There’s been a lot of attention on the changing views of young Christians in recent years, but according to a new Barna survey, the next generation shares at least one common opinion with their parents: They are opposed to abortion.
The survey, which looked at current opinions about abortion from Americans in all age groups, found that born-again Christians under the age of 45 were not substantially different from older Christians. Christians between the ages of 18 and 25 were actually more likely to support strong views about the subject than older adults.
Among the rest of Americans, abortion continues to be a dividing issue and one that is generally informed by a person’s faith. Among evangelical Christians, 78 percent believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Similarly, 72 percent of atheists and agnostics believe in keeping abortion legal. These groups were the most likely to express unyielding resistance or support for the practice.
However, many Americans seem to be drifting to more moderate opinions on the subject. Some 57 percent of those polled expressed mildly supportive or unsupportive opinions, and 9 percent said they were “not sure” how they felt. The numbers of Americans with moderate or unsure opinions have increased since previous surveys in the 1990s and early 2000s.
“The data suggest that among some Americans, though certainly not all, the issue has become less polarizing,” said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group. “Also, the standard debate may seem toned down as both sides of the ideological spectrum have tried to find common objectives—such as limiting the number of abortions and pursuing adoption reform—although some have questioned how serious either contingent really is about these goals.” [barna.org, 6/14/10]