The research originally conducted for former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll's postponed book, 'The Problem with Christianity,' reveals the top objections people have to Christianity is now available for free download on the church's website.
Warren Throckmorton of Patheos first reported that the study, which cost the Seattle-based church more than $1 million to conduct, was originally meant to appear in Driscoll's latest addition to his popular "Resurgence" series. However, publication of the book was postponed after multiple allegations surfaced against him.
According to MarsHill.com, research for the Resurgence Report "represents our effort to hear non-Christians speak from the heart so that we can better love our neighbors and humbly lead them toward truth, freedom, and joy in Jesus."
Participants were interviewed through telephone interviews and focus groups and included 'de-churched' people, or those who attend worship services every few months but attended regularly as a child, and 'un-churched' people, or those who attend every few months or less often and did not regularly attend as a child.
"Intolerance and social conservatism" top the list of reasons why people in the United States don't go to church, the study found. 55% of respondents said "some Christian groups are too intolerant", and 50% said "the Christian religion and I have different views on social issues like abortion or gay marriage." Another 49% said their lack of attendance was due to the church "meddling" in politics (49 per cent), and 45% said that "many Christians are hypocrites." Ultimately, the study found that there was a strong correlation between the objections of un-churched and de-church respondents.
Over half of the non-church going respondents nonetheless described themselves as "spiritual."
However, most participants at 41% had a negative view of Evangelical Christians. Only 24% had a positive view of Evangelicals, and 30% had a neutral view.
One respondent said: "They are pretty scary and do whatever they want, and they can use the Bible as a shield for arguments." Another said: "I believe that they are way too extreme on social issues. I totally disagree with their standings on abortion and gay marriage."
"Though the cultural divide between Christians and non-Christians is growing, we are still missionaries with a God-given passion to see people meet Jesus and be rescued for eternity," Mars Hill explains.
"To do this, it would help to know what they love, what they hate, what they think about Jesus, and what they believe about the big questions of life."