Barna examines the ranks of ‘spiritual but not religious’ Americans.
When you ask someone about their faith, expect to hear a qualifier.
Of course, there’s “spiritual but not religious,” a category that 11 percent of Americans now fall into, according to Barna Group research. (The figure could be at least double that if applied to all without a particular religious affiliation, often referred to as the “nones.”)
But even Christianity comes with caveats. Some try to change up the term by saying, “I’m not a Christian, but a Christ-follower.”
#ImChristianBut trended on Twitter a couple years ago, in the wake of a BuzzFeed video of young Christians butting against what they saw as negative stereotypes of Christians. They said lines like “I’m Christian, but I’m not homophobic” and “I’m Christian, but I’m not closed-minded.”
Before that, the spoken word poem “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” took off with a message that confronted frustrations with religious legalism. It now has 32 million YouTube views.
A new report by Barna adds another label to the buts: those who “love Jesus, but not the church.”
This crowd shares a lot of core beliefs with their churchgoing neighbors; nearly all of them (around 95%) believe in only one God, that he is everywhere, and that he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today.” And 89 percent of them are committed to Jesus.
“They still love Jesus, still believe in Scripture, and most of the tenets of their Christian faith. But they have lost faith in the church,” said Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group.
Though practicing Christians may agree with the frustrations or empathize …