Study: Americans 'Customize' Their Religion

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A new nationwide study says a majority of Americans pick and choose their religious beliefs, effectively customizing their religion rather than adopting beliefs taught by a church.

The survey conducted by The Barna Group, claims that 71 percent of Americans say they are more likely to develop their own set of religious beliefs. Young people under the age of 25 led this particular 'a la carte' group.

The survey, released on Monday, also shows that among those people who describe themselves as being a Christian:

-Almost half believe that Satan does not exist.

-One-third say that Jesus sinned when he was on earth.

-Two-thirds say they do not have a responsibility to share the Gospel with others.

-One-quarter dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

George Barna, founder of the Christian survey group, said the findings show that a growing number of people are serving as their own "theologian-in-residence." This results in Americans embracing an "unpredictable and contradictory body of beliefs."

Americans today are "more likely to pit a variety of non-Christian options against various Christian-based views," he said.

"This has resulted in an abundance of unique worldviews based on personal combinations of theology drawn from a smattering of world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam as well as secularism," he said.

Those claiming to be "born-again" Christians indicated they would be least likely to a adopt an a la carte approach to their religious beliefs. But according to the survey, 61 percent say they also have mixed their set of beliefs.

The Christian Post noted the survey findings show Americans are now combining their beliefs from different denominations and even religions, instead of following the theological teachings of a denomination or church.

A Christian Nation?

The survey also revealed that Christianity is no longer viewed as the default religion of America. More than 50 percent of the respondents said that Christianity is no longer considered to be the automatic religious choice for Americans. Previous studies indicated a basic assumption among responders that if one was born in America, that person would automatically be affiliated with the Christian faith.

Despite the changes in religious beliefs, a majority of Americans still look to their religious faith as an important source for moral guidance. Nearly three out of four Americans said their faith influences their moral judgments.

The study's results are based on telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group with a random sample of 1,004 adults selected from across the United States, ages 18 and older, during August of last year.

Sources: The Barna Group, The Christian Post

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