Friday, 6 February 2015

‘Beyond the Fringe’

In 2003 a report was published called ‘Beyond the Fringe’, which looked at research done on the beliefs and understandings of people who have no committed or formalised faith.

What the research showed is that there are six big questions that people (who are not 'religious' and do not belong to a faith community) routinely ask:


  1. Destiny: what happens when we die? where, if anywhere, are we going?
  2. Purpose: what is the point of life? what values should I live by? whose life and values might I take as an example?
  3. The universe: how did it start? is it designed? is it planned? is it controlled in any way?
  4. God: does he/she/it exist? if so, what is he/she/it like? what, if any, viable relationship could there be between God and human beings?
  5. Spiritual realm: is there a spiritual realm? what form does it take? does it have any relevance to me and my life?
  6. Suffering: why is there so much suffering in the world? what national and international issues particularly concern me? what can be done about them?1.Destiny: what happens when we die? where, if anywhere, are we going?
  7. Purpose: what is the point of life? what values should I live by? whose life and values might I take as an example?

What this reveals is that people are wrestling with the big questions of life: destiny,
purpose, the universe, God, the spiritual realm and suffering, and that people are on a
spiritual search.  The great news is that these are questions where we as Christians have 
something really important to say, the challenge is how well are we communicating the 
answers?