Good News â" and bad â" in New Zealand faith and belief study
Posted on: November 1, 2018 5:06 PM Related Categories: evangelism, mission, New Zealand, statistics, survey
A nationwide study of faith and belief in New Zealand âhas revealed both challenging and encouraging results for the public perception of Christianity in Aotearoa New Zealandâ, Anglican Taonga reports. Its findings support the disputed words attributed to St Francis of Assisi: âpreach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use wordsâ, as it finds that the most effective form of evangelism in New Zealand is by Christians who demonstrate Christian actions first, before sharing their faith in words.
Of the New Zealanders who completed the survey, 59 per cent thought they would most likely be influenced to investigate faith by seeing others live out their faith. And if that faith was lived out while caring for people suffering from a personal trauma or life change, the impact of that Christian love and care went up. The survey also found that 54 per cent of Kiwis were open to changing their religious views or exploring other beliefs, Anglican Taonga said.
The âFaith and Belief in New Zealandâ report came from a Wilberforce Foundation commissioned survey carried out by Australian communications company McCrindle Research. It draws on national census records of religious affiliation and used online questionnaires to establish patterns of perception and belief across a group of 1007 respondents.
Just under half of those who completed the questionnaire (46 to 47 per cent) said spirituality was important for wellbeing and mental health, and in the 18-25 age group that edged up to 50 to 52 per cent, making it t he majority view for the youngest age group surveyed.
The survey pinpointed what the Wilberforce Foundation termed âbelief blockersâ â" those aspects of behaviour, belief or reputation that turned people off from pursuing faith. The biggest belief blocker was sexual abuse that had occurred within the church, which was cited by 76 per cent of respondents. Others included hypocritical attitudes or behaviour (69 per cent), negative attitudes on homosexuality (47 per cent) and âthe perceived mismatch of proclaiming a loving God that would nonetheless send sinners to hellâ (45 per cent).
âThe results contained hopeful news for Christians looking to share their faith with those beyond church wallsâ, Anglican Taonga said. âOf the non-Christians sampled, 26 per cent were warm towards Christianity, while another 13 per cent saw themselves as Christians, but didnât currently make it to any church.â
- This article draws extensivel y on a longer article by Anglican Taonga.
- Click here to read the full survey results (pdf).