Chances are that if you’re a sincere Christian, you are occasionally discouraged by the apparent downward spiral of American culture. From abortion to embryonic stem cell research, from random promiscuity to casual hook-ups to same-sex marriage, from twerking to offensive TV network programming….there is evidence that our society has reduced its standards and widened the range of behaviors it is willing to tolerate.
And religion (or the lack thereof) plays an important role in fostering self-control and virtue. If society is in decline, then increased secularism would seem to be a part of the reason.
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The Barna Research Group is a research firm in Ventura, California which focuses on the intersection of faith and culture. Barna has studied fifteen metrics which measure vitality of faith, and which speak to the lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. Without these markers of Christian identity, the individual may lack both restraint against antisocial behaviors, and the impetus to engage in positive acts.
Barna has released its list of the fifty “most post-Christian” cities in America. The criteria for their choices are:
Post-Christian = meet at least 60% of the following 15 factors (9 or more factors)
Highly Post-Christian = meet at least 80% of the following 15 factors (12 or more factors)
- do not believe in God
- identify as atheist or agnostic
- disagree that faith is important in their lives
- have not prayed to God (in the last year)
- have never made a commitment to Jesus
- disagree the Bible is accurate
- have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
- have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
- agree that Jesus committed sins
- do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
- have not read the Bible (in the last week)
- have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
- have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
- have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
- do not participate in a house church (in the last year)