Monday, June 08, 2009

Americans Experiencing God Differently

A new study conducted by respected pollster George Barna indicates that many American Christians are open to expressing their religious beliefs differently than previous generations. Although most Americans define themselves as "religious", an increasing number of people are seeking to experience their faith apart from organized religion and the institutional church.

Barna found that 7 out of 10 people are more likely to develop their own religious beliefs rather than to accept an entire set of beliefs of a particular church.
"Levels of distrust toward churches, church leaders and organized Christianity have been growing over the past two decades. That concern – along with the heightened independence of Americans and the profound access to information that has characterized the past decade – may have led to the emergence of a large majority of adults feeling responsible for their own theological and spiritual development. Other studies have shown an inclination for people to view a local church as a supplier of useful guidance and support, but not necessarily a reliable source of a comprehensive slate of beliefs that they must adopt.

Across the board, the research showed that women are driving these changes. This is particularly significant given prior research from Barna showing that women are more spiritually inclined, are the primary shapers of family faith experiences, and are the backbone of activity in the typical conventional church. Specifically, Barna discovered that women were more likely than men to pursue their faith in a different type of structure or environment (68% of women, 59% of men); to sense that God is motivating people to experience faith in different ways (79% vs. 60%, respectively); and to be willing try a new church (50% vs. 40%)."
To read more about Barna's report click here.

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