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Ignorance on Core Christian Beliefs

The Barna Research Group recently surveyed 1,007 American adults and found that many born-again Christians exhibit surprisingly high levels of ignorance on the following core Christian beliefs:

  • 80 percent of born-again Christians agree with the statement, “the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves.” The Bible does not make this claim.
  • 49 percent of born-again believers accept the notion that Satan is not a living being, but a symbol of evil.
  • Even though born-again Christians are those who believe they will go to heaven because they ‘have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus...,” 39 percent of the born-again segment also maintain that “if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in heaven.”
  • 30 percent claim that “Jesus Christ was a great Teacher, but He did not come back to physical life after He was crucified.”
  • 29 percent say “there are some crimes, sins or other things people might do which cannot be forgiven by God.”
  • 26 percent disagree with the notion that they personally have “a responsibility to tell other people [their] religious beliefs.”

Source: EP News Service, quoted in New Man, July/August, 1996, p. 13

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