Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Insights into the mind of the Unchurched in the US

America’s unchurched are willing to hear what people have to say about Christianity, but a majority also sees the church as a place full of hypocrites, according to a LifeWay Research study. Seventy-two percent of those interviewed think the church “is full of hypocrites.” Yet 71 percent said they believe Jesus “makes a positive difference in a person’s life” and 78 percent would “be willing to listen” to someone who wanted to share what they believe about Christianity, while 64 percent think “the Christian religion is relevant and viable for today.” Seventy-two percent of unchurched adults believe God, a higher or supreme being actually exists.

Only 48 percent agree there is only one God as described in the Bible, and 61 percent believe the God of the Bible is no different from gods or spiritual beings depicted in non-Christian religions. Up from 17 percent in 2004, 22 percent of Americans say they never go to church – the highest ever recorded by the General Social Survey. Seventy-nine percent of unchurched Americans think Christianity today is more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people; 86 percent believe they can have a good relationship with God without being involved in church.

Forty-four percent say Christians “get on my nerves.” Yet, 89 percent of the unchurched have at least one close Christian friend. While turned off by church, 78 percent are willing to listen to someone who wants to talk about their Christian beliefs. The number rose to 89 percent among adults ages 18-29. Additionally, 78 percent say they would enjoy an honest conversation with a friend about religious and spiritual beliefs, even if they disagreed. Only 28 percent think Christians they know talk to them too much about their beliefs. (Baptist Press 1/9/08, via Preaching Now)

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