In doing my research, I did not do third-party research into the Barna Group. That was a mistake. Therefore, I overlooked a very important fact: the Barna Group itself is an “evangelical” organization. The Wikipedia entry of its founder, George Barna, describes the group’s position as follows:
The Barna Group conducts opinion polls, which are generally interpreted from an evangelical perspective, and often cited within evangelical circles. His research has revealed "a radical gap between what we heard Christians professing they believed and the values and the lifestyle that grew out of the values.” [Emphasis in original]
That is supposed to be favorable. Indeed, the entire entry is written to be sympathetic toward Barna, and yet its content is damning. It describes someone who targets children for proselytization due to their “spiritual vulnerability”, and who rejects anyone whose views of Christianity do not align with his own views (he has even penned a book entitled Pagan Christianity to describe such individuals).
I was wrong in ascribing legitimacy to the Barna Group; it is, instead, a prime example of the fundamental propaganda program blurring the lines between extremist and mainstream Christianity. The Barna Group is not attempting to dispel the illusion that fundamentalist Christians are more numerous than their vocal activism would suggest; instead, it is conducting a test of ideological purity. Nonetheless, the results of its survey confirm that the beliefs it represents appear to be a diminishing social factor in the United States.
TAGS: 2008 Presidential Election, Christianity, Fundamentalist Christians, Evangelical Christians, Barna Group Survey