Barna Research Highlights Year's Trends

Barna Research Group, which analyzes trends in views, beliefs, and culture among the U.S. Christian community, recently released a list of highlights of its 2004 studies, ranging from the most encouraging to the most disappointing.

According to George Barna, which leads the researches, the group has conducted more than 10,000 interviews during the year 2004.

In a list released on Tuesday, the year’s factual highlights were divided into four types: the most encouraging outcomes, the most surprising findings, the most disappointing revelations, and the most significant challenges.

Among the most encouraging surveys, “Religious Activity Increasing In the West,” Barna reports that an estimated 22 million adults have been added to the numbers of churched individuals in the U.S. during the past decade.

Also in that same category, Barna noted how the “Public Divided On Marriage Amendment” survey showed that Evangelicals unified together and used Biblically-based view on marriage to influence legislation protecting traditional marriage during the elections this year.

Barna listed a survey examining the Impact of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ Movie as one of the most surprising because although millions of people saw the film, few people accepted Jesus Christ as their savior as a result of seeing the film and less than one-half percent of respondents said the movie motivated them to be more active in evangelism.

But although Evangelicals uniting to uphold marriage was among most encouraging reports, a survey showing that divorces among born-again Christians are as much likely to occur as those among non-born again Christians. The survey is called “Born Again Christian Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.”

Among the most spiritually challenging surveys was “Religious Activity Increasing In the West,” which showed that Catholics lag significantly behind Protestants in most measures of spiritual practice and belief and less likely to have a biblical worldview.

Full surveys can be viewed at The Barna Group’s Web site,