Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Don't write Jesus off yet

RESEARCH REVEALS AUSTRALIANS STILL HAVE A HIGH RESPECT FOR JESUS

A study commissioned by the evangelical organisation Jesus All About Life claims that 54% of Australians ranked Jesus as the number one most influential person in history, over scientist Albert Einstein (16%) and Charles Darwin (9%). Although not a rigorous academic study, the resulting qualitative data also claimed to reveal, against all expectations, that Australia is a nation of believers - with 83% responding that Jesus was a real figure from history. Of these believers 43% believed Jesus had miraculous powers and was the Son of God.

Only 40% of Australians practice a religion and 27% do not believe in any form of divinity. 63% did not believe Jesus would return with many surmising that if He were alive today He would probably be unemployed. If employed, though, He would most likely be a charity worker (23%), or carpenter (18%) according to those surveyed. While the majority of Australians do not practice a religion, 57% have prayed at various times during their lives. Of those who pray, 29% pray daily, and 19% only a few times every year - when faced with challenges or when a loved one is sick.

Young adults held to the most traditional prayer practices such as closing eyes, placing hands together and bowing heads but 3 in 5 had no particular rules for their praying. This lack of structure was found to increase with age as Australians aged 64 and over were the least likely to have rules for their prayers.

Other findings included:

* 63% of Australians turn to their partners/spouse for help and emotional support and half of Australians turn to other family members.

* Nearly half (49%) of Australians turn to their friends for help and support.

* Nearly a third (28%) of Australians turn to God in their time of need, while 15% turn to Jesus.

* The Internet offered the least support with only 6% of Australians turning to online friends through Facebook or Twitter when in need, and 4% to consult Google and the like.

Australians identifying Jesus as the most significant figure in history is not surprising given that our nation is a product of Western Civilisation, which is based upon Judeo-Christian roots, laws, culture and faith, and that the most outstanding works of art, music and literature throughout the 2000 years since Jesus died, have grappled with issues of faith or portrayed stories and personages from the Bible, and even the non-believers amongst us cannot deny that.

Source: Insight Magazine

6 comments:

James Garth said...

This research would tend to challenge, if not totally destroy, the claims made by secularists like Sam Harris (whose pithy little book I have just finished reading) who list Australia as one of the "unbelieving" nations of the world.

Oh, that, and the fact that the largest gathering of human beings in this nations history was for the recent World Youth Day, where a staggering half a million showed up. That's more than double the total number of non-Christian religion adherents listed in the 2006 census - combined!

JD Curtis said...

The Internet offered the least support with only 6% of Australians turning to online friends through Facebook or Twitter when in need, and 4% to consult Google and the like.

I thought this was weird. Who in their right mind would turn to these sources? Strange.

Ross said...

It's also interesting that respect for the figure of Jesus and spirituality doesn't translate into participation in organised religion. For example, the latest research shows that on average, the Baptist church is only growing at the rate or 1 per cent per year.

His Lordship The Gun-Toting Atheist said...

Hi Ross.

Couple things. I think, personally, that the most influential person in history was Nikola Tesla (the electrical engineer who invented alternating current, radio, the electric motor, the electronic logic gate, electrical transformers, the fluorescent lightbulb, etc.) He is simply the most important inventor ever. Every day, you unknowingly use hundreds of his inventions. He created the modern world.

"our nation is a product of Western Civilisation, which is based upon Judeo-Christian roots, laws, culture and faith"

Hmmm, what about Rome? The Western World was born from the military might of the pagan Imperial Legions, who conquered all the land from Hispania to Dacia, from Germania to Egypt. They invented our legal system. They invented profesional armies. They invented our writing system. In 50 AD one could walk on paved roads from Gaul to Egypt speaking one language, using one currency, carrying one passport.

And what about Athens? They invented philosophy and democracy. What about Egypt and Mesopotamia? They invented beer!

Ross said...

GTA, I'd add that the unified language, currency, and ease of travel throughout the Roman Empire greatly assisted the spread of Christianity early in the church's history.

As for beer brewing, Egypt and Mesopotamia may have invented it, but Australia perfected it. :)

His Lordship The Gun-Toting Atheist said...

In terms of Australian beer, I've only ever tried Foster's, but I'm sure that is not the only brewery in all of Australia. What would you recommend?