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RELIGION | Religion IN BRIEF

Survey of Teenagers Finds Unorthodoxy

October 28, 2000|Religion News Service

Although an overwhelming majority of U.S. teenagers identify themselves as Christians, many of them hold unorthodox--some say troubling--views on salvation and whether or not Jesus sinned while on Earth, according to a new survey.

The survey of 605 teenagers, conducted by evangelical pollster George Barna, found that 86% of teenagers identified themselves as Christians, with one-third labeling themselves "born-again."

When it comes to traditional Christian teachings, however, U.S. teenagers share beliefs not traditionally embraced by most churches. A 53% majority said they believed Jesus committed sins while on Earth, and two-thirds said Satan is more a symbol of evil than a real being.

About 60% of teenagers said a person can gain salvation through good works--a belief at the center of a centuries-old theological debate that led to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Three out of five teenagers also said that the Bible is "totally accurate" in all its teaching, with born-again teenagers twice as likely to believe the Bible is accurate in its entirety.

Teenagers also said they were mostly lukewarm in their faith; one-third described themselves as "absolutely committed," while half said they were "moderately committed" and about one-fifth said they were "less committed."

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