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Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.
Here is a key passage from that Barna Report:
“One reason that Christianity’s image is changing is due to the shifting faith allegiances of Americans. Simply put, each new generation has a larger share of people who are not Christians (that is, atheists, agnostics, people associated with another faith, or those who have essentially no faith orientation). The new book refers to this group as “outsiders” because they are describing what Christianity looks like from an outsider’s perspective. Among adults over the age of 40, only about one-quarter qualify as outsiders, while among the 16 to 29 segment, two-fifths are outsiders. This represents a significant migration away from the dominant role that Christianity has had in America.”
Wow! 40% of the 16-29 year olds are “outsiders” or non-Christians.
The numbers in the graph seem questionable. I thought that the US was about 80% Christian. If the graph is accurate, this is stunning info.
Hmmm. My memory was correct. The US is about 80% Christian. Barna divides Christians into two main categories: (1) Born Again Christians, and (2) Notional Christians. In 2005 Born Agains represented 40% of US population, and Notionals were 39% of the population. In 2007, Born Agains went up a tick to 42% of the population (I didn’t see a figure for Notionals from 2007). So, 80% is about right for Christians in general.
But this figure does not seem to fit with the graph included in the referenced Barna article.
The graph in the Barna article indicates that the following % of the age groups identify as Christians:
18-41: 63%42-50: 73%50-61: Not indicated in Graph61+ : 77%
Given the trend, one would expect aprox. 75% of the 50-61 age range to identify as Christians.
This means that the % of people 18 or older who identify as Christians is greater than 63% and less than 77%. If each of the age groups was equal in size, then the overall % of Christians would be: 72%.
But according to other Barna polls, 80% of the population are either born again Christians (based on their beliefs) or are notional Christians (based on self-identification + lack of born again beliefs). So, the numbers in the graph appear to be too low, as far as % of people who identify as Christians.
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