When 2,042 British adults were asked ‘To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected at Easter so that you can be forgiven for your sins?’, a quarter of those who said they were Christians said they neither agreed nor disagreed. 17% of Christians said they disagreed that Jesus died on the cross to forgive sins. Among those categorised ‘Active Christians’ though, agreement with the doctrine rose to 82% and only 3% didn’t know. The ComRes poll, commissioned by BBC Local radio, also asked wider questions about forgiveness to different groups.
It asked ‘To what extent, if at all, would you be able to forgive someone who committed any of the following?’ with the actions being murder, child abuse, sexual abuse, infidelity, verbal abuse, abuse on social media, lying, stealing, swearing, discrimination. Among all respondents, child abuse was deemed the most unforgivable with 85% saying they would find it impossible to forgive it, followed by sexual abuse (including rape) with 79% and murder at 73%. Swearing was the easiest to forgive, with 39% also saying it didn’t need forgiving.
The poll also revealed that ‘active’ Christians are more likely to forgive the most ‘unforgivable’ crimes than the average adult.
In some categories ‘Active Christians’ were less likely to find something ‘impossible to forgive’ and more likely to find it ‘difficult’.
When it came to sexual abuse, 52% of Active Christians found it ‘impossible to forgive’ whereas the average number to find it impossible was 79%. 85% of all respondents found child abuse impossible to forgive but only 61% Active Christians felt the same way and 13% active Christians said they would find infidelity ‘impossible to forgive’ and whereas the average was 23%.
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