Survey Shows Many Clergy Doubt Miracles
Biblical Stories Accepted Much More Readily by Laity Than by Church Leaders
Biblical miracles are accepted as fact much more readily by laymen than by church leaders who attended the last meeting of the National Council of Churches, a survey by the organization has indicated.
Only 25% of the delegates to the council's assembly in Miami last December said they believed “the miracles actually happened just as the Bible says they did.”
In a survey taken of persons living in four San Francisco Bay Area counties, 57% said they accepted the miracles at face value. This poll was conducted by the Survey Research Center of University of California, Berkeley. It was reported in “Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism”, published in 1966.
The research department of the council of churches used several questions and choices of answers from the Bay Area survey in questionnaires at the Miami Assembly. Usable responses were received from 223 of the 599 delegates. The council is an association of Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Beliefs in God and Jesus were similar among the church leaders and Bay Area Protestants. More than two-thirds of the delegates and Californians chose the statement “I know that God really exists and I have no doubts about it” or supplied their own definitions of belief in God. Almost all of the balance of both groups chose the second option of “While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God.”
Traditional beliefs that Jesus was the divine son of God were expressed in similar proportions by both groups. But on the question of miracles described in the Bible the difference was substantial. While 25 percent of the council delegates believed the miracles happened as the Bible said they did, 35 percent of the delegates chose the answer “I believe the miracles happened but can be explained by natural causes.” Nineteen percent chose this answer in the California survey. A total of 76 percent of the Californians and 60 percent of the church leaders chose either of the two options.
The answer “I am not sure whether these miracles really happened or not” was selected by 22 percent of the churchmen and 15 percent of the laymen. Four percent of the churchmen and 2 percent of the Californians picked “I believe miracles are stories and never really happened.” The remainder in both surveys gave no answer.
Asked whether they believed the statement that “Jesus walked on water”, 50 percent of the Bay Area respondents believed this particular miracle to be “completely true” and 19 percent of the delegates thought so.
Dr. Glen W. Trimble, director of research interpretation for the council, noted that a smaller proportion of both groups “accepted one specific miracle than . . accepted all the Biblical miracles. Consistency is not a human trait.”
Dr. Trimble said, “A far more central Biblical account is that of the immaculate conception of Jesus. This also may be viewed as a particular miracle.”
The statement that “Jesus was born of a virgin” was declared “completely true” by 57 percent of the California sample and 28 percent of the delegates in the survey.
In the two groups “there has been a greater departure from ‘traditional orthodoxy’ on miracles, general or particular, than appears to have occurred on belief in God and Jesus,” said Dr. Trimble.
Copyright, 1967 Los Angeles Times
Reprinted with permission.
The above reprint from the Los Angeles Times (June 3, 1967) is a complete vindication of Unarius and in particular, to the position which we take toward the Bible, its sources, origin, and especially to the New Testament and the subject of miracles.
The survey of the National Council of Churches shows that 75 percent of the clergy did not believe the miracles occurred as they were depicted, and that they happened under natural causes, not explained in the Bible. This is more than a tacit admission; it is a direct or indirect denial and refutation of the entire Bible per se, as it now exists.
So far as Unarius is concerned, I have repeatedly stated, I do not believe in miracles per se, as an act by some “deity” whereby through some great magical power some miracle is “performed”. I have also repeatedly stated in numerous articles that the Bible is apocryphal; that is, it is of doubtful origin and as such, should be regarded as legendary, and should not be the theoretical controlling factor, the spiritual denominator of any person or persons; and most certainly should not be used as the cornerstone of any church. Or for that matter, the Christian religion, (Protestant or Catholic), should never have been built up from the context of this so-called “holy book”; for by the admissions of laymen and clergy alike, it is quite evident that largely they do not believe in their Bible.
There is more, much more, that can be extracted and analyzed from these surveys, and the total impact of this analysis should cause anyone to shudder at the horrible aspect which presents itself; that as of today nearly nine hundred million—not to mention the many millions or more who are dead—have had, through the years of their life, a religion, a theoretical code of moral values based and extracted from a book now admitted false by the very clergy who have been the dispensers, the propagators who have set themselves up as “Holy Men” in their respective churches by a false claim from a false god, who supposedly “called them” and ordained them for these purposes! Just as Jesus said, “Beware ye in the latter days, there will be many false teachers and prophets who are like ravening wolves dressed in sheep's clothing.” So it is of this time and place that the protestant clergy has, by these admissions, shown themselves to be “ravening wolves dressed in sheep's clothing”!
Last, but not least, these surveys are the handwriting on the wall which clearly depict the decay and disintegration of the Christian religion. Its downfall is clearly indicated in this and the next succeeding centuries; a part of that predicted millennium, if you will, a true interpretation of which yields a spiritual return of man to the true source sans the bigotry and hypocrisy of religious systems.
It is the avowed purpose of Unarius to reestablish the precept of evolution—as it was presented by Jesus, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven which is within and all things shall be added”—in the modern scientific idiom of this time, thereby making possible to all, a way to immortality; and to banish forever the old vindictive false deisms which have somehow, strangely enough been interwoven with the evolutionary doctrine of Jesus, a deism completely incompatible either with a scientific creation or a logical equation of moral values which perpetuates personal responsibility not diluted with intercession, blood baths for sinners, etc.
That small part of factual history, which somehow survived religious panderings that still remains in the Bible which is relevant or solvent especially to the mission of Jesus, that, as truth, will remain forever; time will remove the adulterations from the minds and Bibles of the future ages.