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I meant to write about this the other day, when it came out, but have been so busy that you have probably read this in numerous places elsewhere, and here at Patheos. A BBC survey has looked at Christians’ beliefs concerning the Resurrection, and there are some pretty interesting results. As the BBC states:

The survey suggested:

  • 17% of all people believe the Bible version word-for-word
  • 31% of Christians believe word-for-word the Bible version, rising to 57% among “active” Christians (those who go to a religious service at least once a month)
  • Exactly half of all people surveyed did not believe in the resurrection at all
  • 46% of people say they believe in some form of life after death and 46% do not
  • 20% of non-religious people say they believe in some form of life after death
  • 9% of non-religious people believe in the Resurrection, 1% of whom say they believe it literally

Reverend Dr Lorraine Cavanagh is the acting general secretary for Modern Church, which promotes liberal Christian theology.

She said: “I think [people answering the survey] are being asked to believe in the way they might have been asked to believe when they were at Sunday school.

“You’re talking about adults here. And an adult faith requires that it be constantly questioned, constantly re-interpreted, which incidentally is very much what Modern Church is actually about.

“Science, but also intellectual and philosophical thought has progressed. It has a trickle-down effect on just about everybody’s lives.

“So to ask an adult to believe in the resurrection the way they did when they were at Sunday school simply won’t do and that’s true of much of the key elements of the Christian faith.”

Other informative stats were:
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It is worth noting that of active Christians, some 15% don’t believe in life after death. This might show that a non-significant number of Christians who go to church, only do so out of ritual, without a particularly fervent belief. I wonder what the stats for this would be in the US, where belief is wrapped up in social networks, and not turning u to church is a social crime.

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Those who self-identify as Christians, it can be argued, are largely nominal, perhaps. From my own personal experience of faith as an adolescent, and also of other people I talk to, the theological understanding underpinning people’s faith is often thoroughly erroneous and naive.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...