73% Of US Christians Say The Bible Doesn’t Influence Their Views On Israel

News Image By Ryan Foley/Habringers Daily January 02, 2024
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Only about a quarter of American Christians say the Bible influences their views on Israel as the Israel-Hamas war continues after the Oct. 7 attack on civilians in southern Israel killed over 1,200 and prompted an Israeli military offensive in Gaza. 

Lifeway Research, in collaboration with The Philos Project, conducted a survey asking 1,252 American Christians for their views on the Israel-Hamas war. The poll, conducted between Nov. 14 and 21 and released Dec. 14, has a margin of error of +/-2.9 percentage points. 

Respondents were asked about what has "influenced" their views about Israel and were given a list of responses that they could select all that apply. About 27% of Christians selected the Bible, suggesting that among 73% of respondents, the Bible does not inform their views of Israel.

The Bible was the second most commonly cited answer, coming in behind the media at 56%.

Other sources of opinions on Israel cited by American Christians include friends and family (26%), personal experiences with Jews (13%), positions of elected officials (13%), their local church (12%), national Christian leaders (10%), teachers or professors (6%) and personal experiences with Palestinians (5%). 

Less than two in 10 American Christians (17%) listed the Bible as the primary influence of their views on Israel, coming in second to the media (44%) as the top source of opinions on Israel. Less than 10% of respondents identified each of the remaining options as the primary determinant of their feelings about the Jewish State. 

"American Christians have been following the war between Israel and Hamas, and two-thirds of those who attend church most often say their church has prayed for peace in Israel," said Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell in a statement. "While a majority of American Christians support military action by Israel now, a much larger group believe lasting peace must come by mutual agreement of Palestinians and Israelis."

When asked what they believe to be the "optimal outcome to the current war between Hamas and Israel," 15% of American Christians responded with "Israel subdues Hamas and establishes longterm security over and control of Gaza," while 26% said, "Israel subdues Hamas and resumes negotiations with other Palestinian leaders on a permanent political solution to disagreements." 

Twenty-nine percent responded, "Israel and Hamas negotiate an enduring cease fire that results in the release of hostages." Twelve percent said, "Israel subdues Hamas and consolidates civil and military control over both Gaza and the West Bank."

"While a noticeable minority of American Christians are critical of some of Israel's policies prior to October 7, 2023, a majority have positive views of Israel and feel a strong response to the terrorist attack is warranted," McConnell said. "Support for the defense of Israel does not supersede American Christians' desire for civilian lives to be preserved, for negotiations to take place and to continue praying for peace."

Broken down by demographic subgroup, 34% of those between the ages of 30 and 49 cited the Bible as an influence on their opinions of Israel, while just 22% of respondents aged 65 and older said the same. Thirty-one percent of Christians with some college education (31%) identified the Bible as a source of their opinions on Israel, as did 25% of those with a high school education or less.

A much higher share of Protestants (32%) and non-denominational Christians (37%) pointed to the Bible as an influence on their views about Israel than Catholics (16%).

Originally published at Harbingers Daily - reposted with permission.

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