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← Survey finds most Americans believe Jesus born of virgin

Survey finds most Americans believe Jesus born of virgin - Comments

JayD's Avatar Comment 1 by JayD

15% of atheists and agnostics think the virgin birth was historically true? That's rather disturbing.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 10:20:00 UTC | #97567

writerdd's Avatar Comment 2 by writerdd

All that means is so many people know the Bible story that Jesus was born of a virgin. It doesn't mean they think it's true. If you ask people "Does Santa Claus live at the North Pole?" most would say "Yes" even though they know it's a fictional story.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 10:35:00 UTC | #97572

bruce's Avatar Comment 3 by bruce

Except for atheists and agnostics, of whom just 15 percent took the virgin birth story as historically true

I don't think you get to call yourself and atheist or agnostic if you think this is true. On the other hand, I know some self-proclaimed agnostics who are into the healing power of crystals and whatnot.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 10:39:00 UTC | #97573

the way's Avatar Comment 4 by the way

lies - damn lies - and statistics

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 10:49:00 UTC | #97577

blueollie's Avatar Comment 5 by blueollie

My Jewish friends tell me: "relax. ALL good Jewish boys think that their mommies are virgins!"

In all honesty, this is hilarious, especially when you consider that the "virgin birth" story resulted from the authors of the gospels using the Septuigant (Greek Bible) which mistakenly translated "young woman" as "virgin" in Isiah.

The Roman Catholic Church insists that this was a divinely ordained mistake! :)

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 10:54:00 UTC | #97579

dialector's Avatar Comment 6 by dialector

I think the survey is bogus. You can make people answer however you want if you ask the question in the right way.

The Barna Group is a pro Christian organization. Of course their published surveys are going to support their cause.

I live in America and I don't know who those people are asking, but I do not know any atheists or agnostics who believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

In a word, the survey is a lie.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:03:00 UTC | #97580

Russell's Teapot's Avatar Comment 7 by Russell's Teapot

Anyone else notice that the percentage of people who believed in each little Bible story decreased seemingly as a function of how famous the story is? You get huge amounts of people believing in Jesus' virgin birth, then 69% for water into wine, and down to 49% for Samson and Delilah.

Edit: Well now that I think of it, according to my hypothesis Adam and Eve should be higher than that, though they did throw in the bit about the literal devil...Maybe just a function of how the polling questions were asked. How else do you explain 15% virgin birth belief in atheists and agnostics?

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:08:00 UTC | #97581

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 8 by Cook@Tahiti

Shock survey result: 50% of Americans are of below average intelligence.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:10:00 UTC | #97582

BMMcArdle's Avatar Comment 9 by BMMcArdle

83% of all statistics are made-up.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:24:00 UTC | #97585

Corylus's Avatar Comment 10 by Corylus

Except for atheists and agnostics, of whom just 15 percent took the virgin birth story as historically true, a majority of all other subgroups believed it to be factual.


One possible explanation for this is that they misunderstood what is meant by "historically true".

Some college educated types brainwashed by postmodernist drivel tend to spew out such notions as "history is merely a series of differing narratives - so simplistic to talk about facts!!"

I smell epistemological relativism and PC bullshit here.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:27:00 UTC | #97586

smithyboy's Avatar Comment 11 by smithyboy

Except for atheists and agnostics, of whom just 15 percent took the virgin birth story as historically true, a majority of all other subgroups believed it to be factual.

As we looked at 65 or 66 different population subgroups, and compared them across all kinds of measures, there really was not much distinction across any of the groups," Mr. Barna said.


1005 divided by 65 = 15 (which is making an assumption of course). 15% of this is 2 or 3 people. So I don't think anything can be read into this.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:38:00 UTC | #97589

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 12 by Matt H.

except for atheists and agnostics, of whom just 15 percent took the virgin birth story as historically true


Sorry for the swear, but that's bullshit.

It's like saying 15% of atheists believe Mohammed was the sacred prophet of Allah, or Moses was spoken to by Yahweh through a burning bush. You're not an atheist if you believe such nonsense - you are a THEIST.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 12:05:00 UTC | #97593

delta2echo's Avatar Comment 13 by delta2echo

"Except for atheists and agnostics, of whom just 15 percent took the virgin birth story as historically true, a majority of all other subgroups believed it to be factual."

It says "and agnostics", They group athiests and agnostics into one group. I HIGHLY doubt an athiest would even entertain the idea of a Virgin Birth, but an agnostic might.


If we assume that at a minimum 1 person answered the question in the postitive then that means the group had 6-7 people. Which in total would make up .5% of the total 1005 people survayed. Seeing as there are 66 some-odd groups I dont see this as unreasonable. One person screwen it up for the rest of us!

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 12:10:00 UTC | #97595

alexmzk's Avatar Comment 14 by alexmzk

The Ventura, Calif.-based polling firm asked 1,005 adults whether they viewed six Bible stories as literal truth or "merely as stories told to communicate life's principles."

out of the entire population of America, 1005's not enough for a valid poll.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 12:13:00 UTC | #97596

NormanDoering's Avatar Comment 15 by NormanDoering

How else do you explain 15% virgin birth belief in atheists and agnostics?
Parthenogenesis

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 12:18:00 UTC | #97597

cyris8400's Avatar Comment 16 by cyris8400

I think the amount of atheists and agnostics who believe in the Virgin Birth can be ascribed to those who are either ignorant, disbelieving of religion but without interest in science and reason, or [ugh] "spiritual" types.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 12:51:00 UTC | #97605

Noodly's Avatar Comment 17 by Noodly

Barna isn't the quite the Christian stooge that you might think at first sight.

From http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm:

"Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.

George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:

'While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.'"

Apparently he took a lot of stick from Christians on this, but stuck by his results. No doubt the formulation of this latest survey is open to question, but cut him some slack over his intentions.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 13:02:00 UTC | #97608

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 18 by Mr DArcy

So 75% of those polled believed in the virgin birth. What did Joseph think about his missus being zapped by the holy ghost? Did the droit de seigneur apply to Mary? Apparently so. Hardly a strong basis for the world's biggest organised superstition, where the Lord gets to have his way first.

And yet we get characters like D'Souza arguing that Christianity is the source of the best and only moral code.

Still from Mary's point of view, better to have been shagged by a god, than never to have been shagged at all.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 13:05:00 UTC | #97610

JasonG's Avatar Comment 19 by JasonG

The Barna Group has a web site discussing their survey in a bit more detail:

http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrow&BarnaUpdateID=286

Notably, however, they don't say precisely how they phrased their questions or whom they were labeling as "atheist" or "agnostic." The fact that *any* atheists or agnostics answered "yes" to this query ought to have prompted the Barna Group to question the validity of their survey (unless, of course, they were interested in inflating the numbers).

Something that's not mentioned in the Toledo Blade article---on the web site above, the Barna Group also claims that 8% of atheists and agnostics accept the story of Eve and the serpent!

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 13:11:00 UTC | #97612

ScarSick's Avatar Comment 20 by ScarSick

the Barna Group also claims that 8% of atheists and agnostics accept the story of Eve and the serpent!
This is quite remarkable when that the very story is believed by 56 percent of total respondents. (the second lowest percentage of biblical stories believed in the bible, according to this study).

Also, an earlier poster made a valid criticism of this poll, when questioning the reliability of the poll. Based on the rather small number of respondents, it would be a mistake to draw any conclusions from this study. Clearly, this poll is not represented properly given the misrepresentation of the American population.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 13:54:00 UTC | #97624

quill's Avatar Comment 21 by quill

I'm also going to call bullshit on this poll. I happen to know that Christians account for considerably less than 75% of the population, and I don't think anyone who is not Christian would believe Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin.

The Ventura, Calif.-based polling firm asked 1,005 adults whether they viewed six Bible stories as literal truth or "merely as stories told to communicate life's principles."
One wonders why the options were not simply "literal truth" or "not literal truth". But then, I think I already know why. I used to have some respect for the Barna Group, but not anymore.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 14:47:00 UTC | #97634

joeyoap's Avatar Comment 22 by joeyoap

Joseph"what do you mean your pregnant we haven't had sex"
Mary"Urrrggh it was god what done it-honest"

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 15:05:00 UTC | #97640

Freelance Cynic's Avatar Comment 23 by Freelance Cynic

joeyoap -

Yeah, I always saw the virgin birth story as the greatest excuse, ever!

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 15:34:00 UTC | #97649

Divineosaur's Avatar Comment 24 by Divineosaur

Shenanigans!

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 15:36:00 UTC | #97650

Paine's Avatar Comment 25 by Paine

These surveys are all bullshit, anyway.
Having just identified yourself as a Christian, you're sure as hell not going to go on and deny the virgin birth, are you?

Q. Are you a Christian?
A. Yes

Q. Do you believe Jesus was the son of god?
A. Yes

Q. Do you believe he was born of a virgin?
A. Errrr...actually no, that's just a made up fable.

Even the most feckless moron is not going to say that!

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 16:13:00 UTC | #97658

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 26 by prettygoodformonkeys

1) Jesus had brothers, children of Mary, and so she was not a virgin. This view is unpopular with the church, and history has been re-written.

2) The average IQ is 100; enough said.

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 16:40:00 UTC | #97664

Double Bass Atheist's Avatar Comment 27 by Double Bass Atheist

It still amazes me just how many people are so completely unaware of the simple fact that there are dozens of 'virgin birth' deity stories that pre-date Christianity. As Hitchens points out, in the ancient world the female birth canal was considered a one-way street. A corporeal 'god' wasn't legit unless he/she came into this world via a 'virgin birth.' This is such easily ascertained informationÂ… why are most people unaware the history of their own religion?

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 16:58:00 UTC | #97668

Zeratul's Avatar Comment 28 by Zeratul

I am more interested in the details of the Immaculate Copulation (not Conception, mind you). The penetration. ejaculation, etc, etc... No details in the Bible!

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 18:42:00 UTC | #97685

the way's Avatar Comment 29 by the way

I've been wondering this a while now and this thread seems a good place to ask! Does anyone know what the proportion, or how many believers visit this site? Do the De Souza's and McGrath's or the clergy visit (for research!)?...is there a record of visits per month anywhere?

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 23:40:00 UTC | #97706

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 30 by Diacanu

Jaaaaayzus Keeeerist!!

*Facepalm*

Sun, 23 Dec 2007 00:05:00 UTC | #97710