Reports of the BBC’s poll on belief or otherwise in the resurrection of Christ have tended to concentrate on that headline figure that about a quarter of people who describe themselves as being Christian do not believe that Christ rose from the dead. But little has been said about what seems to me to be the most astounding statistic, that roughly 10% of non-Christians do believe in the resurrection.
There is nothing remarkable about the figures for Christians. Bear in mind that most of the people who described themselves as Christians said they never go to church. Once they are removed from the Christian category it transpires that something in the region of 90% of Christians believe in the resurrection. The ones who never go to church almost certainly describe themselves as Christian for what one might call cultural rather than religious reasons. And the few practising Christians who do not believe in the resurrection have always been around, particularly in the Church of England. Their take on all this is entirely understandable. They think Christ’s teaching was wonderful (all that stuff about loving your neighbour, turning the other cheek and so on is obviously excellent), but, come on, they say, no one can believe a dead man can rise again. And, of course, they can point to a few well-known Anglican bishops who shared their view that the resurrection never happened.
There is nothing noteworthy in the figures for Christians. But I do have great difficulty in understanding those 10% or so of non-Christians who say they believe Christ died and then rose from the dead. How, I ask myself, can one believe in the resurrection but claim not to be a Christian?
Maybe you can give me the answer. I do hope so.