Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Apostasy Poll

John Loftus normally isn’t good for much, but his recent survey of Skeptical/apostate readers asking about things that caused them to doubt their faith does send a loud and clear message that apologetics is far too neglected in the church today.

Nearly 1000 readers responded to the poll. They were allowed to choose more than one option. Of the 15 tangible options listed (there is a 16th category for “other”), only one ("never believed in the first place") does not have to do with an issue addressed by apologetics.

Of those 15 remaining options, three are outside my scope of expertise – but those that are within my scope admit to very simple solutions in general. It was particularly interesting that 161 respondents (16%) cited, “Doubts About the Existence of Jesus”. It was also interesting to me that 105 (11%) cited, “Jesus Did Not Come Back as Promised” and 243 (25%) cited “Sinners go to Hell”. My own answers to these, of course (preterism, hell as shame) are not of the ordinary type, and I have felt that they improve on the standard answers.

Admittedly, we didn’t need Loftus’ poll – we already knew all of this, but many pastors and teachers have not wanted to admit it. Their idea is that establishing emotional ties to Christian faith is the way to go. Clearly, that’s going to do the job for many people.


  1. So over half of them renounced Christianity for reasons that range from senseless (Jesus didn't exist) to matters that can be answered pretty easily (partial preterism or the thesis laid out in Jesus, Paul and the end of the world) or a misunderstanding of divine justice?
    I'd have hoped it was something substantial, but the shear triviality of it...

  2. ^Just goes to show what kinds of readers subscribe to Loftus.

  3. So, was the "Sinners go to Hell" response the largest single response?

  4. No, that was "General Unreliability of the Bible" with 43% citing it.

  5. Thanks J.P. I'll have a look. What annoys me about him is his tendency to make generalisations about Christians, as if we all think alike. It's good to see that someone has his measure.

    PS: Do you own a Nancy Pearl action figure or own any of the Librarian movies with Noah Wyle?