The Barna Group has released a revised look at the religious views of Americans, and finds that half find Christianity to be but one of several valid options.  And 50%of the country questions the notion that we are still a “Christian” nation.

In fact, “a huge majority of adults pick and choose what they believe rather than adopt a church or denomination’s slate of beliefs.”  Even with over 200 Christain denominations, many Americans prefer to customize their faith experience to suit individual preferences.

Not that spirituality is dead.  40% of those not affiliating with Christianity say their faith has “increasing influence on their moral judgments.”

The implications, says Barna include:

  1. Americans are increasingly comfortable discarding those Bible teachings that don’t match their personal theology .
  2. Americans are embracing an unpredictable and contradictory body of beliefs. “Close to half believe that Satan does not exist, one-third contend that Jesus sinned while He was on earth.”
  3. American’s faith is usually a “personal combination of theology drawn from a smattering of world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam as well as secularism.”
  4. Feelings and emotions now play a significant role in the development of people’s faith views – in many cases, much more significant than information-based exercises such as listening to preaching and participating in Bible study.
  5. Twenty percent of Christians deny having an individual responsibility to share the Christian faith with others.

Byron Hill summarizes the report well:

In reflecting on this report, I was both discouraged and encouraged. Discouraged that more and more people are choosing not to accept the absolute truth of the Bible and at the same time, encouraged that religious faith is even more important to people than it used to be as a source of objective and reliable moral guidance. People are searching for answers. What are we going to do to help them?

What indeed?