Beliefnet
Do all evangelicals think the earth was created in six 24-hour days?

No, in fact the number of evangelicals who believe in "six-day creationism" (as it is called) is diminishing. The Hebrew term yom, used to denote "day" in the creation narrative (Genesis 1) is used in a variety of ways and does not demand an interpretation rendering it a 24-hour time period. It is also used to describe "the day [yom] of the Lord," which suggests an event outside the bounds of linear time.

What do evangelicals believe about evolution?

"Evangelicals" are not a single monolithic entity, and therefore do not advance "an evangelical position" when it comes to evolution. Some believe it is yet to be definitively proven and therefore discount it. Others believe God could use the evolutionary process to advance his creative activity if he so chooses. It is safe to say, in any case, that evangelicals generally believe that, whatever the process, God started it and that human beings are not the result of a random process of natural selection.

How many evangelical Christians are there in America? Are they all or mostly white?

Some estimates put the number around 50 million. Recent statistics indicate that white evangelicals comprise 24% of the U.S. population; black evangelicals, 10%; mainline Protestants, 16%; Catholics, 22%.

Why do evangelicals care so much about prayer in schools? Can't they just pray at home?

Not all evangelicals do care about prayer in schools for the very reason you mention: they can pray at home and realize that "a moment of silence" (or whatever form it might take) will not forge a person's religious sensibility or identity. Those who argue for freedom of prayer in public schools do so on the basis of the "free exercise" clause of the First Amendment, which states the government "shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion." Since the Constitution grants the free exercise of religion, the pro-prayer proponents argue, that right should not end as soon as a student walks through the door of a public school.

Those who oppose prayer in public schools do so by virtue of the same clause, arguing that the government should not encourage religion in public schools, but remain neutral. This line of argument is countered by the pro-prayer people who assert that any governmental "neutrality" is a backhanded way of saying God is irrelevant in the public square, which in turn, they argue, violates the individual's right to the free exercise of religion.

In any case, it's a safe bet that, before final exams, there is a lot of silent prayer going on in public schools.

I just moved from L.A. to a neighborhood in the Bible Belt. Where does everyone go on Wednesday night?

Who knows? Some people may go to the Piggly Wiggly. Many churchgoing people, evangelical and otherwise, find Wednesday night the most accommodating night of the week for a midweek event: youth group, Bible study, various board or committee meetings. Who can say why? Maybe it's pacing. But not everyone in the "Bible Belt" is at church on Wednesday night.

What do evangelicals believe about demons, and what's a "deliverance"?

Evangelicals believe what Jesus believed (and said) about demons, and that is that they are real and they are force to be reckoned with. One will note in the gospel narratives that Jesus spent a lot of time "casting demons out" of people who were considered possessed. The classic evangelical view of the demonic (and evil generally) is that it is a parasitic force that latches on to something wholesome and good and then eats away at it until it loses itself--kind of like the way undergrowth in the rain forest lives off of larger trees until the host tree loses its ability to sustain life.

When he sent out his disciples to start spreading the word about God's Kingdom, Jesus gave them "authority to cast out evil spirits." Both the authority and the casting out concur with the notion that the demonic realm is less powerful than God's realm, and that when the two confront one another, God has the upper hand. A "deliverance" is a contemporary term used to describe the event Jesus himself exercised and gave authority to his disciples to exercise: that is, once it has been discerned by two or three mature believing individuals that a person has fallen prey to a parasitic demonic spirit, they possess the authority, given by Jesus himself, to command that spirit to leave the broken individual.

The temptation is to put so much emphasis on "the demonic" that one transfers responsibility for destructive behavior onto the devil instead of to the individual. This is why it is incumbent upon the ministering individuals to discern and be unanimous in their determination about demonic possession.

Do evangelicals handle snakes and speak in tongues? Why do they fall down on the floor at tent revivals?

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