”

“The historicity of Jesus may not be in question for most Americans, but people are much less confident in the divinity of Jesus,” Barna asserts. “Most adults — not quite six in 10 — believe Jesus was God (56 percent), while about one-quarter say he was only a religious or spiritual leader like Mohammed or the Buddha (26 percent). The remaining one in six say they aren’t sure whether Jesus was divine (18 percent).”

Breaking it down by age group, Barna shows a familiar pattern.

“Millennials are the only generation among whom fewer than half believe Jesus was God (48 percent),” researchers found. “About one-third of young adults (35 percent) say instead that Jesus was merely a religious or spiritual leader, while 17 percent aren’t sure what he was. In each older generation, the belief in Jesus as divine is more common — 55 percent of Gen-Xers, 58 percent of Boomers, and nearly two-thirds of Elders (62 percent) believe Jesus was God.”

A sinless Jesus?

Temptation of Christ by Carl Bloch

Temptation of Christ by Carl Bloch

Extrapolating on Jesus’ divine nature, Barna asked participants nationwide whether they believe he was perfect in the eyes of God. Results show that Americans are split when it comes to whether they believe Jesus was a sinless man.

“Perhaps reflective of their questions about Jesus’ divinity, Americans are conflicted on whether Jesus committed sins during his earthly life,” the report points out. “About half of Americans agree, either strongly or somewhat, that while he lived on earth, Jesus Christ was human and committed sins like other people (52 percent). Just less than half disagree, either strongly or somewhat, that Jesus committed sins while on earth (46 percent), and two percent aren’t sure.”

True to form, the youngest sector of American adults is the most skeptical about Jesus’ sinless life.

“Similar to other trends in perceptions of Jesus, Millennials are more likely to believe Jesus committed sins while he was on earth — 56 percent of Millennials believe so,” the results indicate. “Gen-Xers, Boomers and Elders are all similar to the national average when it comes to beliefs about Jesus’ fallibility — they are almost evenly split on whether Jesus sinned while he lived on earth.”

Crunching the numbers further, a lower 49 percent of Gen-Xers believe Jesus sinned, compared to 52 percent of Boomers and 52 percent of Elders.

Committed to Christ?

Jesus-calling-the-fishermenWhen it comes to trusting in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, most Americans proclaim that they have made a personal commitment to him.

“On the whole, America is still committed to Jesus,” Barna attests. “The act of making a personal commitment to Jesus — often seen as the ‘first step’ in becoming a Christian — is a step that more than six in 10 Americans say they have taken and, moreover, that commitment is still important in their life today.”

Barna found that more groups are likely to commit to Christ than others.

“Women, for example, are more likely than men to have made a personal commitment to Jesus (68 percent compared to 56 percent, respectively),” the researcher divulged. “White Americans are the least likely ethnic group to have committed to Jesus: only six in 10 white Americans report having done so (60 percent), compared to eight in 10 black Americans (80 percent) and nearly two-thirds of all non-white Americans (65 percent).”

The research also shows the truth behind the Bible verse 1 Timothy 6:10, which says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”

“The more money people make, the less likely they are to have committed to Jesus,” Barna explained. “Those making more than $100K per year are significantly less likely (53 percent) to have made such a commitment than those making between $50K and $100K (63 percent) or those making less than $50K (65 percent).

And just as more money is an indicator of less faith, fewer years signifies less of a commitment to Christ.

“And, of course, Millennials are much less likely than any other group to have made a personal commitment to Jesus that is still important in their life today,” the researchers argue. “Fewer than half of Millennials say they have made such a commitment (46 percent), compared to six in 10 Gen-Xers (59 percent), two-thirds of Boomers (65 percent) and seven in 10 Elders (71 percent).”

Faith or good works?

The fifth and final indicator to gauge Americans’ take on Jesus Christ focused on their beliefs about what is required to join him in eternity.

lightofchrist“People are conflicted between ‘Jesus’ and ‘Good Deeds’ as the way to heaven,” the research points out. “Among adults who have made a personal commitment to Jesus, most also believe that Jesus is the way to heaven.”

The majority of Americans believe that Jesus is the only way.

“When given several beliefs about the afterlife to choose from, nearly two-thirds of those who have made a personal commitment to Jesus say they believe that after they die they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior (63 percent),” Barna divulged.

jesusforgivemed“Only two percent of adults who report a personal commitment to Jesus say they will not go to heaven. About one in seven admit they don’t know what will happen after they die (15 percent).”

However, only about 40 percent of Americans have repented of their sins and asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior as born-again Christians. Here’s what Barna found when broken down by age groups.

“Millennials are less likely to believe that Jesus is the path to heaven than are other generations,” Barna stated. “Among Millennials who have made a personal commitment to Jesus, only 56 percent say they believe they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. This percentage climbs to two-thirds of Gen-Xers (64 percent), six in 10 Boomers (62 percent) and nearly seven in 10 among Elders (68 percent).”

Paying little heed to the Apostle Paul’s exhortation that one is saved by faith in Christ and not by good works, many Americans still believe that being a good person or doing good deeds earns one’s way to heaven.

“Many adults believe, however, that they will go to heaven as a result of their good works,” Barna found. “Broadly speaking, this is the most common perception among Americans who have never made a commitment to Jesus — and it is also quite common among self-identified Christians. In this category, people believe they will go to heaven because they have tried to obey the Ten Commandments (5 percent), as a result of being basically a good person (8 percent), or on the grounds that God loves all people and will not let them perish (7 percent).”

bible-cross2A look at the results

Barna Group president David Kinnaman says his findings indicate that America is not as post-Christian as the media, entertainment industry, and education system proclaim.

“There isn’t much argument about whether Jesus Christ actually was a historical person, but nearly everything else about his life generates enormous, and sometimes rancorous, debate,” Kinnaman contends. “[These findings, however,] demonstrate the strong degree to which Jesus remains embedded in the minds of Americans.”

With 317 million people in America, Kinnaman finds it encouraging to know that nearly half proclaim to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

“This study also shows the extent of Christian commitment in the nation — more than 150 million Americans say they have professed faith in Christ,” Kinnaman continues. “This impressive number begs the question of how well this commitment is expressed. As much of our previous research shows, Americans’ dedication to Jesus is, in most cases, a mile wide and an inch deep.”

YouthGoodbyeDespite the relatively high number of Americans proclaiming to believe in Jesus Christ, Kinnaman is concerned that America’s youngest generation of adults is increasingly finding other places to put their hope and faith.

“Many of the institutional, cultural and familial tendons that connect young adults to life in Christ are stretching,” Kinnaman concludes. “Much has been made about whether Millennials will get more serious about church and faith as they age, but the fact is younger Americans are not as connected as older generations are to Christ.

Jesus is a friend of sinners, but many Millennials are ‘unfriending’ him at a time when their lives are being shaped and their trajectories set toward the future.”

http://onenewsnow.com/culture/2015/04/09/barna-probes-does-america-really-know-jesus#.VTE4IPD4Hkc

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One comment on “Jesus Culture Survey: Faith in Jesus Christ still Lives

  1. SELECTIVE “FAITH ONLY” SALVATION BY STEVE FINNELL

    FAITH ONLY BELIEVERS IN CHRIST DENY THAT THE NEW COVENANT PLAN OF SALVATION WAS NOT IN EFFECT UNTIL AFTER THE DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS. (THAT WOULD BE ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST) IN ORDER TO BE SAVED WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS. (WATER BAPTISM) THEY PROCLAIM THAT THEY CAN BE SAVED LIKE THE THIEF ON THE CROSS. (LUKE 23:39-43)
    IF MEN TODAY CAN BE SAVED LIKE, THE THIEF ON THE CROSS, THEN WHY CAN THEY NOT BE SAVED LIKE, THE RICH YOUNG RULER?

    LUKE 18:18-22 A RULER QUESTIONED HIM, SAYING, “GOOD TEACHER, WHAT MUST I DO TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE?” 19 JESUS SAID TO HIM, “WHY DO YOU CALL ME GOOD? NO ONE IS GOOD EXCEPT GOD ALONE. 20 YOU KNOW THE COMMANDMENTS, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ 21 AND HE SAID, “ALL THESE THINGS I HAVE KEPT FROM MY YOUTH.” 22 WHEN JESUS HEARD THIS, HE SAID TO HIM, “ONE THING YOU STILL LACK; SELL ALL THAT YOU POSSESS AND DISTRIBUTE IT TO THE POOR, AND YOU SHALL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN; COME AND FOLLOW ME.”

    WHAT WAS THE RICH MAN’S PLAN OF SALVATION?

    The rich man’s question was what must I do to inherit eternal life?

    1. Do not commit adultery.
    2. Do not murder.
    3. Do not steal.
    4. Do not bear false witness.
    5. Honor your father and mother.
    6. Sell all your possessions and distribute them to the poor.

    Jesus said do this and you shall have treasure in heaven.

    Can men today be saved by, the rich man’s plan of salvation? OF COURSE NOT!

    Can men today be saved by, the thief on the cross plan of salvation? OF COURSE NOT!

    The apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon under the New Covenant on the Day of Pentecost.

    THE NEW COVENANT PLANT OF SALVATION
    1. FAITH: John 3:16
    2. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38
    3. CONFESSION Romans 10:9-10
    4. WATER BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16, Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:1-7, Colossians 2:12-13.

    (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
    .
    Posted by Steve Finnell at 2:55 AM No comments:
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