Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
Many a time I've had discussions with Christians where I've stated something to the effect of "It hasn't been my experience that Christians are any more moral than non-Christians." I've even stated that on this forum several times and my have even started at thread on it. I don't remember anyone having questioned this assertion. Rather they have discussed rticle is here:
Barna's quote which seems to suggest that there are no discernible differences between Christians and non-Christians in terms of their moral lives is in reference to the Christian populace in general, which includes those who merely call themselves Christians yet do not know or understand Christian belief nor what it means to be a Christian.
The Barna Group, distrusting the accuracy of how people label themselves, categorize Christians based on a series of questions. Almost 80% of Americans identify themselves as "Christians", yet Barna's findings show that only 44% of the population are actually "born again". Christians were asked the following questions: (1) have you ever made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today? and (2) what will happen to you after you die? "Born again" individuals will answer "yes" to (1) and respond, "when I die, I will go to Heaven because I have confessed my sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior," to (2).
Of this 44% who are deemed "born again" there is a significantly smaller category which the Barna group calls the "evangelicals" (note: again, these aren't what the individuals labeled themselves). Evangelicals met the born again criteria (above) plus seven other conditions: (1) their faith is very important in their life today, (2) believe they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians, (3) believe that Satan exists, (4) believe that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works, (5) believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth, (6) assert that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches, and (7) describe God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.
Only 8% of the population are "evangelicals" according to The Barna Group. This 8%, according to Barna's research, "were the group most likely to follow traditional morality while atheists and agnostics were the faith segment most likely to reject those ways.
Among evangelicals, profanity (16% ) and pornography (12% ) were the most common transgressions. Fewer than 5% of evangelicals had engaged in gossip (4% ), inappropriate sex (3% ), gambling (2% ), lying (1% ) or drunkenness (less than one-half of one percent).
In contrast, among skeptics (atheists and agnostics) participation in the eight behaviors ranged from a low of 11% (retaliating) up to a high of 60% (using profanity). While evangelicals averaged 6% participation in each of the eight behaviors mentioned, skeptics averaged five times that level (29% ). Other common acts among skeptics included exposure to pornography (50% ), gossip (34% ) and drunkenness (33% ).
People associated with faiths other than Christianity were twice as likely as evangelicals to engage in the behaviors explored. They were most likely to use profanity (33% ), view pornography (32% ) and lie (18% )."