Culture

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15 Measurements of Whether Americans Are Post-Christian

Barna study finds 1 in 3 adults qualify as ‘post-Christian,’ but answers to 15 questions vary widely.

Adding to the mounting research on religiously unaffiliated Americans (i.e. “nones”), the Barna Group examined 15 measures of non-religiosity and drew some interesting conclusions (infographic at bottom of post).

“We wanted to expand the scope of secularization beyond what people call themselves,” said president David Kinnaman in Barna’s announcement of its findings. “Faith-oriented self-descriptions are fine, but they are really only skin-deep in terms of understanding faith. In addition to identity, we also wanted to account for two other critical aspects of faith: belief as well as behavior.”

So Barna “created an aggregate metric of post-Christian culture” based upon 15 measures:

post-Christian = meet at least 60% of the following 15 factors (9 or more factors)

highly post-Christian = meet at least 80% of the following 15 factors (12 or more factors)

1. do not believe in God

2. identify as atheist or agnostic

3. disagree that faith is important in their lives

4. have not prayed to God (in the last year)

5. have never made a commitment to Jesus

6. disagree the Bible is accurate

7. have not donated money to a church (in the last year)

8. have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)

9. agree that Jesus committed sins

10. do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”

11. have not read the Bible (in the last week)

12. have not volunteered at church (in the last week)

13. have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)

14. have not attended religious small group (in the last week)

15. do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

Barna examined past surveys and concluded that 37 percent of American adults qualify as post-Christian (according to its criteria), with roughly 1 in 4 of such adults qualifying as highly post-Christian. It also found that Mosaics (48%) are more likely to qualify as post-Christian than Boomers (35%) and Seniors (28%).

Among the 15 measures of non-religiosity among American adults, Barna found that:

47% do not feel a responsibility to share their faith.

57% have not read the Bible in the last week.

33% have not attended a Christian church in the past year.

However, by contrast:

27% have never made a commitment to Jesus.

18% have not prayed to God in the last week.

13% disagree that faith is important to their lives.

Barna’s infographic of its full findings is below.

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