By Christian George
A recent survey by Evangelical research organization, the Barna Group has revealed that over half of Christians sometimes experience doubts about their religious beliefs.
The driving force to the doubts are said to include hypocrisy of religious people as well as past experience with religious people.
In a survey titled, “Doubt and Faith: Top Reasons People Question Christianity”, it revealed that half of those who are Christian or who have some Christian background or experience (50%) say they have gone through a ‘prolonged’ period of doubt at some point in their life.
According to Christian Post, the study was based on a survey of 2,005 U.S. adults and teenagers ages 13-17 conducted online from Dec. 13–22, 2022, with a margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Source has it that the study also utilized a survey of 511 U.S. Protestant senior pastors conducted online from Dec. 13, 2021– Jan. 3, 2023.
In line with U.S. general population ages 13+, over half of teens and adults report that they have experienced doubts about their religious beliefs at least sometimes in the past few years with the ratio of 12% frequently, 16% occasionally, 24% sometimes.
Others representing 27% of respondents said their doubt came from “past experiences with a religious institution.” In contrast, respondents who were not practicing Christians cited the “hypocrisy of religious people” as “the top driver of doubt.”
The survey further divided its respondents into practicing and non practicing Christians where eight percent of practicing Christians said they “frequently” experience doubts about Christian beliefs, 12% said “occasionally,” 20% said “sometimes,” 37% said “rarely” and 23% said “never.”
Nonpracticing Christians were more likely than practicing Christians to have doubts about their faith with 11% saying said they “frequently” experience doubts about their religious beliefs, while 18% said “occasionally,” 30% said “sometimes,” 24% said “rarely” and 23% said “never.”
Three out of four U.S. adults (74%) say they want to grow spiritually. Additionally, the same proportion (77%) say they believe in a higher power, according to Barna data.
However, findings revealed that Christians in particular, see doubt as a phase to move through or arrive at a certainty or the preferable end goal.”
It also gathered that teens and adults of other faiths and especially those of no faith have more comfort with doubt, less often seeing it as something to be overcome — and even seeing it as something to be praised.