Ninety percent of Americans think science and technology will play major roles
in the 21st century, and nearly 60 percent are pleased about that. By a
55-percent to 39-percent margin, they think the nations "growing reliance on
technology" is "good" because "it makes life more convenient" rather than "bad"
because "well become too dependent on it." Even more see advances in medical
science as "good" because "they allow people to live longer" (66 percent)
rather than "bad" because "they interfere with the natural cycle of life" (29
Source: America: Past, Present, Future by the American People,
The Pew Research Center, 1999.
If U.S. News Online is polling its online visitors about hell, why
dont we ask our friends and neighbors what they think?
When the magazine questioned professors at
universities and theological schools, it found that many of the theological
literati found hell to be a "part of an understanding of the cosmos that just
doesnt exist anymore," or even "cartoonish."
But what do Southern Baptists believe? Phil Roberts, a theologian who writes
on spirituality in our culture, told On Mission: "The Bible clearly
affirms the reality of hell. Jesus spoke more frequently about it than about
heaven. Opinion polls may vacillate and change, but we must stick to the truth
and total reliability of Gods Word."
The online survey by U.S. News found that:
Seventy-eight percent of people believe in a heaven "where people who have
led good lives are eternally rewarded."
Forty-one percent believe their chances of going to heaven were
Sixty-four percent believe in a hell, "to which people who have led bad
lives without being sorry are eternally damned."
Fifty-three percent believe hell is "an anguished state of existence
eternally separated from God or a universal Spirit, [rather] than an actual
Thirty-four percent believe that hell is "a real place where people suffer
eternal fiery torments apart from loved ones and God or a universal
Fifty-two percent were "certain that there is life after death."
Source: "Hell hath no fury," U.S. News Online, January 31,
2000; "Poll Results," U.S. News Online, January 26, 1999.
Think you know your neighbors? Take another look,
because a recent survey from the National Opinion Research Center at the
University of Chicago reveals that the good ol traditional family living near
you might not be who you think they are.
The most common American household these days is unmarried with no children, according
to the survey. That arrangement comprises 33 percent of all households.
Married with children makes up 26 percentdown from 45 percent in 1972. Both
parents now have jobs in two-thirds of all families.
Source: "Marriage wanes as American families enter new century,
University of Chicago research shows," The University of Chicago News,
November 24, 1999.
Eighty-three percent of Americans expect to
answer for their sins before God on Judgment Day.
Source: Retropolitics, The Pew
Research Group, November 1999.
Just how much do people value their
religious beliefs? A recent Gallup poll determined that, among Americans, age
and the importance of religion go hand in hand.
Based on age, below is a chart of the answers to the question "How important
is religion in your own life?" Find yourself on the chart and see if it matches
up with what you believe.
Source: "The Age Factor in Religious Attitudes and Behavior," The Gallup
Organization, July 14, 1999.
While WWJD makes fashion (and faith) statements across the continent and has
people asking themselves "What would Jesus do?" the question remains, how
important is it to people to know what He would do? Not as important as finding
out how to avoid taxes, apparently.
According to Infomarkets.coms "How Much Would You Pay To Know," Americans
would pay nearly $9,200 to know how to avoid paying taxes, but only $3,451.32
to know what Jesus would do.
Source: NewsDash@PlanSponsor.com, March 23, 2000.
Religious, though not necessarily Christian, books are currently experiencing a
wave of popularity as people become more and more open to spirituality.
Writer-editor Philip Zaleski, a committee of
religious luminaries and the publishing company HarperSanFrancisco recently
released a list of what they considered the "Best Spiritual Books of the
Century." Several Christian classics made the list, including Letters and
Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Orthodoxy by G.K.
Chesterton. The list also included books about Native American spirituality,
Zen Buddhism and other religious worldviews. Books on the list include:
Black Elk Speaks by Black Elk
Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I and Thou by Martin Buber
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
Waiting for God by Simone Weil
Source: "Top Ten Best Spiritual Books," The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, November, 6, 1999.
North American Mission Board church planters start churches based on ethnicity,
interests and ministry. By December 2000, Southern Baptists will have
approximately 50,000 congregations. This represents a congregation for every
5,700 people in the United States and one for every 227,000 in Canada. NAMBs
church planting group has set a goal of starting 2,000 churches in 2000.
As the demographic makeup of North America changes, so must the work of
those planting churches to reach North Americans. Current immigration trends
are changing North America from a predominantly European-settled area to a
multi-ethnic, world-settled one.
Did you know
during the last decade, Asians grew by 107 percent, Hispanics by 53 percent,
Native Americans by 38 percent while the general population grew by only 6
there are more Hispanics in America than any country except Mexico or
there are more African Americans in America than any country except
there are more Jews in North America than in Israel?
there are more Samoans in America than in Samoa?
there are more Polish people in Chicago than Warsaw?
Note: The 1999 church planting statistics are still in process. Some
states have not reported data for the year. The group "not classified by ethnic
type" is no longer being used.
Source: Church Planting Group, North American Mission Board.
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