Most Christians don’t think much, or often, about mercy.

Researchers at the evangelical research company Barna has some new research out that might explain something that something about the terrible reputation of American Christians today:

  • Nearly 50% of practicing Chrsitians in the US say that mercy doesn’t influence how they think or act–or else they haven’t even considered whether it does
  • Christians  are virtually indistinguishable from non-Christians in terms of their attitudes about mercy and whether they act mercifully

In some ways, this research is a relief to me–it means that what I’ve been looking for in American Christians isn’t there, not that I’ve just missed it.

At the same time, of course, it’s deeply disturbing, especially because Barna isn’t focusing on people who merely self-identify as Christian; the research group focuses on those who are active in their faith. That means that they are engaging in faith activities like going to church but not learning about mercy there.

Kazimirowski Eugeniusz, Divine Mercy, 1934.jpg

Above, Eugene Kazimierowski‘s painting of Divine Mercy, under the direction of Saint Faustina Kawalska, a Polish saint who died in the 1930s. 

Or maybe it’s worse. Maybe they are going to church and learning about mercy–how to deny it to refugees or victims of sexual violence.


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