GEORGE BARNA’S research group has contributed mightily to our understanding of “Christianity” in these United States. Below is an excerpt from his most recent publishing.
Catholics, in general, were uncomfortable with the phrase “born again Christian.” Although just 14% said it described them accurately, 23% qualified as born again according The Barna Group’s definition.
Regionally, residents of the Northeast generally accepted the terms “Christian” (74%) and “committed Christian” (61%), but were far less likely to adopt the “born again Christian” phrase (29%) or to meet the Barna Group’s born again standard (29%). People living in the West had a similar portrait. Adults in the South were comparatively less likely than others to say they were a “committed Christian.” People in the Midwest were the most likely to claim to be a “committed Christian.”
The research also found that self-described conservatives were three times more likely than self-described liberals to embrace the “born again” label; blacks were two-and-a-half times more likely than Hispanics to do so; and people without any college education were almost 60% more likely than those with a college degree to stake a claim to being “born again.”
Only half of both of the “born again” segments (i.e., those self-described by the term and those defined by The Barna Group’s questions) had prayed to God, read from the Bible and attended a religious service in the past week. In comparison, nine out of ten “committed Christian” adults had done so and just one-third of those who said they are “Christian” engaged in the three behaviors.
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George indicates that 80% of the population in the U.S. would describe themselves as “Christian.” But behind the term we find this; being a self-described “Christian” gives no real indication of one’s status as a true Child of God. Even those who are self-described as “born-again;” ½ of them did not pray, read from the Bible or attend a religious service in the past week.
We’re big into labels; not so big into devout pursuit of the Living God.