Who first comes to mind: In poll, Americans identify Jesus with Judaism more than with Christianity

by Larry Brook

(Israel InSight) — Has the awakening of American Christians to the Jewish roots of their faith been a huge success?

The Pew Research Center asked Americans to say the first person that comes to mind when thinking about Judaism, and the most popular response was Jesus, with 29 percent.

Moses came in second at 13 percent, with Abraham trailing at 8 percent.

The survey, released on March 17, also asked a similar question about four other faiths and atheism. The survey of American adults was done from Feb. 4 to 19, 2019. The survey included almost 11,000 participants, split into three groups of over 3,600, who were then each asked about two of the six faiths.

While Jesus was Jewish but has no role in Jewish religious life, when Americans were asked about the religion based on his teachings, he was not the first to come to mind.

The first person to come to mind for Catholicism was the pope, at 47 percent. Jesus was second at 12 percent, and the Virgin Mary was fourth at 5 percent. Placing third was one’s self, friends or family.

For Evangelical Protestantism, Billy Graham came in first at 21 percent. Martin Luther came out just ahead of Jesus with each getting about 5 percent of the responses.

For Buddhism, Buddha was the clear winner with 55 percent, followed by the Dalai Lama at 7 percent and Mahatma Gandhi at 2 percent.

Responses for Islam were Muhammad at 26 percent, “God or gods” at 8 percent, Osama bin Laden at 5 percent and Muhammad Ali at 4 percent. Louis Farrakhan had 3 percent, and Barack Obama polled at 1 percent. Thirty-seven percent did not answer.

For atheism, the respondents had a more difficult time coming up with someone, as 51 percent did not answer. Ten percent said family, friends or themselves. Satan came in second with 6 percent, followed by Richard Dawkins and Madalyn Murray O’Hair at 4 percent each.

Some of the other responses for Judaism included Anne Frank, Albert Einstein and Jerry Seinfeld.