The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
According to a ComRes survey, only 46% of those who identify with the Christian faith believe in the Easter message. The poll also quizzed people on their views around forgiveness.
A survey carried out by ComRes, on behalf of BBC Local radio, reveals that 46% of British self-identified Christians believe Jesus died on the cross to save them from their sins.
ComRes surveyed 2,042 British adults, who were asked were asked ‘To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected at Easter so that you can be forgiven for your sins?’.
Among the respondents who identified as Christian, a quarter said they neither disagreed nor agreed, while 17% answered that they did not agree.
The BBC also asked ComRes to survey people on their views around forgiveness and whether there were some actions that they would not able to forgive.
The questions about forgiveness included murder, child abuse, sexual abuse, infidelity, verbal abuse, abuse on social media, lying, stealing, swearing, and discrimination.
In some categories, respondents identifying with the Christian faith were less likely to find something 'impossible to forgive' and more likely to find it ‘difficult’.
CHILD ABUSE, IMPOSSILE TO FORGIVE
Child abuse, with 85% of all respondents considering it impossible to forgive, was deemed the most unforgivable. Sexual abuse and murder were close behind at 79% and 73% respectively.
Regarding child abuse, the percentage of self-identified Christians who found it impossible to forgive dropped to 61%.
Furthermore, when it came to sexual abuse, 52% deemed it impossible, whereas the average number was 79%, and 13% said they would find infidelity ‘impossible to forgive’, although the average was 23%.
Swearing was the easiest to forgive, with 39% also saying it didn't need forgiving, while half said it was easy to forgive.
The poll also showed that, when asked on average how often people attended a religious service, excluding marriages and funerals, nearly two-thirds (65%) of all respondents answered ‘never’.
BISHOP OF MANCHESTER: “THE SURVEY SEEMS SOMEWHAT LIMITING”
David Walker, Church of England Bishop of Manchester, said that the survey “seems somewhat limiting. I would want to see the crucifixion and resurrection in slightly broader terms, emphasising the promise of eternal life and the assurance of God’s unquenchable love for all his creation”.
“On most of the example wrongdoings the survey poses, regular churchgoers were significantly more likely to think that it was possible to forgive than the general population. That doesn’t surprise me, but it does encourage me enormously”, the Anglican leader said.
“There is much here for thought and prayer as we take the journey through Holy Week. But most important to remember is that the resolution of the Easter story is the most astonishing love, which conquers all sin”, the Bishop concluded.