Dancing the Faith Flip-Flop

Have you ever done a faith flip-flop? Author Anne Rice is certianly the most well-known recent example of this.

If you have you are in step with about 60 million other Americans, according to data released by the Christian research organization The Barna Group.

About 23 percent of adults said they had switched faiths from that of their childhood. This included people who switched from Catholicism to Protestantism and vice versa. Within Protestant denominations, there had been 12 percent whom had switched.

I find this data personally interesting as I have shifted from the denomination of my youth –Episcopal – to United Methodist as an adult. Anecdotally, I wonder if a few people might just not be willing to identify themselves as changing, as switching allegiances seems common among many Christians I know personally; I welcome your input on this behavior.

The study goes on to show, unfortunately, that the most popular shift – 12 percent — was away from a Christian faith to either atheism, agnosticism or a different religion altogether. Many of these changes are made early in adulthood, with 68 percent saying they made their choice before 30 years old.

Barna Group president David Kinnaman remarked, “It is difficult for many faith leaders to relate fully to the spiritual lives of people who struggle with their faith, particularly those who are younger. Clergy are typically older than those going through significant questions about their faith and are less likely to have personally experienced a period of major faith re-orientation themselves.

“What’s more, not every person goes through a crisis of faith, so individuals who are going through spiritual transitions often go unnoticed. Staying in tune with people’s questions and doubts—at whatever age they occur—is an increasingly important part of being an influential faith leader.”

3 Comments

  1. cowalker said:

    “It is difficult for many faith leaders to relate fully to the spiritual lives of people who struggle with their faith, particularly those who are younger.” Boy does that ever hit the nail on the head. Many years ago I was ripe for debating faith–when I was twelve years old. Was anyone in my family or among the Roman Catholic teachers in my elementary school ready to debate? No, they were not. If anyone is reading this for a tip about where the first fissures occur between faith and doubt, it’s the hypocrisy, stupid. It became glaringly clear to me that while my ostentatiously Catholic parents obsessed over Sunday Mass attendance and the prohibition of contraceptives, there was no concern at all over “the least of my brethern.” The Sermon on the Mount was for suckers. Well, OK. That leads the bright eight-year-old to look deeper. What? There are other religions out there that millions of people believe in? Gosh, why should I accept the Roman Catholic Bible and reject all the other sacred scriptures out there? Oh. Nobody wants to talk about that. In fact, nobody I know seems to have enough information to talk about this intelligently. Today I am an agnostic, who recognizes that the rational approach to life is atheistic. My rejection of Roman Catholicism occurred approximately 45 years ago. It is almost farcical that Christians have not recognized the huge, huge, unfamothably huge problem of adolescent diffculties with hypocrisy. It slingshotted me past a lot of emotional issues to the big issues, which are intellectual. Yes, I think that’s why you’re seeing the big shifts away from organized religion. What is it going to take to wake you up?

    August 17, 2010
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  2. said:

    My wife attended the Southern Baptists and I attended a Church of God but before we married, we discussed this issue, among other important factors. I joined the Baptist church (& have never regretted it) for family harmony and it was the best thing for our family. Consequently, with me being enrolled for an M.A. in Seminary, its a non-denomination (for a reason) and today I find myself pastoring (you guessed it) a non-denominational church. It is Bible believing or I would not have taken the position. I immediately fell in love with this church. Guess which church my wife attend now!? (LOL). What concerns me is a flip-flop into a non-Bible believing church which is not Christ-centered. If a church does not affirm there is only one way (e.g., Acts 4:12), then there is no way for me. Great points in this article Peter and spot on the mark.

    August 18, 2010
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  3. said:

    The center of anyone’s life should always be God,…Jesus. Jesus said in John 14,”I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes unto the Father but through Me.” He is it. Heaven is where God is, Jesus is your only ticket to heaven! He shows you by His life the Way. He gives you the only Truth by His Words. And His sacrifice on the cross, He shed His blood for the remission of all our sins, to give us, and keep us in the Christian Life, which is eternal,…not just here and now with all the hangup of the flesh,….but He forgives us, washes us clean, and keeps us in the Christian Life, with Him, for all eternity! God is Love, we are here to give Him our love, with all our hearts, sojls, minds and strength, and to love one another as we would love others to love us! God Bless everyone!

    April 17, 2016
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