Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What was the Question?

Bit of research from Stateside by Ed Stetzer.

For decades, the phrase, "If you were to die today, do you know for sure you would go to heaven?" was associated with evangelical attempts at sharing their faith. My guess is that millions of people have been asked that question over the last few decades-- and I would not be surprised if God used such a conversation and question and many many became followers of Christ.

But, the question itself always intrigued me. And, one of the great things about my job (as a researcher), is I get to say, "I wonder..."

And, in this case, I wondered how many people really ask that question.

Stetzer compared this with the number of people asking questions about meaning and purpose (see top chart) and argues that approaches to sharing faith that focus on the latter will be more fruitful, which explains the success of books like 'Purpose Driven Life'.
Unless regular churchgoers were excluded from the sample, both the above charts are likely (in the USA at least) to include a sizeable number. It would be helpful to see charts which had the figures for people who aren't Christians. If folk in church are being encouraged to think that the 2 questions above are really important ones, then that could account for most of the responses on the left hand side of the chart.

There's another question about whether particular approaches are actually biblical, and consistent with the way Jesus did things. Apart from telling the thief on the cross that he'd join him in paradise, did Jesus actually address either of the above questions?

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