Janice Tibbetts, CanWest News ServicePublished:
Sunday, April 16, 2006
OTTAWA - Almost one in five Canadians believe that Jesus Christ's death on the cross was faked and that he married and had a family, according to a new poll that challenges the
cornerstone Christian belief in the resurrection.
Albertans were most likely to accept The Da Vinci Code's premise, with 22 per cent reporting they believe in a hoax.
"It shows that The Da Vinci Code is winning the day," says religious studies professor Richard Ascough, referring to the bestselling novel that raises the conspiracy theory.
The poll, conducted for CanWest News Service in the days leading up to Easter, indicated that 17 per cent of Canadians and 13 per cent of Americans believe author Dan Brown's premise, which has been fiercely disputed by Christian religious leaders, most recently in a Good Friday service in Rome.
Seventy-three per cent of Canadians and 78 per cent of Americans said they believe that Jesus died on the cross and he was resurrected to eternal life. The Resurrection is central to the Christian faith and Easter is considered the most important religious holiday of the year.
Another new book, The Jesus Papers by author Michael Baigent, also claims that Christ never died on the cross but that he married Mary Magdalene and he later moved to France with their daughter.
Ipsos Reid conducted its telephone survey with 814 Canadians and 768 Americans on April 11 and 12. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times in 20.
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