Americans may still consider their country to be a Christian nation, but in some parts of the U.S., the Gospel message largely falls on ears that do not want to hear it. The Barna Group pollsters call these urban areas “post-Christian cities.”
Barna recently conducted a study judging people’s complete lack of Christian identity based on their belief in God, their involvement in a church, their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, their belief in Jesus as God’s only Son, and whether or not they considered themselves a “born again” Christian. Their aim was to create a more accurate picture of Christianity in America as opposed to simply asking people to make a mark in a “Christian” checkbox.
What they found is disturbing for those who long for America to remain a veritable “city upon a hill” on the world stage, but for others, it may point to the regions of the U.S. where Gospel-preaching pastors and missionaries are most needed. Here are the 10 most “post-Christian” metropolises in America as determined by Barna:
1. Portland-Auburn, Maine — 57% post-Christian
With over half a million people in its greater metropolitan area, Portland is the largest city in Maine and boasts beautiful, historic churches. But according to Sperling’s Best Places, only 29% of people in the metro area even affiliate themselves with a religion.
2. Boston, Mass.-Manchester, N.H. — 56% post-Christian
Encompassing one of America’s most historic big cities, the Boston metro area has over 4.7 million people. With its Catholic stronghold, about 63% of residents consider themselves religious, according to Sperling’s Best Places, but Barna says a significant number of them don’t see themselves as devout.
3. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. — 54% post-Christian
This upstate New York area has 881,000 people, according to Data USA. 42% of people in the metro area adhere to a religion, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives.
4. Providence, R.I.-New Bedford, Mass. — 53% post-Christian
Like Boston, Providence is one of the oldest big cities in America. Its metropolitan area, which extends into Massachusetts, has 1.6 million people, but Sperling’s Best Places reports that Providence’s percentage of religious adherents is lower than that of Boston’s at 54%.
5. Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y. — 53% post-Christian
With an estimated population of just 45,000, Burlington has the designation of being the least populous biggest city in any state, even beaten by Wyoming’s biggest city of Cheyenne. Sperling’s Best Places says just 40% of people in Burlington call themselves religious.
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