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Black to the Faith

A few weeks ago the Barna Group released a report on the spiritual shift that's occurred among Hispanic Americans in the last 15 years. This week the focus turned to African-Americans, who remain the most faith-oriented ethnic group in the United States.

In response to nine statements regarding various faith fundamentals, blacks scored the highest among the four predominant groups in all but one—which was also the lone question for which they answered similarly to the national average. A whopping 85 percent—22 percent higher than white respondents—stated that the single most important purpose in life is to "love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul."

African-Americans were the leading group to believe in the Bible's inerrancy, with 66 percent agreeing that it is completely accurate in all its teaching (20 percent higher than whites). Despite this, however, blacks also led the way in claiming that Jesus sinned while on earth (54 percent) and that Satan is merely a symbol of evil (46 percent).

When compared to the three other ethnic groups—whites, Hispanics and Asians—blacks proved to be the most likely to engage in church-related activities during the week, including praying and reading the Bible. And according to the Barna study, they are even more spiritually minded today than they were 15 years ago, with most of the spiritual measures the research group uses having increased significantly.

"While the beliefs and behaviors of America's white population have changed little since the early 1990s, the new research underscored that the faith of African-Americans is dynamic, generally moving in a direction that is more aligned with conservative biblical teachings," the report stated. [, 7/27/09]

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