I wonder how God views polls.
Not the political polls about November’s election, but the recent Pew Research and PBS polling about our population’s beliefs, religion, and spirituality. Twenty percent of Americans claim no religious affiliation; 48 percent say they are Protestant, 22 percent are Catholic, nine percent are “other,” and three percent claim atheism – that God doesn’t exist.
I can’t imagine that God is the least bit surprised by polls so for sanity’s sake, believers and church-goers shouldn’t impute unsettling truth that isn’t implied. While polling results may be “accurate,” they reflect human preference and opinion, not divine truth or God’s efficacy. From my Christian perspective, the only Truth that is important is the combined life, person, and promise of Jesus Christ. One may have a life-truth different from that, but whatever it is, I bet it was formed by faith, not a poll.
Religion, church, preachers, teachers, scholars, worship practices, traditions, even the Bible – and of course things like these polls – are enlightening tools that can be systematically seen, felt, heard, learned, observed and pondered. They help us reach out to God, see Jesus reaching out to us and discern the presence of the Holy Spirit. True faith however – just like love, freedom, truth,and life – cannot be simplified into a system that can be polled accurately. God’s truth is too big to be contained by the limitations of a system, wherein we trade our freedom in the enormity of God’s life and love for adherence to the limitations of man’s systems and knowledge.
That’s not a knock on the Bible, church, religion, or anything else. It’s simply an endorsement of true relationship with God the Father Almighty through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Human polls cannot gauge or reflect the divine Holy Spirit.
These polls, by nature, have human bias built into them and human bias coming out of them. And while bias is sort of an ugly word, as are bigotry and prejudice, those are human words we use to paint somebody else’s preference with sinister intent. Man’s polls, at best, define a present worldly condition. God’s truth is eternal love.
The strength God enjoys over religious polling data is that His truth, light and life are not subject to percentages and variances. Those are things mankind brings to the equation. Our society certainly loves to search for truth in polls, opinions, and trends, but then loses God in the glare of its own opinionated and fallen reflection.
We honor God sincerely by reflecting His light on others with our lives, not our opinions.