Zondervan Releases Study That Shows Americans Don't Know The Facts About Jesus

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66% of Americans Believe Jesus is the Most Recognized Figure in History, but Few Know of His Impact on the World.

Following the recent unveiling of a papyrus fragment in which Jesus reportedly says, “my wife,” many historians are now questioning what people really know about the life of Jesus. Aside from the bearded, longhaired, Sunday school image of Jesus, a new poll reveals that Americans aren’t at all familiar with the impactful life of this man.

The poll reveals that most people do not grasp Jesus’ influence on culture despite recognizing his image some 2,000 years after his death. Sixty-six percent believe Jesus is the most recognized figure in history, but most were not able to correctly answer questions regarding his influence.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Zondervan to investigate the knowledge of Jesus’ continued impact on culture, also found that:

  • 41% of Americans believe that mans’ interpretation of Jesus’ teachings hurt women’s rights more than helped them—contradictory to the Biblical account.
  • 89% of Americans do not know that Jesus pioneered the concepts of universal literacy and education; 27% believed it to be Socrates.
  • 47% of Americans do not know that Jesus was the first man to advocate the idea of societal inclusion and equality.

“We live in a world where Jesus’ impact is immense even if his name goes unmentioned,” writes Jesus expert John Ortberg, pastor and author of the new book, "Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus" (Zondervan, 2012).

“From christenings to weddings to sickrooms to funerals, it is in Jesus’ name that people are hatched, matched, patched, and dispatched. It’s a shame that Americans don’t really know more about the most influential man in history.”


  • Interview John Ortberg about the little-known yet worldwide impact Jesus has had on women’s rights, education, equality, religious freedom, and more.
  • Poll your audience to test their knowledge about the most influential man in the world.

To schedule an interview with John Ortberg or for more information about his book, Who Is This Man?, please contact Kelsey Hulgan or Jennifer Willingham at 770.813.0000, or visit DeMossNews.com/Books.

About John Ortberg:
Best-selling author John Ortberg is a pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif. His recently released book, Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (Zondervan, August 2012), examines the life of Jesus, the man whose impact is greater than any others’ on history, yet is also the most mysterious, unknown historical figure.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of Zondervan from September 13-17, 2012 among 2,339 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,062 self-identified as Christians. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Kelsey Hulgan or Jennifer Willingham (770.813.0000).

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