Perception vs Reality

I read an article in the Southern Cross (Feb 2016 issue) that I would like to share with you. It looks at what people in society think and believe about religion. I found this encouraging because as I look at the media I feel that I am in the minority. But listen to this: “Out of every hundred people, about how many do you think do not affiliate themselves with any religion—that is, atheists, agnostics and those who say they do not identify with any religion? It is one of the questions asked by the IPSOS survey across 33 countries. The idea was to compare perception against reality across a range of issues, including religion. The media would have us believe that Christians and those identifying with any religion are a minority group. … But the reality is fascinating. The survey found that only 25 per cent of Australians identify themselves as irreligious. Or to put it another way, three quarters of people in our country identify themselves as religious in some way. There is an astonishing disconnect between perception and reality. In my view, the media has created the view that Christians are in the minority. We have all heard the derogatory terms—dinosaurs, ancient, out of touch, etc. It has impacted a number of Christians. … But the survey highlights the reality. And it is consistent with other surveys that reveal 72% of Australians believe in miracles, 68% believe that Jesus is the Son of God, 66% believe in the resurrection, and the list goes on. One survey concluded that 78% of the general population are willing to listen to a Christian talk about their faith.” I know that the only thing we see on TV and social media is Christians getting bashed and ridiculed for their beliefs; Israel Folau comes to mind at the moment. But take heart, your community is more open then you think. I have spoken to many people here in Cairns about Jesus: atheists, people from the LGBTI community, other religions, and they are all respectful and interested. Many people love to hear about Jesus and the Bible, despite what mainstream media will have you believe. Yes, persecution will come too, but so will acceptance. Empowered by the Spirit (we are to witness), we are to make disciples of Jesus, of all people of all ages to the glory of God the Father.

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