QUESTION #1: The title of your latest research report, “Where Born Again’s are Missing the Mark” is intriguing. Can you give us an overview of your research?


George Barna:

“…when you’re a researcher you’re constantly trying to discover correlations between different elements that you study in the research. In these studies that we’ve been doing lately, one of the things that we do is we compare the beliefs and the behaviors, values, the morals, all kinds of things. People who would be categorized as Born Again Christians in comparison to those who wouldn’t be categorized as such. And so, the idea here was to get a better grip on a simple but I think very important question, “Are Born Again Christians different than anybody else? Is their faith making a difference in their life?”

And it’s important, therefore, that we discover what they believe because we know that you do what you believe. So your behavior will follow what you believe to be true and important and significant in life. In this particular study, or report at least, we were looking at 17 different questions about the beliefs of people who would be categorized as Born Again Christians.

And let me clarify that in the research that I do, unlike all the other surveys in the country, I don’t ask people, “Do you consider yourself to be a Born Again Christian?” Or, “Do you think that you’ve had a born again experience at some time in your life?” I’ve tested that over the years and found that that’s misleading. Because a large proportion of people who call themselves Born Again Christians also admit they have no relationship with Christ, or had a lot of other bizarre beliefs about salvation. What we do is we ask them what they think will happen to them after they die. In our surveys we give them 10 different possibilities. We’ve tested those over the years, they’re the most common thoughts. And one of those is, “After I die, I know that I will go to heaven, but only because I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.” We don’t use the term “Born Again”, but those people who answer the question about life after death in that way, we categorize as Born Again.

…In this particular analysis, what we did was we pulled out those people who qualified as Born Again Christians, based on saying that when they die they know that they will go to heaven but only because they’ve confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. So this is a national sampling of those particular types of people. And we had a sample size of 902 of these individuals drawn from all 50 states, done in a typical random sampling fashion. It’s a representative profile of the people who, frankly, are supposed to be forming the backbone of the Church in America.

(Unfortunately)…if we want to look at some things that a majority of Born Again Christians believe that really are not supported by the Scriptures, it would be things such as that the fact that they would say all faiths are essentially equal. In other words, it really doesn’t matter what faith you have, it’s just important that you have some faith. The feeling that they do not personally have any responsibility to share the Gospel with non-believers. The fact that more than 6 out of 10 Born Again Christians, even though they’re relying on Christ for their salvation, they would say, well, yeah but there are probably other ways to eternal salvation. Maybe you can earn your salvation, they might buy into elements of universalism and so forth. The fact that the majority of Born Again Christians don’t believe there’s any such thing as the Holy Spirit. The fact that almost half of them say that when Jesus lived on earth He sinned, which is just a mind-blowing concept. And the notion that there is no such thing as absolute moral truth in the Bible.

When you put all that together, and while these people may have their fire insurance taken care of, at least in their minds, they still misunderstand a lot of core biblical principles that ought to be shaping the way that they think and live.”

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