Who was first to visit the new born baby Jesus, some shepherds, the wise men or Father Christmas? Well according to a recent survey of about 1,000 adults and 1,000 children 37 opted for Santa. Scarily enough the 37 were mostly adults, not children. Some of the other misconceptions were that Mary and Joseph were married when they found out she was pregnant (60%), they were on their first date (2%), Jesus was placed in a Moses basket (5%) and Jesus was born in Beirut (1%). Other than the large number of people thinking that Mary and Joseph were married, the Nativity plays at this time of year seem to be doing their job in getting the story of Jesus across. Wouldn’t it be nice if Santa was the first visitor?
The results of a survey conducted by Lifeway Research last December, asking 1,000 American Protestant Pastors about their beliefs, has just been published with what are, to me at least, surprising results. When asked if God used evolution to create people, 73% disagreed and only 12% agreed. 82% believe that we are all descendants of a literal Adam and Eve.When it comes to the age of the earth, 46% agreed that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old. Pastors with a college degree were less inclined to believe this. The enlightenment, which sparked the birth of the modern US, seems to be lost on these people.
A recent poll by CNN found that 61% of Americans believe that Osama bin Laden is burning in hell. Only 5% said that they do not believe in hell. It always amazes me that so many Christians, who follow the message of love from Jesus, believe in a God that would have a soul tormented for all eternity rather than offering oblivion. Yes, there is a loving God who wants me to love him, but if I choose not to believe he will roast me forever. A recent book “Love Wins”, by Rob Bell a pastor of Mars Hill bible church in Michigan, addressed this very issue. Another pastor, Chad Holtz, of a Methodist Church in North Carolina wrote a note in Facebook, backing this book. Two days later following complaints from members of the church, Chad was dismissed from his position. Get the full story in the Times Free Press.
Personally, I believe that hell was invented by the church to help control people. If there is a God who torments souls forever, He doesn’t sound like the kind of being I could love. If I’m wrong, I’ll see you in hell.