Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Barna Study Shows What American Christians Believe and What They Don't...Hmm

If you were to run into a Christian in America and got into a discussion on beliefs, chances are you would find some interesting conversation.  The Barna Group did and here is the article (click here).

Rob's Note:  I think after reading this article, we can see why Newsweek Magazine had their article on the Rise and Fall of American Christianity this past week.  Unless there is a great spiritual revival in the land, the influence of the Christian world could be due for a shift to another part of the world, possibly the Third World.  Time will tell.

Related article: Milquetoast Manifesto?  


-C.S. said...

I personally find this study to be a bit misleading. First of all, the notion that "born agains" are somehow more consistent is obviously going to be the result due to confirmation bias. When only asking questions that would make other sects respond with results that could be construed as "inconsistent," the credibility of the findings are significantly altered. I could easily propose an opposing study that would make Evangelicals appear just as, if not more, inconsistent, when in reality all individuals have a certain level of internal inconsistency. Those that take the time to address these inconsistencies naturally have a lower level of it, however, these studies propose loaded questions with very specific "right" answers from a specific sect. Just doesn't seem accurate or fair.

Also, value-judgment based terminology is inappropriate in such studies (“notional Christian,” “born again,” etc.). For instance, let's take the current hot-topic of gay marriage. Let's say that I interview a group of Evangelicals to assess the level of positive attitude/negative attitude toward homosexuality, and find most have a non-affirming perspectice. Am I going to label them as “relative homophobes” to distinguish them from “overt bigots”? Doesn't particularly matter if I think they are or not, it would highly effect my credibility for using such unprofessional terminology.

Overall, I think this study has some highly enlightening elements. I just wish it had been carried out in a way that made it more credible. Sorry for leaving something resembling a dissertation more than a comment. :-)

Rob said...

As you know CS where I stand on the issue of whether or not all religions say the same thing (they do not). I do think that all religions hold to their biases, or else they would not hold the distinctive traits that they do to make them defined differently from the next.

Barna does hold to a biblical worldview, to which I am sure we were to engage in what constitutes such a worldview you would have your disagreements.

In your paragraph in value judgments based on terminology, be careful that you are not making a value judgment in the attempt of critiquing another's value judgment. Everyone cannot escape making a value judgment, no matter the issue that you wish to raise, gay marriage or gun rights.

Nevertheless, I am glad you find the study enlightening. Regards, RL

-Chris Sosa said...

Thanks, Rob. Interesting point regarding "value judging" value judgments.

(Sorry if there was any confusion as to who I was. Finally got around to fixing my display name.)