Survey: Faith of Blacks Grows Stronger, More Orthodox

Blacks remain the most religious ethnic group in America, a new study shows.

And over the last 15 years, African Americans have grown even more religious and orthodox in their Christian beliefs, according to The Barna Group.

Findings from surveys that included 1,272 African American respondents reveal that blacks today are more likely than they were in the early 1990s to believe that the principles taught in the Bible are totally accurate; to say that their religious faith is very important in their life; to have a biblically orthodox understanding of the nature of God; and to be born again.

African Americans were found to be the most likely ethnic group to consider themselves Christian with 92 percent saying so. Nationally, 85 percent of Americans in general consider themselves Christian. Blacks were also the most likely to be born again Christians (59 percent vs. 46 percent nationally).

Moreover, blacks had the lowest population of unchurched adults and were least likely to be Catholic.

"While the beliefs and behaviors of America's white population have changed little since the early 1990s, the new research underscored that the faith of African-Americans is dynamic, generally moving in a direction that is more aligned with conservative biblical teachings," the Barna report states.

Today, 66 percent of blacks say the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. Only 49 percent of the general U.S. population agrees. Eighty-six percent of blacks say their religious faith is very important in their life while 72 percent of the American public says so.

More than four out of five African Americans also say loving God is the single, most important purpose of their life and that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world. Meanwhile, three out of five in the general U.S. population agree with those statements.

African Americans are markedly more religious when it comes to attending church, participating in a small group, praying and reading the Bible.

Data is based on telephone interviews conducted between January 2007 and November 2008 among nine nationwide random samples of adults. More than 9,000 interviews were conducted.