As many as 1 in 5 evangelicals in the U.S. reject biblical teaching on sex and gender, according to a new study, instead embracing the idea of “gender fluidity.”
The “State of Theology” study, conducted by LifeWay Research and sponsored by the Orlando-based Ligonier Ministries, found that, while 73% of American evangelicals disagree with the notion that “gender identity is a matter of choice,” 22% say they support the assertion.
After surveying more than 3,000 Americans in March, researchers found those who live in the northeastern part of the country are most likely to agree with “gender fluidity” (44%). Likewise, younger Americans — those aged 18 to 34 — are also more likely to support the idea (50%). Older Americans, though, aged between 50 and 64, are least likely to agree (64%).
Americans who live in rural parts of the U.S. are more likely to disagree with “gender fluidity” (56%) than those who live in metropolitan areas (45%).
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “gender identity” as “a person’s internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female.” It defines “gender fluid” as “of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is not fixed.”
How frequently one attends religious services also impacts his or her view of “gender fluidity,” LifeWay Research found.
Americans who attend religious worship services at least once or twice a month are more likely to disagree with the idea that gender identity is a choice (57%), as compared to those who do not attend church (47%).
These findings come on the heels of the release of a study by the Pew Research Center, which found half of American Christians believe casual sex between consenting adults is sometimes or always acceptable.
According to the survey, around 62% of Catholics, 56% of Protestants in the historically black tradition, 54% of mainline Protestants, and 36% of evangelical Protestants agree casual sex between consenting adults is “sometimes” or “always” OK.
A majority of Christians across the board (57%) believe it is sometimes or always acceptable for unmarried adults who are in a committed romantic relationship to have sex.