How do teenagers around the world view Jesus? That was one of the questions in a new study co-ordinated by a number of well-known Christian organizations. The survey, which takes into account teenage perspectives in 26 different countries in North America, Latin America, Europe, Oceana, Asia, and Africa, found most teens between the ages of 13 and 17 have a positive view of Christ, seeing Him as generous, wise, peaceful, and trustworthy, among other descriptors. “Data show it’s rare that teens think poorly of Jesus, reads a report from the Barna Group. “Most teenagers around the world have a positive perception of Him. About half of all teens, across faith groups, describe Jesus as ‘loving’ (49%) and believe He offers hope (46%) and cares about people (43%).” On the flip side, just 8% of respondents said Jesus is “detached from today’s real issues,” 7% said He is judgmental, 6% said He is irrelevant, and 4% said He is hypocritical.
These statistics, offer insight into teens’ attitudes, when it comes to the Christian faith. One of the most interesting aspects of the research was seeing how Bible-engaged teens saw viewing Scripture as sustaining and powerful in their lives. In a second Barna report on how teens relate to the Bible, teenagers were placed into three groups: “Bible engaged,” “Bible open,” and “Bible unengaged.” The first group, “Bible engaged”, believed the Bible is God’s Word, inspired by the Lord, and they read Scripture throughout the week. The “Bible open” group was less engaged with Scripture and has a neutral view of it, though they engage with the Bible more than three or four times a year. The last group, “Bible unengaged,” clumps all the other teens together. Eighty-four percent of “Bible-engaged” teens said Scripture teaches them about “living a meaningful life.” In an era in which suicide and chaos rage, 84% that is a powerful metric for the younger generation.
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