Talking About Christianity Could Just Put People Off – Church of England Signals

The Church of England is set to signal to members that speaking openly about their faith could do more harm than good when it comes to spreading Christianity

Asked about the finding that only 19 per cent wanted to know more after speaking to a Christian compared with 59 per cent who said they did not, Mr Fittall said: “How many of us have walked along Victoria Street or somewhere in London and heard somebody standing there shouting things out?

 

The Church of England is set to signal to members that speaking openly about their faith could do more harm than good when it comes to spreading Christianity.

Stark new research findings being presented to members of the Church’s ruling General Synod suggest that practising Christians who talk to friends and colleagues about their beliefs are three times as likely to put them off God as to attract them.

The study commissioned privately by the Church of England and a coalition of other Christian groups also found that four in 10 British adults did not even think that Jesus was “real person who actually lived”.

Meanwhile a third of those surveyed said they were not aware of anyone they know being a practising Christian.

The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Michael Hill, admitted the findings had been “greeted with disbelief” but warned members of the Synod not to dismiss them because they did not fit with their “preconceptions” about the public.

The Church’s most senior lay official, the Synod’s Secretary General William Fittall, added that some forms of outreach by Christians hoping to win new converts should be recognised as “counterproductive”.

The findings, which present one of the gloomiest pictures ever about the state of Christianity in Britain, were sent out to almost 470 members of the Synod, which is due to discuss how to tackle the crisis in the pews when it meets in London next month.

The study, called “Talking Jesus”, was commissioned jointly by the Church of England, the Evangelical Alliance and “Hope” an umbrella body which brings local churches together in different areas, in an attempt to arrest the decline in attendances.

It suggests that British society is polarised about Christian beliefs.

Overall 43 per cent of those surveyed said they believed in the resurrection – although more than half of those said they did not take the Biblical accounts literally.

Yet only 60 per cent believed that Jesus even existed with 22 per cent describing him as a “mythical or fictional character” and another 18 per cent unsure. Among under-35s the proportion viewing Jesus as a fictional character rises to 25 per cent.

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