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Should Be Required Reading -- What Christians Believe


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#1 Dave

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 09:40 AM

This latest report on a survey from the Barna Group opens with a chilling message (all emphases mine):

 

We live in a world of competing ideas and worldviews. In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, Christians are more aware of (and influenced by) disparate views than ever. But just how much have other worldviews crept into Christians’ perspectives? Barna’s research shows that only 17 percent of Christians who consider their faith important and attend church regularly actually have a biblical worldview1.

 

This report should be required reading for anyone here who ever uses the phrases, "Christians say ...," "Christians believe ...," "Christians do ...," or "Christians are ..."

 

It goes on:

 

In partnership with Summit Ministries, Barna conducted a study among practicing Christians in America to gauge how much the tenets of other key worldviews—including new spirituality, secularism, postmodernism and Marxism—have influenced Christians’ beliefs about the way the world is and how it ought to be. Barna’s new research found strong agreement with ideas unique to nonbiblical worldviews among practicing Christians. This widespread influence upon Christian thinking is evident not only among competing worldviews, but even among competing religions; for example, nearly four in 10 (38%) practicing Christians are sympathetic to some Muslim teachings.

 

Amazing! These were self-professed, allegedly saved, churchgoing practicing Christians being polled!

 

Not surprisingly, millennials and gen-xers are much more likely to stray from biblical worldviews than elders and boomers. Men are more likely than women. City folks are more likely than rural folks. And "Americans of color" are more likely than whites to deny biblical authority, according to the report.

 

The takeaway from this survey is that in debates here it is dangerous to proffer "Christians" as having any kind of a shared worldview. Fact is that less than one-fifth of these surveyed self-called Christians even hold a biblical worldview.

 

Brooke Hempell, senior vice president of research for Barna, says:

 

“The challenge with competing worldviews is that there are fragments of similarities to some Christian teachings, and some may recognize and latch on to these ideas, not realizing they are distortions of biblical truths."

 

One thing to keep in mind is that even among those 17 percent of Christians who surveyed as holding to a biblical worldview and who might find themselves sitting in church pews during the rapture they might still find themselves sitting among friends and relatives while a relatively small number of empty seats will be apparent. Remember Jesus: "I never knew you."

 

My recommendation to those who post here on biblical issues is to copy this survey to their hard drives and refer to it often. Instead of saying, "Christians say ...," they should say, "11% of self-professed, practicing Christians say ..."

 

Finally, this is not a favorable report on the state of today's Christian churches.



#2 Goku

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 11:38 AM

I found this article, a little bit old from 2010, that said only 57% of Protestants can name the four gospels, which means 43% of Protestants can't name the four gospels.  http://www.csmonitor...rs.-Is-that-bad  

 

What's also interesting is the title of the article itself; atheists know more about religion than any other religious group. I think this is largely because atheists, at least in America, are often dissatisfied believers that turned atheist after looking at the Bible and their religion and concluding that it doesn't add up. The actual Pew article says that while atheists/agnostics did the best on the test, those that described themselves as 'nothing in particular' scored worse than the national average.

 

The Pew article about their findings is here: http://www.pewforum....d-implications/

 

If you want to take the quiz they used, 32 short multiple choice questions, you can follow the links in the first article I gave or follow this one: http://www.csmonitor...h-Sabbath-begin

 

I would say try and beat my score, but the best you can do is tie with me. :P 



#3 mike the wiz

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:56 PM

My results;

 

Attached File  religulous2.jpg   27.06KB   0 downloads

 

Sorry for the small pic, I have limited space, the space for pics seems to yo yo for me. (I am not saying I am better than an atheist, that is the websites question)

 

(the ones I got wrong were the ones about other religions and the U.S history, such as the Billy graham thing.)

 

(atheists and agnostics got an average of 20 correct answers, if readers are wondering.)

 

 

 

Goku: I would say try and beat my score, but the best you can do is tie with me

 

That's a good knowledge, you are one that informs yourself. Pretty neat getting all of them. You're "laughing" at the superior intellect. ;)


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#4 Dave

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:09 PM

If you want to take the quiz they used, 32 short multiple choice questions, you can follow the links in the first article I gave or follow this one: http://www.csmonitor...h-Sabbath-begin

 

I would say try and beat my score, but the best you can do is tie with me. :P

 

Drats! I missed the one about Vishnu. Oh well, no loss if I don't know my pagan religions all that well.

 

Not a good test to compare Christians against atheists, however. I'd like to play Bible Trivia against an average atheist and see how well they do when the whole planopy of world's religions don't come into play. Apples to apples, so to speak.



#5 mike the wiz

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:33 PM

Goku             32

Dave              31

mike (wiz)      27

 

Av for ath/agnosts;  20.9

Av for Jews              20.5

Av for Mormons       20.3

Av for Protestants    16

Av for Catholics        14.7

 

(if I read Dave's post right he got 31.)

 

"What is this, multiple choice?" - Bones - Star Trek, The Undiscovered Country.



#6 Goku

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 02:10 PM

Drats! I missed the one about Vishnu. Oh well, no loss if I don't know my pagan religions all that well.

 

Not a good test to compare Christians against atheists, however. I'd like to play Bible Trivia against an average atheist and see how well they do when the whole planopy of world's religions don't come into play. Apples to apples, so to speak.

 

Well it is a test for general religious knowledge, not just Christianity, so I think it is a fair test for Westerners.

 

As for Bible Trivia I went to the site and took their test. I did not do so well on that one; definitely not a test for the casual believer.   31/50   which is 60.8% 

 

Now you Christians have a real chance at beating me. When I clicked on 'play again' the first question was different from any of the questions I had before, so I think they are getting the questions from a larger pool. http://www.christian...ks/?challenge=Y

 

I also tried their 'who wants to be a millionaire' game, and walked away with $32,000.



#7 mike the wiz

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 02:39 PM

My score for the bible trivia;

 

 30 correct of 50 questions. (60.0%)

 

And I must say those were some of the most obscure questions I could ever have been asked about the bible. The number of years Eli judged? The number of people saved at Pentecost? The place where some dude visited? (Troaz)..

 

That was horrendous. You'd have to be a pastor that lives in the bible to score high on that. :D

 

 

 

Goku: I also tried their 'who wants to be a millionaire' game, and walked away with $32,000.

 

Lol.



#8 wibble

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 03:52 PM

Did better than I expected on the general religion one - 28/30 (84%). Got the 'salvation comes through faith' one wrong and the one about whether a US public school teacher is allowed to lead a class in prayer.

 

I think I would flunk badly on the Bible trivia one judging by what Mike said, so will give that a miss :)



#9 mike the wiz

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 02:34 AM

That's twice I've been beaten by the Guru, (Goku), I'm starting to feel like this guy did when he met Negan;

 

Attached File  grimes.jpg   33.06KB   0 downloads

 

:rotfl3:



#10 Dave

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:58 AM

Here we go. Here's the perfect example of what results when 83% of Christians admit to not having a biblical worldview ... among them being pastors of major Christian denominations.

 

Christian pastor in Bible belt admits to personally worshiping Allah

 

Basically, local Muslims bought a church building and converted it into a mosque. There was a big gettogether for the cross-taking-down-ceremony.

 

 

[The Rev. Jim Melnyk, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church,] said he was joined by pastors from the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ and three different Baptist congregations at Saturday’s ceremony, which marked the official conversion of a former Pentecostal church into a mosque. One lay person from the local Presbyterian Church was also present for the “celebration.”

 

 

Melnyk said Christianity and Islam “share common origins and scriptures” and that he felt it was the right thing to do to participate in the mosque opening as a show of respect for Islam, a fellow monotheistic faith.

 

“Christians, Jews and Muslims are all people of the book, and we all claim what the Hebrew Scriptures call the Abrahamic faith,” Melnyk told WND. “We call it the Old Testament, and Muslims also claim the Bible.”

 

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Do Christians actually sit in the pews listening to their pastor's spew this garbage?

 

Me thinks that 17% number might be a tad too high!



#11 Dave

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 04:21 PM

Here's another one along the same lines. Interestingly, the percentage is fairly close.

 

Record few Americans believe Bible is literal word of God

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word," similar to the 26% who view it as "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."

 

Here's the thing, though. I looked pretty carefully throughout the article and couldn't find a definition of "literally." It makes a difference.

 

If someone called me on the phone and asked me, "Do you take the Bible literally, word for word?" I would answer no.

 

If someone called me on the phone and asked me, "Do you believe the Bible is the actual word of God?" I would answer yes.

 

But you can see from the article lede in the quote above, that the poll confuses the respondent by asking both questions in the same sentence.

 

The reason it makes a difference is because the Bible contains almost 100 different kinds figures of speech, including similes, metaphors, types, analogies, parables, etc.

 

Do I believe that a sword will literally come out of Christ's mouth at the end of the tribulation to slay the remaining unbelievers? No. Not with a literal sword. But everyone who has made a diligent study of the Bible understands what Scripture tells us ... that the sword of the spirit is the word of God; which is sharper than a two-edged sword.

 

Many Bible difficulties can be explained with a proper understanding of where God's word is literal, and where God inspired figures of speech.

 

Personally, I believe that Gallup missed the mark with this poll. It could have been handled differently. I wouldn't take the results as gospel. :)

 

 

Naturally, there are also strong differences in Americans' perspectives on the Bible by religious preference. As a whole, more Christians take the Bible literally than say it is a book of stories and history recorded by man. However, within the broad group of Christians, Protestants (including those who generically refer to themselves as "Christian") lean toward the literalist view, while Catholics divide evenly between seeing the Bible as the literal word of God and saying it is a book of stories. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of those with no religious affiliation fall into the skeptics' camp.



#12 piasan

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:46 AM

 

Here's another one along the same lines. Interestingly, the percentage is fairly close.

 

Record few Americans believe Bible is literal word of God

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word," similar to the 26% who view it as "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."

 

Here's the thing, though. I looked pretty carefully throughout the article and couldn't find a definition of "literally." It makes a difference.

 

If someone called me on the phone and asked me, "Do you take the Bible literally, word for word?" I would answer no.

 

If someone called me on the phone and asked me, "Do you believe the Bible is the actual word of God?" I would answer yes.

The quote you provided defines literally as "word for word."

 

But you can see from the article lede in the quote above, that the poll confuses the respondent by asking both questions in the same sentence.

You are quite correct that the phrasing of the question and the sample selection can strongly influence responses.  In this case, you had to go to methodology link at the bottom of the article to find the actual question:

Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, or the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man]?

 

Based on the question, as stated and your comment (above), my guess is that you would fall into the "Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally" category. I do.

 

The reason it makes a difference is because the Bible contains almost 100 different kinds figures of speech, including similes, metaphors, types, analogies, parables, etc.

 

Do I believe that a sword will literally come out of Christ's mouth at the end of the tribulation to slay the remaining unbelievers? No. Not with a literal sword. But everyone who has made a diligent study of the Bible understands what Scripture tells us ... that the sword of the spirit is the word of God; which is sharper than a two-edged sword.

 

Many Bible difficulties can be explained with a proper understanding of where God's word is literal, and where God inspired figures of speech.

Yep.

 

 

Personally, I believe that Gallup missed the mark with this poll. It could have been handled differently. I wouldn't take the results as gospel. :)

I'd agree if it were only one poll.  This is a long term series of polls going back over 30 years and the results are fairly consistent.



#13 mike the wiz

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:07 AM

 

Piasan: Based on the question, as stated and your comment (above), my guess is that you would fall into the "Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally" category. I do.

 

 

I think that's what Dave is saying though Piasan. I would also put myself in the category you and Dave would, but me and Dave basically accept the creation account as creationists but you are theistic evolutionist. (I don't say that to defy unity, you are also in that category with us if you accept the bible is inspired so I am not saying this to exclude you from our group but rather it seems a significant difference if what they are trying to establish is how many people are creationist).

 

It seems to me the question itself is asked by someone who has a certain concept of creationists, which they would describe as, " the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word," now before you say, "oh here we go a chip on the shoulder from creationists", when you actually think about it, you yourself having been a member of EFF for a while must be able now to see the difference between the stereotype of creationists which most people believe is accurate, and what a creationist really believes.

 

Most people are evolutionist, and their concept of a creationist is how they have written it in blue, but in fact most creationists will in fact take the position that they believe not that the bible is literally true, but that it is inerrant. For example, I don't take Genesis literally because I don't believe serpents can speak, I don't take Genesis literally because when it says "let us make" man in the image of God, I don't believe God is literally a crowd of people. I take it contextually, meaning as creationists we would say that we take Genesis as historical narrative.

 

For a long time evolutionists have pushed the stereotype that the best description of a creationist is a, "literalist" because that particular epithet allows them to portray a simple person that can only take concepts, "literally".

 

"Literalist" is kind of synonymous with being "simple", in some ways. If someone can only take something literally they struggle to think beyond a one dimensional level. There is definitely a connection in that atheists always want to use that word, "literal". But have you ever met a creationist that insists on using that particular word? Only in the sense of trying to convey that they believe that some key events the bible said happened, "literally" happened. Yes we believe God, "literally" flooded the whole world, by Noah's flood. But to then say we are, "literalists", ahahaha - that's blatantly devious, for it isn't a defining word unless we took every sentence literally, but in this respect we are also metaphorists because we probably take an equal portion of the bible metaphorically.



#14 Dave

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:32 AM

The quote you provided defines literally as "word for word."

 

But you can see from the article lede in the quote above, that the poll confuses the respondent by asking both questions in the same sentence.

You are quite correct that the phrasing of the question and the sample selection can strongly influence responses.  In this case, you had to go to methodology link at the bottom of the article to find the actual question:

Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, or the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man]?

 

Based on the question, as stated and your comment (above), my guess is that you would fall into the "Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally" category. I do.

 

 

Once again Mike stated it clearer than I could.

 

What I'm trying to say is that I don't fall into any of the categories in your blue. My disagreement has to do somewhat with the definition, but more-importantly, the intent of the word literally.

 

" ... the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, ..."

 

Yes, the Bible is the inspired word of God.

 

No, not everything should be taken in the literal sense. However, because every word is inspired by God, every word should be taken seriously.

 

And that's where the obfuscation of the survey comes in. Just because God uses a figure of speech in the Bible it does not mean that he doesn't intend for us to understand the meaning and importance of what he is telling us. Every figure of speech in the Bible inevitably leads us to some aspect of theological nuance that is vitally important and that should be taken literally.

 

By the survey saying that some things are literal and some things are not it implies that the not-literal things can be omitted and nothing is lost. That is simply not true.

 

God does not waste words, or speak just to hear sounds come out of his mouth.

 

Personally, if I had been asked the survey question I would have stood there and argued with the survey taker. 'Course, that's my nature. When I took the written test to get my commercial big-rig driving license I missed three questions out of 300. Two of them were face-palm revelations. Duh. I knew that! My mistake. One of them was a poorly worded question, like the survey, and I stood there and argued with the lady about it. She finally said, "You got an almost perfect score. Do you really want to hold up your license while you protest one question?"

 

Good point.



#15 Dave

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:32 AM

This came out a couple of days ago.

 

How many atheists are there?

 

It isn't the number of atheists this survey revealed that caught my eye. It's that when asked a direct question like, "Do you believe in God?" the number of atheists comes in around 3 percent. However, this survey used a method to "back in" to the question and discovered that the number of atheists is closer to 26 percent. So there must be some cultural pressure involved here.

 

The reason I find this interesting is because of the discussion above in this topic where survey respondents call themselves Christians when asked directly. But my thinking when I read those surveys was that there must be some cultural pressure involved in many of these self-called Christians giving themselves that designation. Their answers to followup questions, however, belies what they designate themselves as.

 

This current survey shows how that works on the atheist side of things too. Interesting.

 

From the article:

 

 

Using a subtle, indirect measurement technique, psychology researchers have found that there are probably a lot more atheists (people who don't believe in God) in the U.S. than show up in telephone polls.

 

It's tough to figure out just how religious or nonreligious different populations of people are. Widely-cited telephone polls (e.g., Gallup, Pew) suggest U.S. atheist prevalence ranging from 3% to 11%. But in the U.S., there's heavy stigma leveled against religious disbelief, which might make people reluctant to disclose their lack of belief over the phone to a stranger. Using a subtle, indirect measurement technique, psychology researchers have found that atheists may represent anywhere from 20% to 35% of the U.S. population.

 

The study, “How many atheists are there?,” appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

 






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