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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

I Wonder Why, Hmmmmm...


The latest Barna Group Poll on the number of non-believers shows that as the younger the age group becomes, the greater the percentage of non-Christians. Note that they call non-Christians "outsiders". I see there is an overlap between the age groups of 18-41 and 16-29. These groups have very similar numbers. This means that the large number of people aged between 18 and 41 are approximately 37% non-Christian. WooHoo.
As pointed out in the Barna Update related to atheists and agnostics, this is not a passing fad wherein young people will become "more Christian" as they grow up. While Christianity remains the typical experience and most common faith in America, a fundamental recalibration is occurring within the spiritual allegiance of America’s upcoming generations.
Sounds all good to me.
David Kinnaman, who is a 12-year-veteran of the Barna team, pointed out some of the unexpected findings of the research. "Going into this three-year project, I assumed that people’s perceptions were generally soft, based on misinformation, and would gradually morph into more traditional views. But then, as we probed why young people had come to such conclusions, I was surprised how much their perceptions were rooted in specific stories and personal interactions with Christians and in churches. When they labeled Christians as judgmental this was not merely spiritual defensiveness. It was frequently the result of truly ‘unChristian’ experiences. We discovered that the descriptions that young people offered of Christianity were more thoughtful, nuanced, and experiential than expected."
Well what do they expect when a lot of Christians act like arrogant asses. It certainly does not make me want to be a Christian when I'm the recipient of death threats and condescension from them.

6 comments:

Jeff said...

The results of this study provide a sad commentary on the current perception of the Christian faith. I discuss this issue on my blog from a Christian perspective and I agree with many of your conclusions. Gandhi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." He kind of sums things up rather well.

Anna Lemma said...

I think that the rise of right-wing Christianity is a large part of the problem. People like me are just getting tired of their constant "in your face", hypocritical, and patronizing attitude. I enjoy talking philosophy and religion with people of all belief systems, but I think some people are overly defensive because they have not really given their beliefs much thought.

I lost what I thought was a good friend of many years ago this way. We used to talk all the time about these types of subjects. He was a very evangelical, but liberal Christian. But after some years, he realized that I have my beliefs and are happy with them and am not going to change.

We worked together and I was leaving for another job. I think he realized that he was not going to get me to convert to Christianity. And so my last day at work he snubbed me and we lost touch because I was not able to get his address for my annual card list.

I guess I really don't understand this attitude at all. I certainly wasn't looking to change his beliefs, I only wanted to understand them better. I had no expectation of deconverting him, but it seems that was his whole aim was to convert me during the time we knew each other. I feel sad for him that friendship for him was simply a means to an end rather than simply a friendship.

Jeff said...

I sometimes wonder if Christ would recognize many of those who claim to hold to his teachings today. Patronizing and defensive attitudes are certainly not productive. My faith teaches that Christians should be prepared to give a reasoned response (1 Peter 3:15) to those who ask why we hold to our beliefs...but to do so with respect.

As to your observations about religion and poltics, that is a great concern of mine as well. There are many of us out there that are concerned with the relationship of self-proclaimed leaders of the Christian church with political party politics. Personally, I think that we (Christians) need to focus on removing the planks in our own eyes before we approach culture to remove the speck in its eye. It makes it hard to be taken seriously when our own house is not in order, so to speak.

There are many open-minded Christians out there who have a much different political agenda, such as helping the poor (for example Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners). We just don't get the press that our more militant brothers and sisters seem to attract.

Anna Lemma said...

I think that the more fundamentalist Christians are the one that make all o the noise, but I've also had problems with more "liberal" Christians as well. It just seems that a lot of religious people that I have met have problems with those of us who find that we have no need of a supernatural in our lives.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Christianity has nothing to do with arrogance. It has to do with credibility. The entire story of Christianity is simply not credible. Not just a little bit not credible, but extremely, excessivly, over-the-top completely insane not credible.

THAT is the problem with Christianity. It makes no sense. People cannot choose, nor even WANT to choose to believe something which is plainly insane.

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