Survey Explores Faith of Homosexuals

The Barna Group on Monday released a new study that explores the faith life of homosexuals compared to heterosexuals.

Survey findings indicate that "straights" are more likely to be committed to their Christian faith than gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Nearly half (47 percent) of heterosexual adults qualify as born-again Christians compared to 27 percent of homosexuals. Also, 75 percent of straight adults reported having made "a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important" in their life today. Fifty-eight percent of homosexual adults said the same.

While six out of ten heterosexuals said they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith, only four out of ten homosexuals expressed such commitment.

Moreover, about half of straight adults said their life has been greatly transformed by their faith while only one-third of homosexual adults agreed.

Still, the majority among both heterosexuals (72 percent) and homosexuals (60 percent) said their faith is "very important" in their life. Majorities in both groups also identified themselves as Christian.

George Barna, who heads The Barna Group, said the survey results show that homosexual adults are not the "godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers" that some portray them to be.

"A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today," he said in the report.

While faith may be important for most of the surveyed gays and lesbians, they do not prioritize it and tend to consider faith to be individual and private rather than communal, Barna pointed out.

"The data indicate that millions of gay people are interested in faith but not in the local church and do not appear to be focused on the traditional tools and traditions that represent the comfort zone of most churched Christians," he commented. "Gay adults clearly have a different way of interpreting the Bible on a number of central theological matters, such as perspectives about God."

Heterosexuals are more likely to attend a church service, pray to God or read the Bible compared to homosexuals. Gays and lesbians (42 percent) are more likely to be unchurched than straights (28 percent).

Additionally, heterosexuals are also twice as likely to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. And 71 percent of straight adults have an orthodox, biblical perception of God compared to 43 percent of homosexual adults.

Among the similarities found, a small minority of people in both groups believe that Satan is real; equivalent percentages of the two groups feel they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others who believe differently; and similar percentages believe good people can earn their way into Heaven through their goodness.

Survey results are based on interviews with 9,232 adults, 280 of whom identified as homosexual or bisexual. They were conducted between January 2007 and November 2008.

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