Most teens around the world have either a positive or neutral view of Jesus, with about half saying He “offers hope” and only 6 percent saying He’s “irrelevant,” according to a new Barna survey.
The survey of nearly 25,000 teens ages 13-17 in 26 countries found that 46 percent say they personally believe Jesus “offers hope to people,” 43 percent say He “personally cares for people,” 38 percent believe He is “trustworthy” and 37 percent say He is “generous.” About half (49 percent) also say Jesus is “loving.”
The teens in the survey spoke 17 different languages. Few had a negative view of Jesus. Barna released the report online Wednesday.
“It’s rare that teens think poorly of Jesus,” a poll analysis said. “Most teenagers around the world have a positive perception of him. … The global impression of Jesus is that he is trustworthy, generous, wise, peaceful.”
The survey was part of Barna’s new report titled the “Open Generation,” which was conducted in partnership with Alpha, Biblica, World Vision, Christian Vision, Bible Study Fellowship, Christ In Youth and the Association of Christian Schools International.
About one-fourth of teens say Jesus “makes a real difference in the world today” (23 percent) and is someone they “can have a personal relationship with” (23 percent).
Among the negative responses, teens said Jesus is: known for the things He is against (10 percent), “detached from today’s real issues” (10 percent), judgmental (7 percent), irrelevant (6 percent) and/or hypocritical (4 percent).
Meanwhile, many teens also have a positive view of the Bible. About one-third of teens say they “strongly” believe the Bible teaches how to live a “meaningful life” (38 percent), how to “understand my purpose in life” (36 percent) and/or how to “live wisely in today’s society” (34 percent).
Barna said the new data in the Open Generation report helps “to advance the understanding of teens globally” and “presents many opportunities for the Church to connect with and empower a rising generation.”
Photo courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/jacoblund
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.