A quick installment in the continuing series, “What Americans really believe about their faith.”
As reported in Matthew 16:28 (King James version), Jesus says this :
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Now this has caused a huge amount of bother for theologians, since it states rather clearly that Jesus will return to judge the living and dead before some of his contemporaries have passed away. That didn’t happen, of course; ergo the trouble for Christians. Theologians being clever, they’ve managed to interpret this away.
But a lot of Americans—in fact, over 40% of them—still believe that Jesus is coming back during either their lifetime or their children’s.
In a new Pew Survey, Americans speculate about what life will be like in 2050. Lots of interesting stuff (you can see all the results at the link), but here’s one nugget. When asked whether they thought that Jesus Christ would return to Earth by 2050, people said this (ignore the title, for the first line gives the data for “all Americans”; “DK” means “don’t know”):
Now the word “probably” in the first-column header is a bit misleading: if you break down the 41% of Jesus-comes-backers, that’s 23% of people who say Jesus will definitely come back and 18% who say he’ll probably come back. So much for apophatic theology.
The rest of the breakdown, by religious affiliation, education, and area of the country, is predictable.
I almost certainly won’t be around in 2050, but perhaps our younger readers can make some dosh by placing a few bets.