As a Christian, a belief in Satan is a given. You can’t worship the Lord and not believe there is an enemy, right?
Well, no, according to a recent study by the Christian-based research and resource organization The Barna Group.
In a survey of nearly 2,000 self-professed Christians, nearly 80 percent viewed God as the Creator of the universe and deity of Creation. From there on, opinions diverged substantially.
On the subject of Satan’s existence, nearly 60 percent said he was more a symbol of evil than anything else or that he did not hold the sway strict interpretation of the Bible would suggest.
The waters become even murkier in believers’ minds when mulling over Jesus’ life and the role of the Holy Spirit.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they believed Jesus had sinner while on Earth and a clear majority–58 percent–said the Holy Spirit was “a symbol and not a living entity.”
The survey goes on to say that born-again Christians who believe they received eternal salvation through their faith are more in step with literal biblical teachings. It also provides noteworthy splits over views of other religions and the inerrant nature of the Bible.
These results parallel the conclusions of other recently released polls indicating a national decline in association with Christian beliefs, including a Newsweek cover story published last week. Recently, ABC’s “Nightline” debated Satan’s existence and other Christian teachings with evangelist pastor Mark Driscoll and others.
What is most striking about the Barna research is that it surveys Christians only. Undoubtedly a larger survey of the general populace would reveal deeper gulfs, particularly over the nature of the Bible and Jesus’ divinity.
At Everyday Christian we offer a brief but clear explanation about who Jesus is. It is a message that an increasingly skeptical and confused world desperately needs.