Why Change Faiths, Or Lose It Entirely?

Has your faith changed? Do you even have it anymore? Do you still feel some attraction toward spirituality, but don’t believe what you thought you believed when you were younger? Changes in faith can be difficult to talk about, but they’re clearly not uncommon.

People change, and they often have questions whose answers change as they grow through life from beginning to middle to end. Some people lose any belief in God they may have had, and in our pluralistic society, this is not to be condemned; but those of us who are believers should question why some people feel they’ve been hurt or not served well by “the institutional church.”

As we heard in Father Manny’s sermon today, if we are invited to a banquet, we should sit at the lowest place so that we might be invited by the host to a place of greater honor.. and if we give a banquet, we should offer it to the poor, the friendless, the sick, the crippled, and “the least of these” in society. We’re called to invite all, welcome all, honor all… and not be downcast if the invitation is not accepted and the welcome refused, or the honor rejected.

We simply continue to invite, welcome, honor… and offer community and fellowship to all.

The recent story of author Anne Rice’s public journey away from organized religion while remaining a believer in Christ and His ministry to the poor, the sick, and the friendless has been all over the Internet – but Barna Research shows that Anne Rice is one among many Americans who on a similar spiritual path.

The Barna Group – Do Americans Change Faiths?

When author Anne Rice recently “quit Christianity” on her Facebook page, she lit up the blogosphere and sparked interest among media. Though the novelist announced that this time she was quitting “in the name of Christ,” her previous journey away from – and back to – the Christian faith had been well chronicled.

Just how common is this type of experience for Americans? How many Americans change faiths? A multi-year study conducted by the Barna Group explores the percentage of Americans who report shifting to a different faith or significantly changing their faith views during their life.

Changing Faith
Anne Rice is not alone. She shares a spiritual profile with nearly 60 million other adults nationwide. In the Barna study, the matter of faith switching was explored in several ways. First, respondents identified their childhood faith, if any, and then were asked to list their current faith allegiance. A comparison of the two answers showed that nearly one-quarter of adults (23%) had moved from one faith or faith tradition to another. This definition of faith change included those who switched from Catholic to Protestant and vice versa, but did not include those who changed from one Protestant denomination to another within the Protestant tradition. Overall, an additional 12% of adults had shifted affiliations but had not altered their Protestant orientation.

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