Author Topic: Survey Shows Most Evangelicals Don’t Understand the Core Beliefs of Their Faith  (Read 1870 times)

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Online Desert Fox

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I found this fascinating. I don't know however if it is good news, bad, or meh

http://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2018/10/19/survey-shows-most-evangelicals-dont-understand-the-core-beliefs-of-their-faith/
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A recent survey conducted by Ligonier Ministries looked at the beliefs of 3,000 self-identifying evangelicals… only to find that many of them are “deeply confused” about what their beliefs actually are.
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But that’s not what this survey was about. Many evangelicals genuinely don’t know the basic tenets of their own stated religion.

A majority of evangelicals said (1) that most people are basically good, (2) that God accepts the worship of all religions, and (3) that Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father. However, all these beliefs are contrary to the historic Christian faith.



"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline daniel1948

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I found this fascinating. I don't know however if it is good news, bad, or meh

http://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2018/10/19/survey-shows-most-evangelicals-dont-understand-the-core-beliefs-of-their-faith/
Quote
A recent survey conducted by Ligonier Ministries looked at the beliefs of 3,000 self-identifying evangelicals… only to find that many of them are “deeply confused” about what their beliefs actually are.
Quote
But that’s not what this survey was about. Many evangelicals genuinely don’t know the basic tenets of their own stated religion.

A majority of evangelicals said (1) that most people are basically good, (2) that God accepts the worship of all religions, and (3) that Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father. However, all these beliefs are contrary to the historic Christian faith.

There is no single "historic Christian faith." There were many Christianities and many Christologies in the first centuries after Jesus. Eventually Pauline Trinitarianism became dominant by killing some of their Christian opponents and converting others. There followed schisms and breaks and divisions. The Protestant reformation and other splits, and Protestants split into many sects, etc.

However, I agree with the premise: That many Christians don't know the tenets of their own faith. I had a Catholic friend in Mexico who knew very little about her faith.

However, failing to understand the core beliefs of your sect, and disagreeing with them are two very separate things. Lots and lots of people attend churches that hold beliefs they do not share. I have another friend who is a Catholic, who is very knowledgeable and intelligent, but who disagrees with (as near as I can tell) the entirety of Catholic dogma. And one time when I tried to bait a Catholic priest by asking him about the then-Pope's misogynistic pronouncements, this priest replied that the Pope was just plain wrong. And then joked that "We've tried, but we can't do anything with him." IIRC JP-II was Pope at the time. (The priest in question was the late Fr. Richard Sinner. Yep. That was his name. He was actually a really nice guy and we were friends, but I couldn't help poking him occasionally for representing such a misogynistic, backward, dirty organization. His brother was the governor of North Dakota.)

But I will not criticize an evangelical for believing that "God accepts the worship of all religions." And I think most mainstream religions have outgrown the notion that their own sect is the only acceptable religion.
Daniel
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Online Desert Fox

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But I will not criticize an evangelical for believing that "God accepts the worship of all religions." And I think most mainstream religions have outgrown the notion that their own sect is the only acceptable religion.

I definitely prefer that belief but mainstream position from evangelical church leaders is that everybody is a sinner and that only those that accept Jesus will be saved.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline 2397

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Thirty-something thousand denominations, but probably orders of magnitude more variations of faith within Christianity.

Offline daniel1948

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But I will not criticize an evangelical for believing that "God accepts the worship of all religions." And I think most mainstream religions have outgrown the notion that their own sect is the only acceptable religion.

I definitely prefer that belief but mainstream position from evangelical church leaders is that everybody is a sinner and that only those that accept Jesus will be saved.

I was referring to the statement about people who attend evangelical churches but reject their church's dogma of exclusivity. The article cited that as evidence that they don't know what their church believes. I'm saying I won't criticize them for disbelieving in their church's dogma.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Online arthwollipot

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If most followers don't understand them, then in what way are they actually core beliefs?
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Online Desert Fox

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There has long been a disconnect between high and low beliefs.
Just how stark it is seems amazing to me.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Having come out of a very religious community, I think first that it is important to note that most people are NOT intentionally dogmatic in their religion. They adopt the language of their pastor and religious tradition because they are first of all, "members of that tribe."

Evangelicals might say that they have a literal belief in the Bible, but mostly only of certain parts (e.g., Noah's flood) and because this is what they need to say to be members of the tribe. This is why they can ignore most of what the Book of Leviticus says except for the stuff about gay people, because that is all they have been exposed to (Who really wants to read Leviticus all the way through?).

My other observation is that much Christian dogma is trying to define what Tertullian called "the absurd," specifically in relation to the Trinity doctrine. Tertullian said you need to believe Trinity "because it is absurd," but of course, that very notion is itself absurd. There an infinite number of absurd things to NOT believe in.

But because these things are absurd and impossible, humans have used lots of different language "work-arounds" like similies and poetry to express a view in the "non-existent." In the end, most Christians will say that they "believe in the Trinity," but will really have no clue as to what the most famous of the theologians have said about it. It is, more simply, better seen as a "code word" to identify the "us" versus "them."

From my skeptical mind, Trinitarians are trying to "define a nothing" and so I treat these expressions, when I treat them kindly as from my friends, as expressions of existential hope and fear. I instead "hear" something like: "I really hope there is a Jesus with 'God Power' to save me from my worst self, and I really fear there might not be."
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Offline daniel1948

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If most followers don't understand them, then in what way are they actually core beliefs?

They are core beliefs of the sect. Or more properly, they are the core dogmas of the sect. I don't think anybody but the clinically insane founders actually believe any of it. But like the emperor's clothes, everybody has to profess belief. They are the things the sect insists that its members believe. But nobody who actually grasps them could possibly believe them.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Online arthwollipot

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If most followers don't understand them, then in what way are they actually core beliefs?

They are core beliefs of the sect. Or more properly, they are the core dogmas of the sect. I don't think anybody but the clinically insane founders actually believe any of it. But like the emperor's clothes, everybody has to profess belief. They are the things the sect insists that its members believe. But nobody who actually grasps them could possibly believe them.

If no-one actually believes them then I submit that they are not core beliefs. How can they be core beliefs when no-one believes them? They may be dogma provided in some long-lost interpretation, but if no-one cares about them any more, I ask again, how can they possibly be considered "core"?
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Offline daniel1948

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If most followers don't understand them, then in what way are they actually core beliefs?

They are core beliefs of the sect. Or more properly, they are the core dogmas of the sect. I don't think anybody but the clinically insane founders actually believe any of it. But like the emperor's clothes, everybody has to profess belief. They are the things the sect insists that its members believe. But nobody who actually grasps them could possibly believe them.

If no-one actually believes them then I submit that they are not core beliefs. How can they be core beliefs when no-one believes them? They may be dogma provided in some long-lost interpretation, but if no-one cares about them any more, I ask again, how can they possibly be considered "core"?

Okay. I'll agree with you. They are core dogmas, which is to say they are the core things that members are supposed to believe. Or the term "core belief" is one of those phrases, like "take a shit" that do not mean what a literal reading would suggest. We have lots of phrases that do not mean what a literal reading would indicate.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Harry Black

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None of the catholics I know believe any of the defining tenants of Catholicism. Many have told me they would be protestants if it werent considered treason by so many.

Online arthwollipot

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See, here's the thing.

... they are the core things that members are supposed to believe.

According to whom? In my time I've seen so many atheists say "this is what Christians should be believing", and ignoring what they actually do believe. Who says what Christians (or members of any other religion, really) should be believing, and why should atheists have any authority on the subject whatsoever?
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Offline Harry Black

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See, here's the thing.

... they are the core things that members are supposed to believe.

According to whom? In my time I've seen so many atheists say "this is what Christians should be believing", and ignoring what they actually do believe. Who says what Christians (or members of any other religion, really) should be believing, and why should atheists have any authority on the subject whatsoever?
In the case of Catholicism, according to the church.

I presume most distinct sects will have some kind of doctrine of how they differ from others.
Generally thats what religion is- a way of stating "This group is for people who believe x"

Offline daniel1948

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See, here's the thing.

... they are the core things that members are supposed to believe.

According to whom? In my time I've seen so many atheists say "this is what Christians should be believing", and ignoring what they actually do believe. Who says what Christians (or members of any other religion, really) should be believing, and why should atheists have any authority on the subject whatsoever?
In the case of Catholicism, according to the church.

I presume most distinct sects will have some kind of doctrine of how they differ from others.
Generally thats what religion is- a way of stating "This group is for people who believe x"

Exactly! Most, if not all Christian sects have official dogmas. In writing. And many Christians do not understand the dogmas of their own churches.

However, the study as reported has serious flaws since it looks as though they asked whether the members believed these dogmas, not whether they understood them. And there are certainly some who understand but disagree, yet consider themselves members of their church. This is how schisms happen, though I'm sure the vast majority of people who disagree with their church ever become involved in a break-away group.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

 

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