Monday, March 20, 2006

Church Avoidance: A 76 Million Person Force to Be Reckoned With

George Barna, venerable pollster of American attitudes toward faith, announced last week that 76 million Americans are regular church avoiders. By this he means not attending any type of church service (other than a wedding or funeral) during the previous six months.

According to Barna's research, "In the eyes of these individuals, absence from church life does not indicate a lack of commitment to the Christian faith. Three out of four unchurched adults who consider themselves to be Christian (77%) contend that they are either absolutely or moderately committed to the Christian faith."

Their beliefs show interesting trends as well:
50% agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
66% agree that their religious faith is very important in their life today.
64% contend that Satan is not a living being but is just a symbol of evil.
62% believe that a good person can earn eternal salvation
51% believe that Jesus Christ sinned while He lived on earth.
61% say their single, most important purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul.
55% argue that they are totally committed to having a deeper relationship with God and will do whatever it takes to get and maintain that relationship.
66% say they are completely committed to making the world, and other people’s lives, better.

Barna indicated that the unchurched rate is highest in the Northeast (40%) and West (43%). It is also more common among single adults (43%) than married adults (28%). People groups with abnormally high levels of church avoidance include Asians (56%) and those who consider themselves to be “mostly liberal” on social and political issues (51%).

For a complete report, cf.

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