Cultural Christianity Objectively Observed and Quantified, Barna

3/14/2006

“Among the people who deemed themselves to be ‘deeply spiritual’ only one out of every four named their faith as their highest priority. Even among the seven out of ten Americans who strongly affirmed that their religious faith is ‘very important’ in their life, barely one out of every five (22%) awarded faith the highest priority in their life. And among the two-thirds who claim that the ‘single, most important purpose of your life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul,’ less than one-quarter (23%) put faith [‘living for God’] at the top of the priority list—a direct contradiction in their thinking.

Something’s Amiss

“George Barna, who directed the tracking study of religious beliefs and practices, noted that the relationship between people’s perception of their religious commitment and their reticence to make faith their top priority points to a significant disconnect.

“‘Spirituality is in vogue in our society today,’ he commented. ‘It is popular to claim to be part of a “faith community” or to have a spiritual commitment. But what do Americans mean when they claim to be “spiritual?” The recent Grammy awards were perhaps indicative of this breakdown between self-perception and reality. The members of the group that won the award for best song thanked God for the victory then immediately followed with profanities that had to be bleeped from the broadcast. It seems as if God is in, but living for God is not. Many Americans are living a dual life—one filled with good feelings about God and faith, corroborated by some simple religious practices, and another in which they believe they are in control of their own destiny and operate apart from Him.’

“Citing further evidence of this dualistic perspective, the author of more than three dozen books on faith and culture stated, ‘The survey also noted that among those who say their faith has “greatly transformed” their life, just one out of four positioned their faith practices and pursuits as their highest life priority. It certainly seems that millions of Americans are fooling themselves into thinking that they have found the appropriate balance between God and lifestyle.’”

- The Barna Group, Ltd, 2006.

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