Sunday: Most people believe Christ rose from the dead, polls say
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Nearly a third of humanity is celebrating the central tenet of the Christian faith this Easter season: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Polls suggest Americans’ belief that Christ was physically raised from the dead has slipped somewhat in recent years but remains strong.
A 2010 Rasmussen Reports survey found that 78 percent of Americans believe Christ was raised from the dead, 10 percent don’t believe it and 11 percent aren’t sure.
Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly believe in the Resurrection — 97 percent — along with 87 percent of Catholics and 86 percent of other Protestants.
Just under half of people who rarely or never attend church believe Christ rose from the dead.
A 2009 Harris poll put belief in the resurrection at 70 percent, down 10 points since 2003.
The Rev. Sharon Daugherty, pastor of Victory Christian Center, a large charismatic church, said the Resurrection was an actual, historical event, attested to not only by the four Gospels but by other historical records.
“The resurrection of Jesus Christ is very important to us,” she said.
The Bible teaches that the resurrected, living Christ comes to live inside people who receive him, she explained, and that his spirit transforms their lives from within, giving them eternal life, forgiveness, newness of life and the power to overcome sin.
“None of that would be possible if Christ were not raised from the dead,” she said.
The Bible also teaches, she said, that “if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you’re still guilty in your sins.”
The Rev. Jack Gleason, pastor of Church of St. Mary in Brookside, one of the largest Catholic parishes in Tulsa, said Catholics believe the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact, witnessed not just by his closest followers but by up to 500 other people.
He called the Resurrection the “core belief of our Christian faith, attested to in Scripture, the constant teaching of the church throughout the centuries, and the central reality that we celebrate, not just on Easter, but every Sunday.
“The promise of our own physical resurrection, the promise of our being with the Lord, hinges on Jesus being resurrected,” he said.
Read the complete story in Sunday's World.
Jesus rises from the tomb as his followers rush to greet him in a scene from Victory Christian Center's production of the Easter drama "Risen", performed at the church in Tulsa on Saturday. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World