The belief that Jesus died for the sins of humanity and rose from the grave is central to the Gospel message. But how many teenagers today believe in these Scriptural centerpieces?
According to the Barna Group, a research firm that explores Christian trends, nearly half of teenagers (47%) in 26 nations across the globe believe Jesus was crucified, as detailed throughout the Gospels.
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But the research is a bit more discouraging when it comes to those who believe Christ rose again. Just 33% of teenagers believe Jesus overcame death, Barna reported.
And even more disturbing is the fact that, among those who identify as Christians, just 50% believe Christ was resurrected. That finding seems to open a gaping area of need to disciple young people within Christian churches and communities to help them better understand the label to which they cling.
As CBN’s Faithwire previously reported, these statistics, published in Barna’s “How Teens Around the World Relate to Jesus” report, offer insight into teens’ hearts and minds. Despite the majority seemingly rejecting the resurrection, most teens between the ages of 13 and 17 had favorable views of Christ.
The survey took into account teenage perspectives in 26 different countries, finding most see Him as generous, wise, peaceful, and trustworthy, among other descriptors.
“Data show it’s rare that teens think poorly of Jesus, reads a report from the Barna Group. “Most teenagers around the world have a positive perception of Him. About half of all teens across faith groups describe Jesus as ‘loving’ (49%) and believe He offers hope to (46%) and cares about people (43%).”
As Faithwire has extensively reported, surveys continue to spark concern about the state of faith in America. The Pew Research Center recently found a stunning decrease in Christianity and a notable rise in the “nones” (atheists, agnostics, or those who embrace “nothing in particular”).
In 2007, 78% of Americans called themselves Christians, but that proportion was down to 70% in 2014, and stood around 64% in 2020, with a growth in the so-called “nones” expanding during this same timeframe. According to Pew’s potential projections, Christianity as a percentage of the population could significantly dwindle even further over the next 50 years.
“Depending on whether religious switching continues at recent rates, speeds up, or stops entirely, the Center’s projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third of all Americans (35%) by 2070,” the research organization said in a statement. “Over that same period, ‘nones’ would rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population.”
Polls and studies have also found some shocking results within the church. Dr. Bill White, pastor of Christ Journey Church in Miami, Florida, and author of the book “Mature-ish: Your Mission From God, Should You Choose to Accept It,” told Faithwire a recent survey he commissioned found 88% of Christians haven’t advanced past the “toddler stage” of spiritual development.
Plus, a survey released earlier this year by researcher and pollster George Barna of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University found just 37% of U.S.-based pastors hold to a biblical worldview. Another survey from Barna found just 2% of parents of preteens today hold a biblical worldview.
Evangelist Franklin Graham has been among those speaking out after Barna recently released additional data showing one-third of senior pastors purportedly believe “good people” can earn their way to heaven.
“I don’t know which 1,000 pastors this group surveyed, but the results are concerning,” Graham tweeted. “39% of ‘evangelical’ pastors they asked said there is no absolute moral truth [and] that ‘each individual must determine their own truth.’”
He added, “What a lie.”
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