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Chicago ranks low among ‘most bible-minded’ cities

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 11:12 a.m. CST

Just how religious is Chicagoland? It ranks fairly low on the nation's "Most Bible-Minded Cities" list, placing 76th out of 96 metro areas ranked.

Locals are likelier to say they don't believe in God, yet residents are just as likely as the national average to have attended church and they're more likely to have donated to one.

"To some extent, Chicagoans tend to be more skeptical," but "this should not be taken to mean Chicago is anti-religion," according to the faith profile of Chicago developed by Barna Group, which conducted 42,855 interviews with U.S. adults nationwide over seven years to come up with these findings and other religion data for 96 communities.

Young adults in Chicagoland are 1.5 times likelier than average to be practicing Christians, according to Barna Group, which adds that young, single Christians are a big-city trend nationally. Catholicism plays a big role locally, with the percent of white practicing Catholics nearly double the national average, according to Barna.

Topping the "Most-Bible Minded Cities" list is No. 1 Knoxville, Tenn., followed by No. 2 Shreveport, La. More than half of surveyed adults in those cities say they normally read the Bible at least weekly and strongly believe its principles are accurate.

The northwestern Louisiana city also ranks dead last on "The Most Post-Christian Cities" list, while Chicago ranks 27th. Greater Albany, N.Y., ranks first. Barna considers someone "Post-Christian" if they don't believe in God, they don't consider faith important in their lives and they haven't prayed in the last year.

It likely won't come as a surprise that Chicagoland Christians' political ideology skews more liberal than in many communities, "though a majority hold to a moderate view," according to Barna Group.

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