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.”