In the [Barna] study of 1,067 US adults, a quarter of respondents said their view of evangelicals was “somewhat negative” or “very negative”, compared to just under a third (30%) who said their perception was “somewhat positive” or “very positive”.
Of the 268 respondents with a negative perception of evangelicals, two thirds (67%) said this attitude was because they felt evangelicals were “too pushy with their beliefs“. Sixty-one per cent said that evangelicals were “hypocritical”, while half said they were “homophobic” and a similar proportion (51%) said “their beliefs are outdated”. …One result that surprised Barna was the large proportion of Millennial Americans (52%) who have a neutral attitude towards evangelicals.
It occurred to me that I have been told that I was “pushy” by a couple of my Ratburgher pals.
Well, that is only because I care about the fate of your everlasting soul. I am pushy about my religion because I want to push you into eternity with Jesus.
Here is a comment about the Barna study by blogger Gene Veith:
What most bothers the public about evangelicals is that they are “too pushy with their beliefs.” That is, people don’t like being witnessed to. That evangelicals care about non-Christians’ temporal problems, for which Jesus can help them, and their eternal destiny, for which Jesus offers free salvation, does not matter. To the 67% of the 25% of Americans who do not like evangelicals (which comes to 16.75%…), this is offensive, due, no doubt, to the postmodern dogma that truth is a personal construction, so that persuasion is construed as a personal attack, an act of power that imposes your will over someone else’s.
Are there some lessons that can be drawn from this study? Might evangelicals do a better job at public relations? What are the dangers in trying to be too well liked?
Evangelicals should also take the occasion of this study to rejoice in their blessings:
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”