This isn't new, but my youth pastor's sermon this morning brought to mind the fact that a great many people -- who claim to be Christians -- have serious misconceptions about God and spiritual matters.
One of the more intriguing findings is that not all people who call themselves Christians believe all the conventional Christian beliefs. For example, one percent of Christians do not believe in God, 8% do not believe in the survival of the soul after death, 7% do not believe in miracles, 5% do not believe in heaven, 7% do not believe in the Virgin birth and 18% do not believe in hell.
Another poll reveals even more differing opinions on the nature of God.
Most Americans agree that there is a God, but their perceptions of who God is and how much God controls events on Earth vary greatly. There is no consensus on God’s gender, form or role on Earth:
* A plurality (42%) of all adults (but only 37% of men) thinks God is male, but only 1% thinks God is female. Almost half of all adults believe that God is neither male nor female (38%) or that God is both (11%).
* Only 9% think of God as being like a human being with a face, body, arms, legs and eyes. Almost half (48%) think of God as a spirit or power that can take on human form, while 27% think of God as a spirit or power who does not take a human form.
* Less than a third (29%) of the public believes that God controls what happens on Earth. Half (50%) believes God observes but does not control events on Earth, while 6% believe God neither observes nor controls earthly events.
* A slender (53%) majority believes that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same God, but 32% think they worship different gods.
It's impossible to attain a right understanding of God through observation and experience, because God is supernatural. The only way to learn about God is through revelation, because revelation is God telling us what he's like. It's like how a father tells his kids what he does at work all day; there's no way for the kids to find out much on their own, and they only know as much as the father reveals. If you can't get God to send an angelic messanger to you directly, I recommend checking out the Bible.