Check this out, what do you all think of the results and findings?
The 5 bullet points are:
1. The Vast Majority of Americans Believe Jesus Was a Real Person
2. Younger Generations Are Increasingly Less Likely to Believe Jesus Was God
3. Americans Are Divided on Whether Jesus Was Sinless
4. Most Americans Say They Have Made a Commitment to Jesus Christ
5. People Are Conflicted between “Jesus” and “Good Deeds” as the Way to Heaven
I find this all vey interesting but have to add my own comments after reading the Barna org. information.
1. The vast majority of Americans believe that Jesus was a real person. I was one of them as a believer, but the older I get and the more I study the more doubt I have of this. In fact, early Christianity would have been see as an offshoot of Judaism by the Romans and the organization of books that became the bible and Christianity as a religion now appear to me as having come from Constantine. Cherry picking came early as they chose the books they wanted and threw away the ones they did not.
2. Younger generations are increasingly less likely to believe that Jesus was god. This is absolutely true along with the fact that they are more likely not to be religious at all. Information is easier to come by today and right wing fundamentalists know this. It's no coincidence that they want their people to "avoid the Internet." The Internet is helping to bring about the death of god.
3. Americans are divided on whether Jesus was sinless. He would remain sinless only if he was god, and if he was god, why did he not give us something that we could use and also something that would prove he was devine at a later time? All we have are platitudes and hollow sayings. Most of the recordings of these are different also depending on which source you read them from. The gospels are not the same. How do you know what Jesus said or did?
4. Most Americans say they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ. Indeed, Evangelicals and Pentecostals claim that they talk to him every day. My old church friend of over 50 years claims he talks to god and Jesus all the time. As a one time believer I made that claim too, but today I have to admit that they never did talk back. People of certain sects or denominations "talk to god" because it is expected of them. They want to appear "normal" within their belief. My friend even tells me often that he "has favor with god." What does it mean? Of course Christians think they are better than you. They always did think that.
5. People are conflicted between Jesus and good deeds as the way to heaven. This is the conflict of "the bible way" and "I'm a good person" argument. What I find amazing about it is that everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody knows anything about heaven. We hear of streets of gold, a gate, and how god takes care of all our needs there. We sing praises to god forever , and the direction to heaven is UP. When you have a round planet earth this makes heaven impossible. Where is heaven? The best I can tell you is that it made a lot of sense to people thousands of years ago. Less sense today.
Believers want to put their god in another realm or dimension and yet have that being interact with us in our world. Even if this was possible there would be some evidence of it in our realm and there is none. All evidence of god amounts to zero.
I personally believe the story of Jesus was an invention to confirm the prophecy of the Christ. The first official written Roman acknowledgement of Jesus was (so I've been led to believe), 100 years after his death, everything else being religious gospels and the like. Likewise there is no contemporary Egyptian evidence of anyone called Jesus Christ.
Walking on water, feeding 40,000 people with a bag of fish. and raising the dead, are no everyday occurrence, news of these feats would spread faster than the pony express could carry them. The fact that they never reached official pagan authority has to seriously compromise their credibility, and consequently the whole new testament story: Jesus included.
It presupposes the existence of Jesus.
It seems to me that everything presupposes the existence of Jesus and that is the problem. Name anything that isn't working for any person in the world today and the believers would instantly say "the problem is that Jesus is missing." Christians think Jesus is the great "fix it." Could this be why Christopher Hitchens said "religion spoils everything?" I think so.
There needs to be a blog done explaining this peril but I don't have the skill to do it. (I'll bet Amanda could do it.) :)
I think a lot of those figures are too high. I don't think that many people are true believers. I think quite a few just say what they think they are expected to say.