Barna and the Percentage of U.S. Evangelicals

I came across some interesting statistics yesterday regarding the percentage of evangelical Christians in the U.S. and thought I would share them here. The following is from a recent Barna report. I find these statistics interesting largely due to the fact that I have previously heard the Barna group take some heat for how (liberal) they define the title “evangelical.”

The intent of the report had to do with politics and Obama vs. McCain. If that sort of thing interests you, take a read of the entire report here.

Here’s the snippet that stood out to me:

One of the most frequently reported on groups of voters is evangelicals. Most media polls use a simplistic approach to defining evangelicals, asking survey respondents if they consider themselves to be evangelical. Barna Group surveys, on the other hand, ask a series of nine questions about a person’s religious beliefs in order to determine if they are an evangelical. The differences between the two approaches are staggering.

Using the common approach of allowing people to self-identify as evangelicals, 40% of adults classify themselves as such. ….Using the Barna approach of studying people’s core religious beliefs produces a very different outcome. Just 8% of the adult population qualifies as evangelical based on their answers to the nine belief questions.

If you use the link above and scroll to the bottom, you can read more about the “nine questions” used to determine who is an evangelical. You can argue about the validity of the 9, but you can’t discredit the vast difference between the 40% and 8%.

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~ by toddbumgarner on August 12, 2008 11:52 am.

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