Need a New Term
This is quite interesting. Barna has just come out with a new study on how people in the US describe their religious commitments, and the statistics vary widely depending on how you ask the question. When someone calls himself a Christian, what does he really mean?
- Overall, 80% of adults in the U.S. call themselves "Christian."
- In comparison, the phrase "a committed Christian" is embraced by two out of every three adults (68%).
- The words "born again Christian" are adopted by just less than half of the population (45%).
- A two-part description of a person’s faith, in which they say they "have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important" in their life today, and in which they claim they will go to Heaven after they die because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, is also claimed by just less than half (44%).
(This latter definition has been used by The Barna Group for nearly two decades to describe "born again" people without using the term "born again" in its surveys.)
- 17% of American adults say that they tithe (give 10 to 13% of their income to their church). Only 3% really do.
- Many polls indicate that the percentage of adults who regularly attend a religious service is about 40% in the U.S., 20% in Canada, and perhaps 10% or less in Europe. But when noses are actually counted, the true figures are about half the stated figures (about 20% in the U.S. and 10% in Canada.) The 50% figure also appears to apply in the UK.
Author Monica Furlong commented: "...people questioned about how much they go to church, give figures which, if true, would add up to twice those given by the churches."
Of course this also raises an interesting question: How come so many people want to be called "Christian" (regardless of their actual practice, beliefs, etc)? And why are people so offended if you suggest that someone is NOT a "Christian"?