Here is a good study on post-Christianity in the USA. My only question is about the validity of this study. It seems skewed toward Protestant – Evangelical Christians. Catholics, Orthodox, and Anglo-Catholics have fewer questions asked which they would answer as active Christian participants.
I have no doubt that the reliability of the questions is high. It is only with the above reservation that I caution readers. It should generate good discussion. Thank you to Fr. Francis for putting me on this study.
How Post-Christian is U.S. Society?
|April 15, 2013 – The rise of the so-called “Nones”—the increasing percentage of adults who claim no religious affiliation—has been a much-discussed trend in American religion. Is the nation moving away from Christianity and other forms of conventional faith? To provide insight on this topic, Barna Group analyzed 42,855 interviews conducted in recent years, looking at 15 different measures of non-religiosity. In other words, the research explores the emerging post-Christian landscape of the nation.Metrics of Post-Christian Culture
Currently, more than seven out of 10 adults describe themselves as “Christian” and more than six out of 10 Americans say they are “deeply spiritual.” Yet, just how deep do these labels go?To shed light on this, the Barna team created an aggregate metric of post-Christian culture based upon 15 different measures of identity, belief and behavior. To qualify as post-Christian, individuals met 60% or more of the factors (nine or more out of 15 criteria). Highly post-Christian individuals met 80% or more of the factors (12 or more of these 15 criteria). These 15 factors are shown in the infographic below.David Kinnaman, president and majority owner of Barna Group, explains the reasoning behind the post-Christian metric. “First, we wanted to expand the scope of secularization beyond what people call themselves. 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.“For decades, our research shows the variations of asking people about faith. For example, many self-described atheists also claim to pray to a deity. Long-time churchgoers often lack basic orthodox beliefs. People who effortlessly self-describe as ‘Christian’ may live like practical atheists in most other parts of their lives.“Also, understanding secularization in the U.S. begins with realizing the enormous footprint of Christianity in this country. The Barna measure is designed to take an over-arching, aggregate view of society’s engagement with faith generally and Christianity specifically. While Barna Group interviews all U.S. adults in our polling, regardless of their faith, we have a unique vantage point on measuring engagement with Christianity. Therefore, our measure looks at the degree to which the nation is post-Christian.”Post-Christian Totals
Based on Barna’s aggregate metric, nearly two-fifths of the nation’s adult population (37%) qualifies as post-Christian. This includes 9% of Americans who are highly post-Christian—lacking engagement in 80% or more of the measures of belief, practice or commitment. And another one-quarter is moderately post-Christian (28%), without engaging at least 60% of the factors.Barna’s study includes a ranking of the nation’s largest 96 markets, from most to least post-Christian. The big picture is that the leading post-Christian markets are in the Northeast and in the West. The gap between the most post-Christian city (Albany, NY) and least (Shreveport, LA) is 63% to 12%, respectively. These city-by-city rankings can be found at the company’s new website www.cities.barna.org.HOW POST-CHRISTIAN IS YOUR CITY >Generational Change
The differences by generation are striking, and they suggest a less “Christianized” nation in the decades to come. The younger the generation, the increasingly post-Christian it is compared with its predecessors. Nearly half of Mosaics (48%) qualify as post-Christian compared with two-fifths of Busters (40%). One-third of Boomers (35%) and one-quarter of Seniors (28%) are post-Christian. These patterns are consistent with other studies that show the increasing percentage of “Nones” among younger generations.
What the Research Means
About the Research
If you’re interested in learning more about the Barna: Cities project, please visit www.cities.barna.org.
post-Christian = meet at least 60% of the following 15 factors (9 or more factors)
1. do not believe in God
About Barna Group
Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each update on the latest research findings from Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website (www.barna.org). Additional research-based resources are also available through this website.
© Barna Group, 2013.