A recent Pew Forum survey found American’s lack of religious knowledge is quite appalling. For a country that espouses a Protestant majority, it was quite shocking for me to discover that 53% of American Protestants cannot identify Martin Luther as the one who inspired the Protestant Reformation. [img_assist|nid=157257|title=Original Christian illustration by Jim Sutton: Picture of a halo character – Just thinking|desc=|link=none|align=middle|width=250|height=358]
Equally disturbing was the finding that about 46% of American Catholics do not know their church teaches that the bread and wine in Communion become the body and blood of Christ.
The biggest surprise of this study was that atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons knew more than most of us regarding religious knowledge.
A Pew Forum summary of this study is presented below.[img_assist|nid=157253|title=Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=401|height=490]
The Pew Forum is doing an awesome job documenting how quickly Americans are succumbing to the “spiritual but not religious” phenomena. The average American knows more about the status of the latest American Idol competition, than most religious basics. When linked with the Pablum delivered by many churches every Sunday, it’s not surprising religion is playing a smaller part in American’s lives.
Thom Rainer, a prominent religious author/consultant, has identified that 92% of the unchurched attend church to hear a sermon, and 88% of those are expecting to hear what a particular religion believes, i.e. doctrine. Instead, most will be disappointed by hearing anything but during the sermon. Too many churches present programs to entertain “seekers”, but in a consumer-driven society, “seekers” are surface browsers.
Based on years of visiting local churches, I believe Anchorage pastors need to get back to basics to truly engage those who come their way.
The entire survey report is in the download option below.