Survey Profiles Homosexual Spirituality
Special Report - July 6, 2009
A new survey from the Barna Group reveals some key spiritual differences between adults who identify as heterosexual and those who identify as homosexual. The Barna survey, which was released June 22, is based on interviews with over 9,000 American adults, including 8,548 who identified themselves as heterosexual, and 280 who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (an additional 404 adults said they did not know or did not answer the question). The majority of homosexual adults in the survey were male (60 percent), half were under age 40, and only 19 percent said they were “married.”
According to the findings, heterosexual adults in the survey were more likely than homosexuals to qualify as “born again Christians,” more likely to attend church, read their Bibles and pray to God, and more likely to hold a Biblical view of God. Specifically, 47 percent of heterosexuals qualified as “born again,” compared to 27 percent of homosexuals. Barna defines “born again Christian” as “people who said they had made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that was still important in their life today and who also indicated they believed that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.”
In addition, 71 percent of heterosexuals held an “orthodox/Biblical” view of God, compared to only 43 percent of homosexuals. The Barna survey also found that homosexuals were 50 percent more likely than heterosexuals to be “unchurched” (42 percent versus 28 percent, respectively). Heterosexuals in the survey were twice as likely as homosexuals to attend church, read the Bible and pray to God on a regular basis (31 percent versus 15 percent, respectively). Additionally, 72 percent of heterosexuals in the Barna survey described their faith as “very important” in their lives, compared to 60 percent of homosexuals.
Survey participants were also questioned about their life priorities. According to the findings, “homosexuals assign a lower priority to family and placed a higher emphasis on the importance of their lifestyle,” compared to heterosexual adults. For example, only 30 percent of homosexuals identified family as their top priority, compared to 40 percent of other adults in the survey, and 32 percent of homosexuals rated their lifestyle as a top priority, versus 16 percent of other adults.
The Barna survey did find a few similarities in the spiritual beliefs of heterosexuals and homosexuals, such as “small minority of people in both groups [who] believe that Satan is real,” and “similar numbers” of people from both groups who believe people can earn their way to Heaven by being “good.”
“The data indicate that millions of gay people are interested in faith but not in the local church and do not appear to be focused on the traditional tools and traditions that represent the comfort zone of most churched Christians,” said George Barna in a press release on the survey. “Gay adults clearly have a different way of interpreting the Bible on a number of central theological matters, such as perspectives about God. Homosexuals appreciate their faith but they do not prioritize it, and they tend to consider faith to be individual and private rather than communal.”
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