Monday, October 15, 2007

Christianity gets negative marks from younger generation

A news report in the San Antonio Express-News says most young Americans supposedly think of modern-day Christianity as "judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay". Also, many Christians try to avoid the label "Christian" because of its negative connotations.

This is according to a new book that bases its findings on research conducted by the California-based research firm Barna Group. The young group with negative feelings about Christianity consists of ages 16-29.

Christianity could be doing a far better job trying to evangelize the lost and encourage other believers, but I wonder if today's youth really knows enough about Christianity to be qualified to criticize it. I'll never forget that high school friend of mine who had no idea what the story about David and Goliath was about. And, no, the Christianity you see on television and the movies doesn't count.

We learn that the findings are based on a survey of 867 young people, which inccluded responses from 440 non-Christians and 305 active church members. The survey reported that 91 percent of non-Christians felt Christianity was anti-gay while 87 percent said it was judgmental and 85 percnet said it was hypocritial. Among those who were Christians, 80 percent felt the anti-gay label fit, 52 percent felt that Christianity is judgmental and 47 percent think the faith is hypocritical.

Please, don't get me started on polls. I know there are things like probabilty and statistics, but do you really expect me to believe that 867 young people accurately speaks for the tens and tens and tens of millions who are in this country?

One of the premier pollsters, John Zogby, has this to say regarding the accuracy of polls: "It's pure probability and statistics. The same theory is involved as when you take a blood test and the clinician draws only a small sample rather than draining all the blood out of your body."

I wonder if that's an accurate assessment. Doctors generally draw blood only from your arm rather than drawing from a different part of the body each time. I wonder if Zogby, et al, really gathers opinions from across the country or if those polled come from a certain area. Still, I find it very difficult to believe that the less than 900 respondants can accurate speak as a minute fraction of all this country's young adults.

3 comments:

Leigh Anne Sanders said...

Hello Mr. Zowie. I saw your autobiography on Helium.com, and thought I would take a peek at your blog. I love that you write your opinions and aren't afraid enough of the "Christian" label as it stands today to hide your Christian faith. I have experienced the bias of the younger people of this nation against Christians. However, my experience is that once they meet somebody who isn't afraid of their faith and is willing to explain Christianity to them, their opinions change. Hiding your faither, keeping it close and refusing to share it with others has seemed to contribute to the impression that Christians are uppity. What do you think?

Richard Zowie said...

Leigh:

Thank you for writing. Please, call me Richard. Mr. Zowie is way too formal, and that honor belongs to my father and uncle.

This can be a complicated issue, and I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers. Besides kids growing up culturally illiterate of the Bible and being inundated by TV programs of crude caricatures of Christians. Maybe their experience with Christians are the youthful ones who are still growing. A teacher of mine, who now pastors a church in Florida, spoke about how early in his faith he preached against sunglasses. No joke. Well, he's grown a whole lot since then. But you're right, when young people meet Christians who are solid and sold out for Christ and carry the Jude 23 mindset, their opinions can change. Time is short, and the worst thing is to try to hide our faith under a bushel. Be vocal but also be a person who loves people and is solidly grounded in the Bible so you can face any challenges.

God bless,
Richard

Matthew said...

Below is a link with a layman's explanation of how polling works. With a sample that size, the poll should be very accurate.

It's possible that they polled in a region that isn't indicative of the country at large. Polls can also sometimes be biased in their wording of the questions. If you really don't believe the results, maybe you can find out exactly what questions were asked and where the poll took place.

However, the sample size is more than enough to be accurate mathematically.

http://www.notrain-nogain.org/Train/Res/Num/how.asp