Thursday, March 31, 2005

The UnWASHed and the Unchurched

An update from The Barna Group (a religious polling organization) suggests that as many as 34% of American adults are "unchurched." Lest we get too excited, they point out that only 24% of these folks are atheist or agnostic, (but, hey, that's still more than 8% of the population, which is consistent with previous polls).

Even among those professing some degree of religioius belief, the majority apparently reject such disturbing notions as biblical literacy and an interventionist deity.
They are only half as likely to firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches (25% agree with that notion); are less likely to possess a biblical view of God (only 46% see Him as the “perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe” who still rules His creation today); and are less likely to believe that the most important purpose of life is to “love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul” (63% agree).
Barna also finds that:
Surprisingly, “downscale” individuals (i.e., no college degree, below average household income) also are much more likely than their “upscale” counterparts (i.e., college graduates with above-average household income levels) to stay away from local churches.
One has to wonder if there are ways to reach out to the Unchurched and the UnWASHed by offering more options to form Humanist communities, and by making Humanism more accessible to those lacking advanced degrees in science or philosophy.


Sven said...

24% of 34% is indeed more than 8% - by a whooping 0.16%. That does not look like sensational news to me.

Steven F. Goldberg said...

Rather missing the point, I think. It wasn't presented as being sensational news - only consistent with previous findings. In fact, the point was to make clear that not all "unchurched" or "non-religious" Americans are atheists, agnostics or Humanists, as is so often claimed by many in this movement.