He is a leading statistician and the author of many books. One of his books, the Seven Faith Tribes, tackles the mystifying problem of national disunity. His suggested solution is to focus on shared values and set aside our specific religious or philosophical distinctives.
What do Casual Christians (67%), Captive (biblical concept of full commitment) Christians (16%), Skeptics (11%), Jews (2%), Mormons (1.5%), Pantheists, (1.5%), and Muslims (1%) have in common? Barna found 20 common values that he believes could form the basis of a new national civic unity.
The questions remain: will skeptics, especially intellectual and scientific skeptics be willing to contaminate themselves by working with religious people and will Muslims stop considering everyone who is not a Muslim their enemy? Christians seem ready to join hands with others but perhaps not with their own fellow Christians. The weak spot in Barna’s supposition is the fact that Christians have a long history of acrimony and suspicion among their own kind. For instance the distance between Roman Catholics and Protestants is often as far as with Hindus or Muslims. Even within the ranks of evangelicals the difference between fundamentalists and liberals is vast. So, can we all get together?
I hope so, don’t you?