Survey Says Christians Are Annoying January 9, 2008

Survey Says Christians Are Annoying

A new study of people who do not regularly attend church by LifeWay Research, “the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention,” shows us the following:

  • 44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”
  • 72% agree that the church is “full of hypocrites.”
  • 61% say the God of the Bible is “no different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.,” although Buddhist philosophy has no god and Hindus worship many.
  • 79% say “Christianity today is more about organized religion than loving God and loving people.”

Again, these numbers are only percentages of the “unchurched,” not the general population.

Other results from the survey are more favorable to Christians.

You can also see the results in this nifty-looking Powerpoint presentation.

On a side note, I like the headline about this survey from Fark:

Survey finds 44 percent of Americans are annoyed by Christians, going to hell

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Only 44% report being annoyed by Christians? Well, I suppose social desirability can have powerful effects in this sort of survey.

  • Oh heck, I’m Christian myself and I’m annoyed by Christians on a regular basis.

  • *stifles frustrated comment about the differences between religion and philosophy vis a vis Buddhism*

    I’m a little skeptical of their survey methodology. According to the article:

    LifeWay Research . . . conducted the survey of 1,402 “unchurched” adults last spring and summer. . . . The survey defines “unchurched” as people who had not attended a religious service in a church, synagogue or mosque at any time in the past six months.

    Past six months, conducted in spring and summer? As stated, that would rule out anyone who only goes to church on Easter Sunday. It makes the survey date-dependent; Easter-only Christians would still count as responders if the survey were conducted in November. They should have a contingency for holiday services: either say they don’t count at all, or count all of them throughout the year.

  • although Buddhist philosophy has no god and Hindus worship many

    People are addressing the same experience, an experience they believe is rooted outside of the world of apparent physical experience, it’s not any great surprise that they come up with different ways to describe that and no way to say that any one of them is valid. In every one of the named traditions I’ve ever read anything in, what they are addressing is bigger than it would be possible for anyone or even everyone to describe in its entirety. So, all well behaved ultimates are equal as far as I’m concerned.

    The same goes for believers. You give respect and room for all other people, you get the same for yourself. You infringe on other peoples’ rights, you get called on it. That’s what I mean by liberalism.

  • Hemant,

    What an interesting survey! I looked at the powerpoint, and I don’t know if the people surveyed are very consistent in their views. They contradict themselves in their answers.

    As you pointed out, the survey says:

    79% think that Christianity today is “more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people.”
    72% agree that the church is “full of hypocrites.”
    44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”

    But the survey also says:

    74% think that The Christian religion is a “relevant and viable religion for today.”
    78% said that “if someone wanted to tell me what she or he believed about Christianity, I would be willing to listen.”

    If I viewed a group of people as not genuine, considered them hypocrites, and they often got on my nerves; I would never perceive their way of thinking as relevant and viable, nor would I be interested in sitting down to listen to what they have to say. It doesn’t make sense to me.

    Either the people surveyed don’t really know what their own views are, or they are hypocrites themselves. But that’s just my analysis.

  • Renacier

    I noticed that too, Linda.

    I think it’s fair to say that when talking about a particular topic, if you’re asked a negatively themed question you tend to think more about the negative aspects. And you tend to focus on the positive aspects during a more positive question. That’s why one of the risks of a survey is skewing the responses with the way the questions are worded.

    It may be uncharitable of me, but for a number of reasons, I tend to discount any statistical information offered by religious groups. I have no faith in their competence or honesty in these matters.

  • It’s an interesting survey, I’d be curious as to the methodology, since you have to ask the same questions in positive and negative ways othewise you end up with skewed results (which Renacier mentioned), unless of course that’s what you are looking for.

    Honestly, in my experience, if I make the statement that someone is an annoying Christian it’s usually becuase they are in my face or obnoxious about it. It’s not like I walk down the street saying, “Hey that Christian over there is annoying”, how would I know that without having a conversation with them and they decide that their Christianity is relevant to the conversation somehow. I can assure you I doubt bring up religion because in Indiana, USA you don’t make a point to announce you are an atheist or worse an humanist.

  • * 44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”

    I agree. Christians often get on my nerves too, and I am one.

    * 72% agree that the church is “full of hypocrites.”

    Very true, though that’s kind of the point. When you have an organization that preaches forgiveness and personal transformation of course you’re going to have people who are not as far along in that process as others – hence the problem of often not yet practicing what we preach, i.e. hypocrisy.

    * 61% say the God of the Bible is “no different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.,” although Buddhist philosophy has no god and Hindus worship many.

    Now that I would disagree with. This is just sloppy philosophy and not very respectful of the true diversity among worldviews.

    * 79% say “Christianity today is more about organized religion than loving God and loving people.”

    Yep, that’s one of the major complaints raised by the Emerging Church movement as well.

  • Richard Wade

    Thank you, everybody above for commenting on the various aspects of this survey such as sampling, timing, interpretation and phrasing that put its validity into question. We are bombarded by surveys and polls and we as a culture give far too much credence to them.

    The design of such surveys is extremely subtle and difficult. The exact phrasing of each question has the potential to instill the survey writer’s bias into the results. For instance I find the wording of the item “Christians get on my nerves” to be bizarre. That figure of speech has so many ambiguous meanings that it renders the answers useless. If it was phrased “Christians annoy me,” or “Christians irritate me” or “Christians are dorks” the results would be different for each version. Also, qualifying the statement with “Some Christians get on my nerves” will very strongly change the results. Without that qualifier the statement can possibly imply that all Christians get on the subject’s nerves, and people who don’t find all of them objectionable may answer no to that. Several of the items in the survey have these kinds of built-in problems.

    I agree with Renacier that looking askance at such surveys is a good idea. All that stuff about lies, damn lies and statistics is a valid caution.

  • Cale

    This is dumb and doesn’t prove anything. I could have asked that about any group and gotten similar results. Do the Ron Paul supporters annoy you on the internet? Do people with a hidden agenda who try to discount peoples beliefs annoy you? Does a man looking over your shoulder watching your every move annoy you? YES. YES. YES.

  • I agree that the apparent hypocrisy in some of the statistics of the answers in the survey were due to the questions being poorly worded. There is a real science for conducting a proper survey and this one was obviously flawed. Even the “professional” pollsters often get it wrong . Just look at the NH primary. Also, early on election night 4 years ago, exit polls predicted that John Kerry was going to win the election. They probably were not asking the right questions.

  • Robert Bowland

    This comment to some degree has very little to do with the issue addressed, but indirectly watch the movie “School Ties” 1992 starring Brenden Fraser, Matt Damon, and Chris O’Donnel and you’ll get why most Americans don’t really want Christianity governing our American community.
    The plot is simple and to the point. Religion hates anything to do with anyone who is different rather it is a different religion or race or whatever, in this case a Jew. Though the movie ends with a note about usery. The South is a good example of this paradigm. The South uses blacks and other races as tools to their richly success. Black atheletes make it big in the South because they make money for the rich whites. Since, the South is the focus of our political religious indifference, it goes to say that this kind of Hitler liking mentality can raise its ugly head especially from the point of view of the Southern white Christian Fundamentalist thinker. Imagine going back to the time of Nazt Germany with the support of Jew hating Christians that dominated the South. This mentality still exists. We don’t want these Aryans running our nation. Do you?

  • Showing my age here, but the title of this post makes me think of that old game show, Family Feud, hosted by Richard Dawson for all those years. Survey says…Christians are annoying! I love it.

  • Dorothy

    Wonderful! 🙂

    Thank God for Charles Darwin, The Castro, and J.K. Rowling!

  • firepox

    i think that the large misunderstandings of christainity is caused by false teachers like the ones on tv that say if you give them money you will be saved and catholics veiw of purgatory and that most anti christain fantics use these examples to try to steer people away from the faith and now everyone thinks of these false teachings as tru

  • 100% are annoyed by you

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