Author: Nick Spencer
Publication Date: September 2003
Format: Booklet, 72 pages
What stops people from hearing the Gospel? Why do some people dismiss Christianity out of hand? What are the main barriers to religious faith today? Are there any bridges to counterbalance them?...
What stops people from hearing the Gospel? Why do some people dismiss Christianity out of hand? What are the main barriers to religious faith today? Are there any bridges to counterbalance them?
These were some of the questions LICC explored in our recent research project Beyond Belief?
40 non-church-attending agnostics, of differing ages, gender and socio-economic groups were professionally recruited and interviewed in five 2 hour group discussions.
The groups looked at:
- people's attitude to and understanding of religion, Christianity, Christians, and the Church
- people's personal spiritual (and to a lesser extent social) beliefs
- what they saw as the barriers to Christian faith today, how strong were these barriers and where did they come from
- and how people envisaged the future.
The objective of the work was to get a genuine grassroots perspective of what separated people from faith today...
- listening to the prejudices, assumptions, misapprehensions, misunderstandings, experiences, hopes, beliefs, and opinions as they really are and in the actual language of the agnostic (as opposed to what Christians think they are or should be!)
- and then formulating a framework which would enable Christians to think through a response.
This framework forms the structure of the report, firstly around - the barriers: cultural, personal, ecclesiastical, and intellectual - and then the potential bridges: social, personal, ecclesiastical, and intellectual
In doing so the reports examines some fascinating modern trends: 'Guerrilla Morality', Totalitolerance, 'Spiritual Football', Grand Central Tension, etc