Faith Changes in the African-American Community
The Barna Group recently released research on the religious beliefs and behaviors of African Americans. Good religious research on minorities is less prevalent, so this study is a welcome one.
Regarding statements about faith, African Americans had the highest responses with eight out of nine statements when compared with whites, Hispanics, and Asians. Below is a comparison of answers between blacks and whites:
- the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches 66% (Black) 46% (White)
- have personal responsibility to tell others your religious beliefs 46% (Black) 32% (White)
- your religious faith is very important in your life 86% (Black) 70% (White)
- Satan/devil is not a living being but is a symbol of evil 46% (Black) 38% (White)
- when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ committed sins 54% (Black) 43% (White)
- single, most important purpose of your life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul 85% (Black) 63% (White)
- God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today 84% (Black) 69% (White)
- your highest priority in your life these days is your faith 18% (Black) 11% (White)
Other results from the survey gave comparisons of the African-American community with the national average:
Blacks were the group most likely to be born again Christians (59%, compared to a national average of 46%) and were the ethnic segment most likely to consider themselves to be Christian (92% did so, versus 85% nationally). However, they were no more likely than average to qualify as evangelical Christians.
The study also compared the current religious beliefs and behaviors of African Americans to beliefs and behaviors fifteen years ago. Interestingly, substantial changes occurred during this time, including moves toward more conservative biblical teachings:
Six of seven measures of belief had changed significantly. Blacks today are more likely than they were in the early 1990s to believe that the principles taught in the Bible are totally accurate; to say that their religious faith is very important in their life; to have a biblically orthodox understanding of the nature of God; and to be born again. They are also less likely to strongly affirm that Satan is symbolic, not real; and to contend that a good person can earn his/her way into Heaven.
The measure that had not changed was the sense of personal responsibility to discuss their beliefs with others.
You can read the full report here. Any thoughts on this study?
HT: Ed Stetzer