American churches are learning what it means to exist in a “post-Christian” era, according to research firm the Barna Group.
With the proportion of self-described Christians in America on the decline as well as waning proportions of people who say they pray, attend church and exhibit other faithful expressions, it’s a precarious and uncertain time for people of faith who have, in the past, enjoyed a culture that reveres, respects or at least tolerates biblical sentiments.
So, with these changes afoot, the Barna Group has assembled a list of the nation’s most “post-Christian” cities based on the collective spiritual beliefs of the people who reside in each location. Here’s how the research firm explained the rankings: “To qualify as ‘post-Christian’ individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria … which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice.”
Additionally, “highly post-Christian” people would need to meet 13 or more criteria. Those factors include not believing in God, disagreeing that faith is important in their lives, identifying as atheists, believing the Bible is inaccurate, believing Jesus committed sins and having not read the Bible over the past week, among other factors.
Then, these individual designations were tallied and Barna was able to find the most “post-Christian” cities in the nation.
The one at the top of the list? Portland-Auburn, Maine, where 57 percent of the residents there met the aforementioned benchmarks. See the others below:
In the end, New York State saw four of its cities fall into the top 10, with New York, New York coming in at seven (51 percent). You can find an expanded list of the top 100 here.