Tuesday, November 1, 2016

American Christians Cave On Core Beliefs

Only 40% say hell is for those who reject Jesus

The number of professing Christians is declining in America. And it’s not just because of the media, the public schools or even activism by atheists. It’s because Christians themselves are genuinely ignorant about the tenets of their faith.

A good portion of Americans who identify as Christian hold contradictory, even confused and heretical beliefs when it comes to God, according to the “State of American Theology Study 2016.”

The study found 64 percent agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” with the statement “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.”

Sixty percent of Americans agreed with the statement “heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones.”

And only 40 percent agreed that “hell is an eternal place of judgment where God sends all people who do not personally trust in Jesus Christ.”

Less than half of those surveyed believed abortion is a sin.

At the same time, 70 percent of Americans agreed the God of the Trinity is the one true God. A majority said God, who cannot make a mistake, is the author of Scripture. And yet, fewer than half say the Bible is entirely accurate.

Evangelicals had strikingly different beliefs from many other Americans, as reflected in the survey. For example, 84 percent of evangelicals agreed those “who do not personally trust in Jesus Christ” are destined for hell, compared to only 30 percent of Americans in general.

However, even evangelicals’ responses showed apparent disagreement with fundamental tenets of the Christian faith.

For example, more than 70 percent of evangelicals agreed with the statement “Jesus is the first and greatest creature created by God,” actually surpassing the 48 percent of non-evangelicals who agreed with the statement. The belief Jesus Christ is a “created being” is the heresy known as “Arianism,” which posits Christ is distinct from God the Father and therefore subordinate.

Evangelicals were similarly confused about the status of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity, with more than a quarter of evangelicals denying the Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son.

Evangelicals also hold self-contradictory beliefs, according to the survey. Evangelicals overwhelmingly stated hell exists and is reserved for those who do not accept Christ as savior. Yet more evangelical Christians than Americans in general simultaneously stated all people will ultimately be reunited with loved ones in heaven.

These findings come at a time of decline for the Christian faith in the United States. The percentage of Americans identifying as Christians has continuously decreased since 2008, with the percentage of Christians declining with each progressively younger age group. Still, recent surveys indicate over 75 percent of Americans call themselves “Christian.”

Well, good luck with that. Just remember you can fool part of the people most of the time, but you can fool yourself forever. Take that any way you want it.

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