Barna Research Group Examines Changes in Faith Among Blacks

A national study released August 2, 2011, concludes: “Blacks possess beliefs most likely to align with those taught in the Bible.”

In the annual “State of the Church, 2011” leading research firm, the Barna Group studied changes that have occurred in the religious beliefs and behavior of adults based on race and ethnicity since 1991. Findings include:

Changes in the Faith of White Adults
• Weekly church attendance declined by nine percentage points, dropping from 48% in 1991 to 39% in 2011.
• Adult Sunday school attendance also dipped by nine percentage points, from 23% to 14%.
• Bible reading dropped by five percentage points, sliding from 42% to 37%.
• Volunteering at a church during a typical week fell by eight percentage points since 1991, from 26% down to 18%.

Changes in the Faith of Hispanics
• Church attendance dropped by 21 percentage points, from 54% to 33%.
• Adult Sunday school attendance among Hispanics declined from 28% to just 9%.
• Bible reading plummeted from 55% to 30%.
• The percentage of unchurched Hispanic adults has doubled in the last two decades, jumping from 20% in 1991 to 40% today.

Changes in the Faith of Blacks
Blacks were the most likely to:
• Engage in church-centric activities, such as attending church services, attending a Sunday school class, and volunteering at their church during typical week
• Read the Bible, other than at church events, during a typical week
• Blacks were the least likely segment to be unchurched. In fact, they were only half as likely as either whites or Hispanics to be unchurched.
blacks were more likely than other segments to say:
• Their religious beliefs are very important in their life today
• They have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today
• They believe that God is “the all-knowing, all-powerful and perfect Creator of the universe who still rules the world today”
• They strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches
• They have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with other people who might believe differently than they do.

According to the findings, “The most stable group of the three racial/ethnic segments has been the blacks. During the past 20 years, they have undergone significant change in just two of the 14 religious variables tracked.”

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