Pollster: American Christians Mostly 'Casual'

Christian Pollster George Barna has identified what he calls "Seven Faith Tribes," in America. He claims that the future of the country depends on what happens within and between these "tribes." They include Jews, skeptics, Muslims, Mormons, Pantheists —and "captive" and "casual" Christians.

"Captive" (can be read: committed) Christians only make up 16 percent of U.S. adults while so-called "Casual Christians" make up 66 percent. Barna describes the two "tribes" as follows: "The lives of Captive Christians are defined by their faith; their worldview is built around their core spiritual beliefs and resultant values. Casual Christians are defined by the desire to please God, family, and other people while extracting as much enjoyment and comfort from the world as possible.

"The big difference between these two tribes is how they define a successful life," says Barna. "For Captives, success is obedience to God, as demonstrated by consistently serving Christ and carrying out His commands and principles. For Casuals, success is balancing everything just right so that they are able to maximize their opportunities and joys in life without undermining their perceived relationship with God and others. Stated differently, Casuals are about moderation in all things while Captives are about extreme devotion to their God regardless of the worldly consequences."

Although the two "Christian" categories make up about 82 percent of the adult population in the U.S., they do not automatically set the course of the culture by their numbers. Barna points out that a small minority drove the sexual revolution in the sixties; that 3 percent of the population drives the "gay rights" movement and "equal rights for blacks was accomplished by a tiny minority." "If a catalyst were added to [the Casuals] to deepen this tribe`s integration of faith and lifestyle...unprecedented changes could occur."

Barna has managed to describe what Bible believers have always sensed: most "Christians" just don`t "get it." Our churches are filled with pew-warmers, who are there to look good and pay their weekly respects to God. But guess who wins when the World Series is scheduled on Sunday?

For some, the whole gospel in Chick tracts has been the "catalyst" that Barna is looking for. Chick Publications has been committed for 40 years to giving the whole truth, not just a feel-good gospel with no judgment of eternal fire. In the book of Revelation, Jesus said the lukewarm church was nauseating to Him.

Chick tracts and books work for both the avowed "unbeliever" and the CINO (Christian In Name Only). Many have written us that the picture in This Was Your Life of the angel dropping the condemned man over the cliff into hell stayed with them, sometimes for years, before they surrendered to Christ. Fear of hell was a major factor in their salvation.

But the "Casuals" do not often encounter the idea of hell in their churches. It`s not very "seeker friendly" to preach about hell. Or maybe their Bible versions change the word hell to death, sheol or hades. But when a "Christian" realizes that hell is real, he has to decide between casual and committed. Chick tracts work to counter the "easy believeism" of the Casuals as well as alerting the sinner to his destiny in hell.

Chick tracts have led many to Christ and turned many others into concerned and committed Bible believers. Have you been "captured" by Christ or are you only a lukewarm, "casual" Christian?

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