Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians

Today’s BBC News reports:

A quarter of people who describe themselves as Christians in Great Britain do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, a survey commissioned by the BBC suggests.

However, almost one in 10 people of no religion say they do believe the Easter story, but it has “some content that should not be taken literally”.

A fifth of non-religious people believe in life after death, the poll suggests.

The Church of England said it showed many people held religious beliefs.

ComRes surveyed 2,010 British adults by telephone, between 2 and 12 February 2017. The research was commissioned by BBC local radio for Palm Sunday.

The survey suggested:

  • 17% of all people believe the Bible version word-for-word
  • 31% of Christians believe word-for-word the Bible version, rising to 57% among “active” Christians (those who go to a religious service at least once a month)
  • Exactly half of all people surveyed did not believe in the resurrection at all
  • 46% of people say they believe in some form of life after death and 46% do not
  • 20% of non-religious people say they believe in some form of life after death
  • 9% of non-religious people believe in the Resurrection, 1% of whom say they believe it literally
Belief in the resurrection

Reverend Dr Lorraine Cavenagh is the acting general secretary for Modern Church, which promotes liberal Christian theology.

She said: “I think [people answering the survey] are being asked to believe in the way they might have been asked to believe when they were at Sunday school.

“You’re talking about adults here. And an adult faith requires that it be constantly questioned, constantly re-interpreted, which incidentally is very much what modern church is actually about.

“Science, but also intellectual and philosophical thought has progressed. It has a trickle-down effect on just about everybody’s lives.

“So to ask an adult to believe in the resurrection the way they did when they were at Sunday school simply won’t do and that’s true of much of the key elements of the Christian faith.”

Respondents were split evenly on the issue of life after death. While the majority of Christians say they do believe, just 46% of the general public do and 46% do not. The remaining 8% say they do not know.

Examples of life after death given in the survey included heaven, hell and reincarnation.

Three in ten Christians surveyed (31%) said they did not believe in life after death.

However a fifth of non-religious people surveyed said they did (21%).

Commenting for the Church of England, the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, said: “This important and welcome survey proves that many British people, despite not being regular churchgoers, hold core Christian beliefs.

“Alongside them it finds surprisingly high levels of religious belief among those who follow no specific religion, often erroneously referred to as secularists or atheists.

“This demonstrates how important beliefs remain across our society and hence the importance both of religious literacy and of religion having a prominent place in public discourse.”

The survey found women were more likely to believe in life after death than men, around 56% of women surveyed compared with 36% of men.

Of those who did believe in life after death, two thirds of those surveyed (65%) said they thought their souls would go to “another life” such as heaven or hell while a third thought they would be reincarnated (32%).

Professor Linda Woodhead, of the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, said: “This polling confirms that Britain is now split down the middle between those who call themselves Christian and those who say no religion, but this is not a simple division between religious and secular.

“A significant proportion of Christians don’t believe in life after death and a significant number of the non-religious do.

“Belief in a soul and an afterlife persists, including amongst young people, even though belief in the resurrection of Christ and the authority of the Church and the Bible are in decline.”

How often people go to church

Almost two in five Christians surveyed say that they never attend religious services (37%).

Just one fifth say they attend every week (20%).

However, younger Christians were more likely than older Christians to say they regularly attend religious services.

Two in five 18-24 year old Christians (41%) surveyed and 25-34 year old Christians (42%) say they attend a service at least once a month, compared with about a quarter of 45-54 year olds (22%) and 55-64 year olds (26%).

In the survey, people were asked to choose whether they believed in the resurrection of Jesus “word-for-word” as described in the Bible, whether they believed it happened but that some of the Bible content should “not be taken literally”, whether they did not believe in the resurrection or whether they did not know.

Full data tables are available at

Categories: Christianity, News

27 replies

  1. many christians I meet don not believe trinity and divinity of jesus. they are muslims but they do not know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did Jesus Predict his Death & Resurrection After Three Days? Response to Licona’s Catch 22 Argument

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Interesting stats.

    Wait didn’t Paul of Tarsus say something about faith being in vain if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead?

    Christians ignoring Paul’s teachings.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If they don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead, then they are not Christians.

    Going to church or saying that one is a Christian does not make one a Christian.

    Jesus said, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23)

    their nature was never changed. (2 Peter 2:22)

    It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22


    • even some of the disciples after seeing Jesus’s resurrection still doubted according to Matthew 28. Guess they were not Christians either.

      Liked by 2 people

    • struggling with doubt is not the same as outright unbelief


    • Those stats talk about people who identify as Christian but don’t actively go to church, I.e nominal or cultural Christians.

      I had a work colleague in a Muslim majority nation who identified as a Muslim culturally but didn’t believe or practice any of the tenets of the faith. It happens all over the world

      Liked by 1 person

    • matthew 7:21none of those who cry out,lord lord (christians) will enter the kingdom of god but the one who does (muslims) the will of my father in heaven. NAB 21.century will bring radical changes to christianity. new anti tinitarian,anti original sin,anti osas reformers will change the shape of christianity toward original teaching of jesus. without guidance of quran it is not possible to have 100% original teacings of jesus but they will do their best. luther,calvin and others do only little make up to catholik church. they don not touch trinity,sunday,eucharist,bible canon,etc. even sometime they make it worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. And the rest can’t agree what it actually means.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why did Jesus never bother to mention the core doctrine of the Christian theology?

    You would think that if he was going to suffer or die for everyone’s sins then he would have at least attempted to tell everyone he could about the trinity rather than to die a futile death without telling ANYONE…

    Why did he not love humanity enough to tell everyone ” God has 3 persons” or anything about triune Godhead blah blah?


    • qaqawani, yes you are right. It is inevitable. Unitarians are the thin edge of a wedge that will usher in a more monotheistic approach to God. Then eventually they will all realise Islam was there all along.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Matthew 28:19 is Jesus teaching and laying the foundations for the doctrine of the Trinity.


    • Matthew 28:19 was probably made up by the author of the gospel.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No; Jesus said it. The Didache, one of the earliest non-canonical writings – quotes it; it is true and authentic.


    • In an earlier post on this blog Raymond Brown discussed the reasons many historians do not consider it likely to be historical, I agree with them. It makes no senses in the historical context.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond Brown is not credible; I have his NT introduction per your recommendation; and I found his arguments for synoptics being after 70 AD to be really bad and besides, if you take his scholarship to be true; then he really did not have faith in Jesus as the Bible testifies and even though he may have said he believed in the Deity of Christ and Trinity and resurrection as required by the Roman Catholic, the kind of liberal scholarship he promotes is a contradiction to faith.

      As Geza Vermes said, “he is a scholar who wants to have his cake and eat it too”


    • Your arrogance knows no bounds Ken. The great conservative Christian scholar Bruce Metzger praises Brown’s book highly on the cover. So you are taking rubbish.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Is Geza Vermes arrogant also?


    • see Geza Vermes, “The Nativity: history and legend”, page 15, where he says Raymond Brown is “having your cake and eating it”.


  7. How can one be a believer in the truth of the Bible, and yet say that the virgin birth narratives were false and made up and that Jesus never predicted the destruction of the temple around 30 AD; and He didn’t rise from the dead or teach His own deity or say Matthew 28:18-20 ??

    Don’t you see the contradictions to reality and faith?


    • Doesn’t a christian mean follower of christ though? You just have to follow his actions/teachings to be a christian right?

      Did jesus ever tell you to believe in his deity to be saved?
      Or to believe in a triune God to be saved?
      Or to believe in his Resurrection to be saved?

      Mark 10:17-20
      As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up and knelt before Him. “Good Teacher, he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
      “Why do you call Me good? Jesus replied, “No one is good except God alone.
      You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, and honor your father and mother.’”


    • You just have to follow his actions/teachings to be a christian right?

      No; part of His teachings is about who He is – one must believe in all that He is – Son of God, eternal, God the Son from eternity; Word of God (John 1:1) who became human (John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), virgin born (Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2), etc.

      Did jesus ever tell you to believe in his deity to be saved?

      Yes, John 8:24
      “Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”


    • I ask christians what I should do to be saved? they tell me believe jesus as your lord and saviour. 2000 years ago that same question was asked to jesus and his answer is different. keep the commandments.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Don’t you see the contradictions to reality and faith?”

      Only the contradiction between reality and your brand of faith. There are multiple ways of believing in “the truth of the Bible” apart from yours. Including the various Islamic ones. For real.

      Liked by 1 person


  1. Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians | kokicat

Please leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: