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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Religious Beliefs of Americans

inthenewsOn November 29th, Harris Interactive released results of a poll that was designed to determine what Americans believe on the subject of religion. It seems that the results were near identical to a previous poll taken in 2005. Those interested can see the complete results of the poll, by going to http://harrisinteractive.com

There were certain interesting things to note about the results of the poll:

  • First, the United States remains a nation where most identify themselves as Christians. 72% believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 70% believe that Jesus was resurrection from the dead. Of course, it is interesting that 2% of those who profess belief in the deity of Christ nevertheless deny his power over death. For those 2%, perhaps Paul’s words are in order, “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).
  • One thing that is disturbing is the small numbers of Americans that accept the Bible as God’s word. While 53% of Americans believe that the Old Testament is the Word of God, and 52% of Americans believe that the New Testament is the Word of God, only 33% believe that both are God’s word. This time, Peter weighs in, proclaiming that “no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Further, Peter affirmed that the epistles of Paul were a part of those scriptures (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16).
  • Americans are very undiscerning in their beliefs. The Harris Poll also asked questions concerning common superstitions. In response, 41% of Americans professed a belief in ghosts; 35% in UFO’s; 31% in witches; 29% in astrology; and 21% in reincarnation. It is rather insulting that questions concerning faith in Christ are lumped together with UFO’s, but what is more disturbing is that so many Americans are so credulous. It is such undiscerning (blind) faith in the ridiculous that gives fodder to those who claim faith in Christ is without merit. Rather, our faith has a significant foundation. Paul, in his address to Festus and Agrippa, made that bold assertion. In the face of Festus’ claim that “much learning is driving you mad,” Paul stated that Agrippa knew the truthfulness of his claims concerning the resurrected Savior. As Paul stated, “this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

While the poll reveals the Christian leanings of our nation, it also clearly shows that such inclinations are seldom based upon true faith. As Christians, we must always remember that, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). May our faith be reasoned and established upon the verity of scripture, rather than the vagaries of human speculation.