Poll: 'He is risen,' they still say
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--It may surprise many, but 75 percent of the Americans who say they are not born-again Christians still believe the biblical account of Jesus literally coming back to life in his physical body, according to recent research by the North American Mission Board's Center for Missional Research.
A less surprising result of the study is that nearly 100 percent of those identifying themselves as born-again Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
"It really stunned us to learn that 75 percent of those Americans claiming not to be born-again still believe in the resurrection," said Phillip Connor, research missiology manager for the Center for Missional Research. The CMR data was collected from a random sample of 1,204 adults across the United States. The interviews were conducted by the polling firm of Zogby International on behalf of the NAMB center.
"It also surprised us that 59 percent of those who rarely darken the church doors, and 39 percent of those who never attend church, neverthelesss still believe in the literal resurrection of Christ," said Connor.
Connor and NAMB's research team also conducted some research related to the recent and controversial documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" by Hollywood film-maker James Cameron. The documentary, which recently aired on the Discovery Channel, investigated an ossuary allegedly containing the bones of Jesus.
"We wanted to see how the documentary influenced the public's opinion on the resurrection," Connor said. "The research showed that 57 percent of the population had read about, heard about or watched the documentary.
"However, familiarity with the film had no impact on the public's view of the resurrection. About 75 percent of those with and without knowledge of the documentary continue to believe in Jesus' bodily resurrection," Connor said.
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they were more likely to attend an Easter service after hearing about or viewing Cameron's documentary. Only 7 percent said the film would decrease the possibility that they would attend church this Easter Sunday.
"About 23 percent of those who claim to not be born-again Christians said they would be more likely to attend church Easter Sunday as a result of the documentary. Another 21 percent, who rarely attend church, also said they will be more likely to attend Easter services after hearing about or watching the film," Connor said.
The complete study can be found at the Center for Missional Research's website, www.namb.net/cmr.