NEWSWEEK COVER: How Jesus Became Christ; From Resurrection to the Rise of Christianity by Jon Meacham Meacham Examines How the Jesus of History 'Whom Many in His Own Time Saw as a

Failed Prophet,' Came to be Viewed by Billions

as the Christ of Faith



Also Looks at How Christianity Succeeded When Other

Religious Movements Failed



Newsweek Poll: 78 Percent Believe in the Resurrection; 76 Percent Believe

Jesus Was Son of God; 75 Percent Believe He Was the Messiah Sent

to Absolve Mankind of Sins



    NEW YORK, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Seventy-six percent of Americans polled
 believe Jesus was the Son of God and 75 percent believe that Jesus was the
 Messiah, sent to Earth to absolve mankind of its sins, the latest Newsweek
 Poll shows.  And a 78-percent majority believe in the resurrection, that Jesus
 rose from the dead after dying on the Cross; 40 percent believe he physically
 rose from the dead and 32 percent believe it was a spiritual resurrection, the
 poll shows.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050321/NYSU008 )
     Eighty-one percent of those polled say they are Christians; they are part
 of the world's largest faith, with 2 billion believers. The poll is part of
 the March 28 Newsweek cover, "How Jesus Became Christ" (on newsstands Monday,
 March 21). Managing Editor Jon Meacham examines the rise of Christianity and
 how the Jesus of history, "whom many in his own time saw as a failed prophet,"
 came to be viewed by billions as the "Christ of faith whom the Nicene Creed
 says is 'the only-begotten Son of God  ...  God of God, Light of Light, Very
 God of very God  ...  by whom all things were made'."
     "And why did Christianity succeed where so many other religious and
 spiritual movements failed?" Meacham writes. "The questions are nearly 2,000
 years old, yet in this culturally divisive American moment, a time when
 believers feel besieged and skeptics think themselves surrounded, a
 reconstruction of Jesus' journey from Jewish prophet to Christian savior
 suggests that faith, like history, is nearly always more complicated than it
 seems," Meacham writes. "For the religious, the lesson is that those closest
 to Jesus accepted little blindly, and, in the words of Origen of Alexandria,
 an early church father, 'It is far better to accept teachings with reason and
 wisdom than with mere faith.' For the secular, the reminder that Christianity
 is the product of two millennia of creative intellectual thought and
 innovation, a blend of history and considered theological debate, should slow
 the occasional rush to dismiss the faithful as superstitious or simple."
     In the Newsweek Poll, 89 percent believe Jesus Christ actually lived and
 72 percent believe Jesus who walked on Earth knew he was the son of God and
 was destined to die and rise again.
     The public is split when it comes to interpreting the Bible: 44 percent
 believe every word of the Bible is literally accurate -- that the events it
 describes actually happened, while 45 percent do not believe it's literally
 accurate.
     When asked whether the apostle Paul, who spread the Christian faith among
 the Gentiles, is the real founder of Christianity, as some believe, as opposed
 to Jesus, just 4 percent say he is; 29 percent say he is a co-founder with
 Jesus and 46 percent say Paul is neither the real founder nor co-founder.
     For the Newsweek Poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates International
 interviewed 1,010 adults aged 18 and older on March 17-18, 2005. The margin of
 error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
 
              (Read entire cover story at http://www.Newsweek.com)
 
                                 Newsweek Poll
                              From Jesus to Christ
               Princeton Survey Research Associates International
 
 
                             Final Topline Results
                                   (3/19/05)
 
     N = 1,010 national adults, 18 and over
     Margin of error: plus or minus 3
     Interviewing dates: March 17-18, 2005
 
     SAMPLE SIZE/MARGIN OF ERROR FOR KEY SUBGROUPS:
 
     319   Republicans (plus or minus 6)
     334   Democrats (plus or minus 6)
     294   Independents (plus or minus 6)
 
     835   Christians (plus or minus 4)
     175   Non-Christians (plus or minus 8)
 
     327   Evangelical Protestants (plus or minus 7)
     261   Non-Evangelical Protestants (plus or minus 7)
     223   Catholics (plus or minus 7)
 
     NOTES: Data is weighted so that sample demographics match Census Current
            Population Survey parameters for gender, age, education, race and
            region. Reported sample sizes are unweighted and should not be used
            to compute percentages. An asterisk (*) indicates a value less than
            1%.
 
     1-3.  On another subject ...  What is your religious preference --
           Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, an Orthodox Church, or
           some other religion? IF PROTESTANT OR "CHRISTIAN": Would you
           describe yourself as a born-again of Evangelical Christian, or not?
 
      81   Total Christian
          33   Evangelical Protestant
          24   Non-Evangelical Protestant
          22   Roman Catholic
           2   Mormon
           *   Orthodox Church
      19   Total Non-Christian
           2   Jewish
           1   Islam/Muslim
           1   Buddhist
           *   Hindu
           1   Other non-Christian faith
          12   No religion
           2   Religion Undesignated
      100
 
     4.  Do you believe in the Holy Trinity, that God has three manifestations
         -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- or don't you believe in
         the Holy Trinity?
 
 
                                      Yes          No           DK
     Current Total                    76           17            7         =100
 
     Total Christians                 88            8            4         =100
        Evangelical Protestants       93            5            2         =100
        Non-Evangelical Protestants   79           14            7         =100
        Catholics                     90            6            4         =100
     Non-Christians                   26           56           18         =100
 
 
     5.  Regardless of your own religious beliefs, we'd like your views about
         Jesus... Do you think Jesus Christ ever actually lived, or not?
 
 
                                     Yes           No           DK
 
     Current Total                    89            4            7         =100
 
     Total Christians                 94            1            5         =100
        Evangelical Protestants       98            1            1         =100
        Non-Evangelical Protestants   91            2            7         =100
        Catholics                     92            1            7         =100
     Non-Christians                   66           18           16         =100
 
     Trends - Total
     (12/2-3/04)                      93            3            4         =100
     (12/10-11/98)                    90            2            8         =100
 
 
     6.  Do you think Jesus was God or the Son of God, or another religious
         leader like Mohammed or Buddha?
 
 
                      God or     Another     Neither/   DK    Don't believe
                      Son of    religious     Other            Jesus ever
                       God        leader      (vol.)             lived
 
     Current Total       76         7           4        9         4       =100
 
     Total Christians    86         4           2        7         1       =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants     96         1           0        2         1       =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants     76         8           2       12         2       =100
        Catholics        83         3           4        9         1       =100
     Non-Christians      28        24          12       18        18       =100
 
     Trend - Total
     (12/2-3/04)         82         6           2        7         3       =100
 
 
     7.  Do you believe Jesus was the Messiah, that is, was sent to Earth to
         absolve mankind of its sins?
 
 
                                Yes       No           DK     Don't believe
                                                                Jesus ever
                                                                  lived
 
     Current Total              75        14            7           4      =100
 
     Total Christians           87         7            5           1      =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants            96         1            2           1      =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants            76        14            8           2      =100
        Catholics               86         7            6           1      =100
     Non-Christians             22        43           17          18      =100
 
     8.  Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead after dying on the Cross?
 
 
                                Yes       No           DK     Don't believe
                                                                Jesus ever
                                                                  lived
 
     Current Total              78        12            6            4     =100
 
     Total Christians           90         5            4            1     =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants            97         1            1            1     =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants            79        12            7            2     =100
        Catholics               89         5            5            1     =100
     Non-Christians             27        39           16           18     =100
 
     Trend - Total
     (12/10-11/98)              79         7            4           10     =100
 
 
     9.  Do you believe that Jesus PHYSICALLY rose from the dead or that it was
         a SPIRITUAL resurrection?
 
 
     Total          Total     Evangelical    Non-Evangel.  Catholics    Non-
                  Christians  Protestants    Protestants             Christians
 
      40 Physically
         rose from
         the dead      47          59             30           43          8
 
      32 Spiritual
         resurrection  35          32             40           39         16
 
      13 Don't know    12           7             16           13         19
 
       4 Don't believe
         Jesus ever
         lived          1           1              2            1         18
      11 Don't believe
         in the
         resurrection   5           1             12            4         39
 
     100               100         100            100          100       100
 
 
     10.  Do you believe that the Jesus who walked on Earth knew he was the son
          of God and was destined to die and rise again?
 
 
                        Yes          No           DK       Don't believe
                                                              Jesus
                                                            ever lived
     Current Total      72           12           12           4         =100
 
     Total Christians   83            7            9           1         =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants    93            2            4           1         =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants    71           13           14           2         =100
        Catholics       80            6           13           1         =100
     Non-Christians     24           33           25          18         =100
 
 
     11.  Now I have a few questions about the Bible ...   Do you believe that
          every word of the Bible is literally accurate - that the events it
          describes actually happened, or not?
 
 
                                 Yes          No           DK
     Current Total               44           45           11          =100
 
     Total Christians            51           39           10          =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants             74           18            8          =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants             34           56           10          =100
        Catholics                35           52           13          =100
     Non-Christians              15           73           12          =100
 
     Trend - Total
     (12/2-3/04)                 55           38            7          =100
 
     12.  The Bible says that Jesus Christ will return to earth someday.  Do
          you believe Jesus will return to earth within the next one thousand
          years, or not?
 
 
                                 Yes          No           DK
     Current Total               42           26           32          =100
 
     Total Christians            48           18           34          =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants             51            9           40          =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants             45           28           27          =100
        Catholics                45           24           31          =100
     Non-Christians              17           59           24          =100
 
     Trends - Total
     (12/2-3/04)                 52           21           27          =100
     (12/10-11/98)               52           19           29          =100
 
 
     13.  Do you believe that Jesus will return to earth IN YOUR LIFETIME?
 
 
 
     Yes          No(1)        DK
     Current Total               12           46           42          =100
 
     Total Christians            14           41           45          =100
        Evangelical
         Protestants             18           25           57          =100
        Non-Evangelical
         Protestants             10           53           37          =100
        Catholics                11           51           38          =100
     Non-Christians               7           66           27          =100
 
     Trend - Total
     (12/2-3/04)                 15           47           38          =100
 
 
     14.  Some people believe that the apostle Paul, who spread the Christian
          faith among the Gentiles, is the real founder of Christianity as
          opposed to Jesus.  What is your opinion? Do you think Paul is the
          real founder of Christianity, or a co-founder of Christianity along
          with Jesus, or is neither?
 
 
     Total         Total     Evangelical    Non-Evangel.   Catholics     Non-
                 Christians  Protestants    Protestants              Christians
 
       4 Real
         founder       4            3              6             3          7
      29 Co-founder   31           30             31            32         20
      46 Neither      49           53             42            49         34
      21 Don't know   16           14             21            16         39
     100             100          100            100           100         100
 
     15.  Now I have just a few more questions so we can describe the people
          who took part in our survey ...  Regardless of how you might have
          voted in recent elections, in politics TODAY, do you consider
          yourself a Republican, Democrat, or Independent?
 
      29   Republican
      34   Democrat
      30   Independent
       3   No party/Not interested in politics (VOL.)
       *   Other party (VOL.)
       4   Don't know
     100
 
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7244999/site/newsweek/
 
      1. "No" and "DK" categories include "No" and "DK" responses from Q17.
 
 

SOURCE Newsweek

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