By Sabahat Ali, USA
Perfect man and perfect God.
Five simple words upon which rests the foundation of modern Christianity.
Five words which many Americans no longer believe.
A 2020 survey carried out by Florida-based Ligonier Ministries reveals that while 52% of Americans do believe that Jesus (as) of Nazareth was a great teacher, he was certainly not God.
100 years ago, this number would have been jarring to say the least.
But this number demonstrates so much more than just the fact that people are quickly renouncing the divinity of Christ. The idea that Jesus (as) of Nazareth possesses divine powers or supernatural traits is the beam upon which his supposed, miraculous return from the sky must be predicated. This belief – that Jesus was more than just a man – is central to the doctrine of most Muslims as well as Christians. Christians contend that he was the son of God, while Muslims do not. However, they still ascribe to him the ability to remain alive for 2000 years in the heavens and make a journey across the universe and back.. According to the Pew Research Center, (which put the global Muslim population at 1.8 Billion[i]and Christian population at 2.3 Billion in 2015[ii]) this means that nearly 60% of the world falls under the category of faiths whose mainstream followers expect Jesus (as) to return physically.
But even within the Muslim and Christian world, this number is steadily in decline. Between the enlightenment of Europe and today’s secular education and scientific growth, the last half-century has witnessed an increasing number of Christians and Muslims abandon their centuries-long wait for a Messiah from the skies.
In fact, in the same 2020 survey, more than a third of the 630 people identifying as evangelical Christians also expressed that they did not believe Jesus (as) to be God. Ascribing divine powers to Jesus also fuels the prevalent belief that he will return physically from the heavens after thousands of years. Yet even this belief has fallen out of favor in recent years. According to one study from 2010, 58% of evangelical Christians reported that they believe Christ will certainly return by 2050[iii]. But even 10 years ago, only 35% of Americans with any college experience and only 19% of college graduates believed that Jesus (as) would return.[iv]
Another survey conducted in Canada, of more than 3000 Canadians corroborates this trend exactly. The 2015 assessment by Angus Reid concluded that ‘The share of people who believe that Jesus was the divine son of God has steadily gone down.’[v]
Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
— The Muslim Times (@The_MuslimTimes) April 5, 2016