Christianity's contributions mostly negative, Americans say

(RNS) When asked about Christianity's recent contributions to
society, Americans cited more negatives than benefits, according to a
new survey.

The negative contribution cited most was hatred or violence in the
name of Jesus, according to the Barna Group survey. Other frequently
cited examples included opposition to gay marriage and the Roman
Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal.

The positive contribution mentioned most was Christians' helping the
poor, as well as evangelism and influencing the country's values.

"Overall, there was a more extensive and diverse list of complaints
about Christians and their churches than there was of examples of the
benefits they have provided to society," said the Barna Group, a
Christian firm that researches U.S. faith and culture, in a report
released Monday (Oct. 25).

Researchers, who asked open-ended questions, found that one in four
respondents could not name a single positive contribution made by
Christians in recent years to American society. Just 12 percent could
not think of a single negative contribution.

The findings were based on telephone interviews Aug. 16-22 with a
random sample of 1,000 U.S. adults and had a margin of error of plus or
minus 3.2 percentage points.

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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