Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Monday, June 11, 2007

Barna Research turns its research to atheists

With the atheist surge going on, Barna Research is now turning its research lens on us, the atheists and agnostics. There are some great news in this study, including the very real possibility that the secular trend will hold as people mature. Some salient points of their study:

[M]ost atheists and agnostics (56%) agree with the idea that radical Christianity is just as threatening in America as is radical Islam. At the same time, two-thirds of Christians (63%) who have an active faith perceive that the nation is becoming more hostile and negative toward Christianity.

The proportion of atheists and agnostics increases from 6% of Elders (ages 61+) and 9% of Boomers (ages 42-60), to 14% of Busters (23-41) and 19% of adult Mosaics (18-22). When adjusted for age and compared to 15 years ago, each generation has changed surprisingly little over the past decade and a half. Each new generation entered adulthood with a certain degree of secular fervor, which appears to stay relatively constant within that generation over time. This contradicts the popular notion that such generational differences are simply a product of people becoming more faith-oriented as they age.

Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics.

Each group admitted to experiencing personal difficulties with similar frequency, including being in serious debt (11% versus 10%), dealing with a personal addiction (13% versus 12%), and trying to find a few good friends (41% versus 40%). Christians admit to being overweight with greater frequency (26% of no-faith, compared with 41% of active-faith), while atheists and agnostics are more likely to feel stressed out (37% versus 26%).

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