Americans are in a new age of exploration, deploying new approaches to marriage, communications, sexuality, education, and more. According to the results from a new nationwide survey by The Barna Group, the “and more” includes how people pursue their faith and how they choose to relate to God and other people of faith. The new study reveals some intriguing perspectives embraced by adults in the U.S.
88% of American adults say that “my religious faith is very important in my life.” Faith is not going away despite the prolific media attention devoted to the demise of traditional faith practices and beliefs.
75% say “they want to connect with God in different ways and through different types of experiences than in the past.” There is a growing sense of release from traditional religious practices in this country. People are suggesting that "they want more of God and less of the religion and religious stuff that gets between them and God".
64% say they are “completely open to pursuing their faith in an environment or structure that differs from that of a typical church.” Two out of three adults contend that they are not tied to a conventional church setting as they seek to experience and express their faith.
50% say “a growing number of people I know are tired of the usual type of church experience.” Half of all adults said they are aware of such a willingness to experiment on the part of people they know because those individuals are tired of the common church experience.
71% say they are “more likely to develop my religious beliefs on my own, rather than to accept an entire set of beliefs that a particular church teaches.” 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.Whether we realize it or not, people are open to the idea of God and spirituality--those we live near, work with and relate to. We must discover new ways to be the connecting point for them.
The Barna Group is a visionary research and resource company--considered to be the leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. For more information, go to barna.org