The Barna Research Group does a great service to the American church by trying to carefully and scientifically assess what the actual facts of Christian behavior are (which don’t always line up with our preconceptions or hopes). A recent study looks at a variety of behavioral questions, segmented along faith lines (evangelical Christian, non-evangelical born again Christians, “notional” Christians, adherents of non-Christian faiths, and atheists/agnostics).
George Barna’s summary statement bears repeating:
ï¿½The ultimate aim of belief in Jesus is not simply to possess divergent theological ideas but to become a transformed person. These statistics highlight the fact that millions of people who rely on Jesus Christ for their eternal destiny have problems translating their religious beliefs into action beyond Sunday mornings.ï¿½
One interesting factoid: those who fall into the Christian but not evangelical categories (non-evangelical and notional Christians) are more likely to purchase lottery tickets.
“Overall, 15% of born again and 23% of notional Christians purchased lottery tickets in a typical week, compared to just 10% of other-faith adherents and 12% of atheists/agnostics.”
It doesn’t say much about our faith if it isn’t strong enough to transform our attitudes about money, particularly the desire to get rich (which Paul describes as a snare, 1 Timothy 6:9), and our trust in God rather than in riches.