Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Needed: A Smarter Spirituality

According to a survey conducted in 2000, when Jews were asked whether Jesus was born in Jerusalem, 51 percent said "Yes." Not too bad for a group whose Bible doesn't include the New Testament.

But what about evangelical Christians? When asked the same question, "Was Jesus born in Jerusalem?" guess how many said "Yes"? 60 percent.

Six out of ten evangelicals think Jesus was born in Jerusalem?! That's what the survey said. It's also one of the reasons why Stephen Prothero, chairman of the Religion Department at Boston University, wrote his new book "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn't" (HarperSanFrancisco, 2007).

You can read Christopher Shea's article that recently appeared in The Boston Globe here.


Arlene Kasselman said...

It would be nice if as a group we knew the facts, but I would much prefer us to be living like the leader. I'm totally okay with 60% of us not knowing the Bethlehem/Jerusalem thing, if 60% of us were living revolutionary lives of discipleship.
What's really hard to swallow is that 60% dont' know the details and it seems like 80% of us have lives that look very much like the general population.
Frank, I am reading Shane Claiborne's book Irresistible Revolution, it is fabulous. Pick it up and let me know what you think.

Frank Bellizzi said...

I just don't see how people can follow a leader they know virtually nothing about. Knowing some facts about what Jesus did and taught is basic to doing and saying the kinds of things He did.

From a different angle, if I was attracted to Hinduism, I wouldn't be favorably impressed by a Hindu friend and would-be teacher who didn't know the difference between Vishnu, Krishna, and Brahman.

Adam Gonnerman said...

I'd question what qualifies a person as "evangelical" according to that survey. But yes, a lot more Bible teaching, reading and learning is needed.

Anonymous said...

That survey is pretty pathetic, but I'm not really surprised from some people I talk with and from some of the really stupid things they say! (Think I'm a big cynical, Frank?!)

I'm with you, though. To me the facts and the living go together. How can we follow and model and emulate a Jesus we don't even know much of anything about? I don't think we can . . ..

Matt said...

I like what Mark Parker said about the ministerial balance between study and ministry (not that study isn't ministry).

Post - fake spirituality.

I think the members could certainly use to be better educated in many places. It seems like most people come wanting an experience or to fit in first and maybe some day understand all that later. We do need to cast the expectation that there are things they need to know and all beliefs are not equal.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I shared the article with the bible teachers at PV. Thanks for the link.

Bobby Valentine