When asked about
Christianity’s recent contributions to society, Americans cited more negatives
than benefits, according to a new survey.
The negative contribution
cited most was hatred or violence in the name of Jesus, according to the Barna
Group survey. Other frequently cited examples included opposition to gay
marriage and the Roman Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal.
The positive contribution
mentioned most was Christians’ helping the poor, as well as evangelism and
influencing the country’s values.
“Overall, there was a more
extensive and diverse list of complaints about Christians and their churches
than there was of examples of the benefits they have provided to society,” said
the Barna Group, a Christian firm that researches U.S. faith and culture, in a
report released Oct. 25.
Researchers, who asked
open-ended questions, found that one in four respondents could not name a
single positive contribution made by Christians in recent years to American
society. Just 12 percent could not think of a single negative contribution.
The findings were based on
telephone interviews Aug. 16-22 with a random sample of 1,000 U.S. adults and
had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.