Americans believe Jesus was real, and remains important
A majority of Americans believe Jesus was who he said he was, and that his message still matters.
Barna Group, a research firm that tracks the role of faith in America, found that:
• 93 percent of Americans believe Jesus was a real person who lived.
• 63 percent of Americans say they have made a commitment to Jesus that remains important to them.
• 43 percent of Americans say Jesus was God living among humans.
“Given America’s increasingly tenuous connection to Christianity, some tend to see him as simply a good and likeable teacher. But most Americans not only hold favorable views of Christ, but also maintain a commitment to Jesus that’s still important in their lives today,” said Barna Group President David Kinnaman.
Barna surveyed 2,005 U.S. adults older than 18 in each of the 50 states, releasing the data during Easter week.
‘Heart of the matter’
The Rev. Brooks Keith, pastor of Vail’s Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, calls Easter “the heart of the matter, the very nexus of God’s plan to re-unite humanity to himself.”
Jesus will always matter, Keith said.
“My question is, ‘In what way?’” Keith said. “If Jesus just matters for who and what I am today, he joins a long list of other people. If there is something more or longer in scope, I have to pay attention to everything Jesus said, and he talked about the beginning the world, the end of the world and life after death.”
Good Friday is somber but not defeatist, Keith said.
“It’s not reanimation. That’s Frankenstein. It’s not resuscitation. That’s the hospital. Resurrection is a whole different life,” Keith said.
It remains a matter of faith, said theologian Charles Stanley, since we didn’t personally witness the risen Christ after his burial.
“That’s why Easter is an awesome reason for celebration,” Stanley said in a column in In Touch. “Jesus died in our place to satisfy the requirement for our atonement — a price far too high for us to pay. His resurrection proves that the Father was satisfied with his sacrifice, and counted it sufficient for the forgiveness of all our sins. Because of Christ’s victory over death, we too will be resurrected and receive an imperishable inheritance reserved for us in heaven.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.