(Photo: Pastors Fellowship of South Orange County)
A soon to be published survey on the spiritual habits of American adults found that nearly 70 percent of respondents consider Easter to be a religious observance.
The survey, which was part of several conducted by the American Bible Society and the Barna Group, found that 69 percent of U.S. adults celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, in contrast to the popular cultural practice of egg hunts and candy.
Lamar Vest, president of American Bible Society, told The Christian Post that he hopes the survey sends important messages to church leaders.
"I hope church leaders see the results of this survey and be reminded just how important their everyday work is. Easter is a shout of hope and encouragement – two things often in short supply in our culture," said Vest.
"We hope churches will recognize the opportunity Easter offers for reaching people who aren't connected. We hope that those who aren't currently celebrating Easter as a religious holiday will open the pages of Scripture to find out what the holiday is really all about."
The survey is part of an overall collection of studies titled The State of the Bible 2012, set to be released on Tuesday, April 17. The nationwide sample space for the research included feedback from telephone interviews and online surveys.
Among the responses regarding the significance of Easter, there was a generation gap difference. While 78 percent of Americans age 66 and older celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, only 56 percent of Americans age 18 to 27 did likewise.
Regarding this statistic, Vest said that it would always be speculation as to the difference, but that one thing it did tell was the need for the church to reach out to the youth of the country.
"But whatever the reason, it underscores to me the need to make sure we connect with each new generation in ways that make a difference," said Vest.
"That's why American Bible Society offers a range of ways people can engage with the Bible from the traditional – such as printed materials – to the high-tech, such as through social media sites, text messages, and video story-sharing."
The survey was comprised of two sets of interviews, one online and another by telephone. A total of 1,016 respondents answered via telephone interview and 1,005 respondents used the online survey. Telephone interviews were conducted between February 24 through March 5 and included U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. Online surveys were conducted between March 14 and March 21.