The latest nationwide study on what Americans think about Jesus shows both promising and unfavorable information.
According to the study of the Episcopal Church, 84% of Americans believe Jesus as an important spiritual figure and 76% believe in His historical existence.
Global research company Ipsos conducted the “Jesus in America” study and found that 88% of Christians claim Jesus as an important figure in their life.
The findings showed religion is not as divisive as we thought. In terms of the effects of religion in the country, 38% say religion makes America stronger while non-Christians (38% of other religions; 50% of not religious) are more likely to say religion divides the country. It’s good to note that 63% of Americans don’t associate organized religion with the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.
Respondents were also asked questions about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on religious activities. As expected, the crisis had a negative effect on organized religion and participation in its activities. Thirty-six percent of Americans say they attend religious services at least once a month before the pandemic; this rate dropped to 28% during the outbreak. Among Christians, only 37% attend in-person religious services in the time of Covid-19, down 10 percentage points before lockdowns.
84% of Americans believe Jesus as an important spiritual figure and 76% believe in His historical existence. —Jesus in America study
On the bright side, the pandemic has increased the popularity of online religious services. From 14%, it is now 20% of Americans who attend virtual religious activities at least once a month.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry described the results of the study as encouraging since “Americans still find Jesus compelling,” reports GetReligion.org.
The pandemic made Americans more appreciative of Mother Nature. After many months of being in quarantine, more Americans now find spiritual satisfaction by being outdoors. Almost half of the respondents discovered that being with nature is the most spiritually fulfilling activity, followed by prayer (42%), and giving to charity (28%).
The study also looked into the perceptions of Americans to Christians. Christians associate positive attributes to fellow believers with more than a half describing themselves as being “giving.” Other characteristics linked to Christians include compassionate (56%), loving (55%), respectful (50%), and friendly (49%).
About one in four Americans say the Christians they know personally show values and practice the teachings of Jesus a lot. But, only 2% of the not religious group share the same observation.
While the majority of Americans revere Jesus Christ, nonreligious adults are not so much as impressed with Jesus’ followers. In the question, “What characteristics do you associate with Christians in general?”, more than half of the nonreligious group (55%) answered “hypocritical.” This was closely followed by “judgmental” (54%) and “self-righteous” (50%).
Curry cautioned that the “behavior of many of my followers is a problem, and it’s not just certain Christians: it’s all Christians.” The chief pastor will address this problem by “refocusing our efforts on being a church that looks and acts like Jesus.”