June 10, 2002

Key doctrine of Jesus' sinless life fading from Americans' perspective
___VENTURA, Calif. (RNS)--A quarter of Americans feel strongly that Jesus sinned when he lived on earth, the Barna Research Group reports.
___Twenty-five percent of Americans surveyed this year said they strongly agreed that "when he lived on earth, Jesus Christ committed sins," compared to 20 percent in 2000. Nineteen percent agreed somewhat with that statement this year and two years ago.
___Forty percent strongly disagreed with the statement in 2002, compared to 43 percent two years ago. Eight percent disagreed somewhat with the statement this year, compared to 9 percent in 2000.
___The doctrine that Jesus lived a sinless life on Earth is a cornerstone of traditional Christian theology that transcends the Catholic-Protestant divide.
___The statistics are reported in "The State of the Church: 2002," a new book by George Barna, president of the Ventura, Calif.-based research firm.
___Researchers also found that the percentage of adults classified as "unchurched"--those who have not attended a church service in the past six months other than for a wedding, funeral or other special event--has increased significantly in the last decade. In 1991, 24 percent of all adults fit in that category; now 34 percent do.
___The percentage of adults who attend church in a typical week has remained fairly steady and was 43 percent this year. Less than one in three adults attend church every week, however.
___The findings were based on nationwide telephone interviews of at least 1,000 adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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