In the last few months, I have encountered a number of people who seem “taken” by the current campaign to promote the message of atheism. Such books as God is Not Great, and The God Delusion seem to suggest that there is something solid to the life and belief of the unbelievers. Which is why I was intrigued by the recent findings of George Barna.
The June update of the Barna Report dealt with the impact of the current promotional campaign being waged by Atheists. It was, in part, research for a new book by David Kinnaman entitled unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity. On the surface, the issue seems to be formidable to anyone in ministry. But, digging a bit deeper into the data, I was encouraged by the opportunities we have to address people who appear uncomfortable with un-belief. Consider the following, from the Barna research [www.barna.org]:
But atheists and agnostics shouldn’t be too surprised that we would be confused about the issue. After all, this demographic group, which comprises 8% of the U.S. adult population, certainly acts in peculiar ways for religious skeptics. According to surveys conducted by The Barna Group:
- 1 out of every 2 atheists and agnostics say that every person has a soul
- 1 out of every 2 atheists and agnostics believes that Heaven and Hell exist
- 1 out of every 2 atheists and agnostics believes that there is life after death.
- 1 out of every 3 atheists and agnostics talks about faith-related matters during a typical week.
- 1 out of every 3 atheists and agnostics prayed to God, in past 7 days
- 1 out of every 3 atheists and agnostics want ‘creationism” taught in the public schools
- 1 out of every 8 atheists and agnostics believe that accepting Jesus Christ as savior probably makes life after death possible.
- 1 out of every 10 atheists and agnostics believes that absolute moral truth exist
- 1 out of every 12 atheists and agnostics read from the Bible, other than while at church, in past 7 days
- 1 out of every 25 atheists and agnostics attended a church service, other than a special event such as a wedding or funeral, in past 7 days
If an atheist reads the bible, goes to church, believes in the existence of the soul, heaven, hell, life after death, teaching creationism, absolute morals, and prayer, are they considered a “heretic” by their fellow non-believers?
I would take it one step further: would they be considered a “lost sheep” looking for a way home?