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What Do Teens Think of Jesus? In Age of Chaos and Lostness, Massive Study Unveils Fascinating Answers

Group of teens hanging out sharing technology
Group of teens hanging out sharing technology

How do teenagers around the world view Jesus? That was one of the questions at the center of a new study conducted in coordination with a number of well-known Christian organizations.

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The survey, which takes into account teenage perspectives in 26 different countries, found most teens between the ages of 13 and 17 have a positive view of Christ, seeing Him as generous, wise, peaceful, and trustworthy, among other descriptors.

“Data show it’s rare that teens think poorly of Jesus, reads a report from the Barna Group. “Most teenagers around the world have a positive perception of Him. About half of all teens, across faith groups, describe Jesus as ‘loving’ (49%) and believe He offers hope to (46%) and cares about people (43%).”

On the flip side, just 8% of respondents said Jesus is “detached from today’s real issues,” 7% said He is judgmental, 6% said He is irrelevant, and 4% said He is hypocritical.

The negative metrics yielded very small percentages in the findings.

These statistics, published in Barna’s “How Teens Around the World Relate to Jesus” report, offer insight into teens’ hearts and minds, particularly when it comes to the Christian faith.

One of the most interesting elements of the research was seeing how Bible-engaged teens responded to questions, viewing Scripture as sustaining and powerful in their lives.

In a second Barna report, “How Teens Around the World View the Bible,” teenagers were placed into three groups: “Bible engaged,” “Bible open,” and “Bible unengaged.”

The first group — “Bible engaged” — believed the Bible is God’s Word, is inspired by the Lord, and they read Scripture throughout the week. The “Bible open” group is less engaged with Scripture and has a neutral view of it, though they engage with the Bible more than three or four times a year.

The last group, “Bible unengaged,” clumps all the other teens together.

Eighty-four percent of “Bible-engaged” teens said Scripture teaches them about “living a meaningful life.” And in an era in which suicide and chaos rage, 84% said the Bible helps them understand their purpose — a powerful metric for a generation that can seem lost and confused.

Barna Group conducted more than 24,500 interviews with teens between the ages of 13 and 17 across 26 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe, Oceana, Asia, and Africa.

Read more about the survey, a collaboration between Biblica, Alpha, and World Vision, among other organizations, here.

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