Jesus 'not a real person' many believe

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Forty percent of people in England do not believe Jesus was a real person, a Church of England survey suggests.

However, 43% of the people asked said they did believe in the resurrection - although many did not think it happened as described in the Bible.

The figures found while 57% classified themselves as Christian, fewer than 10% read the Bible and prayed regularly, or go to church at least once a month.

The Church of England's General Synod will discuss the survey in November.

The survey of more than 4,000 people was commissioned by the Church, Hope - which represents churches of all denominations - and the Evangelical Alliance - which represents evangelical Christians in the UK.

Many scholars agree that Jesus was a real man, who lived in Galilee more than 2,000 years ago, although many details surrounding his life are still debated.

But, the Church of England survey found that four in 10 people did not believe Jesus was a real person, with a quarter of 18 to 34 year olds believing he was a mythical or fictional character.

The poll was part of a wider research project looking at both practising Christians and the wider population.

After Christians, the second biggest group identified in the poll - 12% - were atheists, while 9% were agnostics, Muslims represented 3%, with Hindus and Jews both making up 2%.

English Christians are more likely than the average English adult to work in education, or professional jobs, but less likely to work in finance or insurance, the survey concluded.

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