Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

The Barna Group Obama and Spiritualityhas revealed an amazing glimpse into the psyche of America. They have discovered an America which believes itself to be very spiritual. According to a recent poll (Oct 27, 2008) millions of Americans describe their religious faith as personally very important (71%). Two-thirds of the nation’s adults think of themselves as “deeply spiritual” (64%). All of this focus on spiritual matters seems to provide people with a confident self-assessment: 82% of adults describe themselves as “spiritually mature.”

In addition to spiritual identities – and in some ways beyond spiritual labels – Americans also think of themselves as difference-makers and concerned about the world around them. In all, three out of every four adults say they are “making a positive difference in the world” (78%). In fact, close to nine out of every ten Americans (86%) describe themselves as “caring deeply about social injustice.” A similar percentage of adults are “concerned about the moral condition of the country” (86%).

spirituality for dummiesHowever Americans portray a personal search that is challenging and often conflicted. At times Americans put a positive face on their reason for being; other times they admit to not living up to their ideals. For instance, while 71% of adults believe they are “fulfilling their calling in life,” 51% also say they are “searching for meaning and purpose.”

Another conflicted self-assessment shows up when asked to describe their sense of peace and simplicity in life. Most Americans feel “very much at peace with life” (84%) and the vast majority say they “live a simple life” (84%).

However, most Americans also acknowledge they need to make major life changes. For example, most adults reject the statement “you would not change anything significant about your life” (55%). Also, their sense of peace and simplicity is often thwarted by their strong desire to make more money and do more in life: seven out of ten Americans say they are “totally committed to getting ahead in life” (68%).

How does the Christian community compare on these self-perceptions? In many ways, the self-perceptions of born again Christians are remarkably similar to those of Americans who are not born again. Not surprisingly, the largest gaps showed up related to spiritual self-perceptions. For instance, born again Christians were much more likely to describe themselves as deeply spiritual, to desire a close relationship with God, and to prioritize their faith when compared with other non-born again Christians.

Yet, on social awareness, matters of lifestyle, and the desire for simplicity, the self-identities of born agains and others were very similar. Only two of the non-spiritual self-perceptions showed any difference, and those gaps were minimal: born again Christians were slightly more likely than others to see themselves as making a positive difference in the world (83% versus 74%, respectively) and slightly more likely to be fulfilling personal life calling (76% to 67%).

The Barna Group president indicated that “as the nation’s population becomes increasingly fragmented in terms of ethnicity, age, media, technology, and religion – including a projected increase in the number of spiritual skeptics – the language and imagery of spirituality and relationship with God figure to be rarer connecting points across a diverse audience. Christian leaders who hope to have mainstream influence within this fragmenting culture will have to find and communicate common values but also be cautious not to pursue mainstream credibility at the cost of simplistic or spiritually impotent solutions.” 

This report is based upon telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group with two random samples of adults selected from across the continental United States, age 18 and older. One study was conducted in January 2008, with 1004 adults, and the other was conducted in August 2008 (N=1004). The maximum margin of sampling error associated with each study is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the aggregate sample to known population percentages in relation to several key demographic variables.

If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each new, bi-monthly update on the latest research findings from The Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website

American’s see themselves as spiritual.

spiritualityWe believe ourselves to be in touch with God. That feeling is not restricted to born-again Christians, but applies to people across the broad spectrum of religion. That is why we can call someone a Christian who follows a preacher such as Jeremiah Wright. After all, we are a “Christian” Nation, under God. There is very little difference between true “born-again” Christians and the average American.

Jeremiah was puzzled over a similar situation in Judah a few thousand years ago. He presented the problem to Jehovah in Jeremiah 12:1-2: “Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.”

KidneysThe people of Judah were prosperous, happy, and very spiritual. The Name of God was on their lips. But Jeremiah indicates the truth of the matter, when he says that God is far from their “reins” as the King James says. The Hebrew word ‏כִּלְיָה‎, ‘kilya’ actually refers to the kidneys, organs that serve to filter the body from impurities. Jeremiah indicts the Jews who believe they are spiritual by claiming that God does not hold their ‘reins’, their ‘kidneys’. Most scholars change the meaning to something easier for us to understand, such as mind or heart.

I believe ‘reins’ is a great translation. As the Barna Survey indicated, most Americans, while believing they are spiritual, are actually conflicted in their actual spiritual walk. That is why a majority are still seeking for meaning and purpose while 68% are still seeking after riches. This reveals that God may be on their lips, but He does not hold their reins. God is not allowed to filter the impurities and corruption from their lives.

What this means is Americans are being deceived.They are living proof of the truth of Ephesians 4:18-19:

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

The Majority of American are Deceived

We can fool ourselves into believing that we can be highly spiritual and still seek after the things of this world. However, the truth is they still possess the “old man” which as Ephesians 4:22 states is “corrupted by deceitful desires”.

The only measure of true spirituality is our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:20-21 (KJV) But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.

christ_the_hope_of_gloryThe truth is in Jesus. If you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, then you know this TRUTH. Jesus is True Spirituality. He either lives in you or He does not. You have either placed your faith and your life in Him, or you are continuing to follow a lie, brought to you by the great Deceiver, the Father of Lies. Who holds your reins. Who is the filter of your life?

Does Jesus Christ Live in You?