Christian researcher George Barna has some interesting statistics and predictions from his 2006 study of religious attitudes in America.
(A)lthough large majorities of the public claim to be "deeply spiritual" and say that their religious faith is "very important" in their life, only 15 percent of those who regularly attend a Christian church ranked their relationship with God as their top priority.
I think this disconnect between being "deeply spiritual" and making God the most important part of one's life can be traced back to the narcissism regularly on display in our culture. The most popular churches are those least grounded in tradition and doctrine, but, rather, are built on emotions and experiences.
Barna describes three spiritual patterns evident in our society.
In his year-end review, Barna describes what he sees as three general spiritual patterns that are likely to gain prominence in the coming years. The first of these, he says, is diversity: along with new forms of spiritual leadership and expressions of faith, he predicts that ecumenism will expand as the emerging generations pay less attention to doctrine and more attention to relationships and experiences.
The second prediction from the head of Barna Research has to do with what he calls "bifurcation." He expects to see a widening gap between the intensely committed and those who are casually involved in faith matters. The difference, Barna says, will become strikingly evident between those who make faith the core of their life and those who simply attach a religious component onto an already mature lifestyle.
Barna's third prediction deals with the use of media. He says new technologies will significantly reshape how people experience and express their faith, as well as the ways in which they form communities of faith.