English Clergy Doubt Resurrection, Survey Shows

LONDON (Reuters) - A third of Church of England clergy are unconvinced by the basic Christian belief in the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to a survey published in British newspapers Wednesday.

The poll found a third said they doubted or disbelieved the Biblical story that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Only half of the 2,000 clergy questioned believed in the Virgin Birth, the survey for the traditionalist British think-tank Cost of Conscience also found.

"There are clearly two churches operating in the Church of England: the believing church and the disbelieving church, and that is a scandal." think-tank spokesman Reverend Robbie Low was quoted in the paper as saying.

Low said doubts over central Christian tenets was higher among women priests than their male counterparts. Only a third of the few women priests questioned said they believed in the Virgin Birth.

There was less skepticism over the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is a union of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, with three quarters of those surveyed saying they accepted the principle.

The Modern Churchperson's Union told the paper the church had to reassess complex doctrine in the face of increasingly educated congregations.