By Jason Jones —
A new national survey about the worldview of Americans shows that although seven out of ten consider themselves to be Christian, just 6% actually possess a biblical worldview.
The groundbreaking inaugural American Worldview Inventory 2020 was conducted by veteran researcher George Barna of the recently launched Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. A pioneer in the field of worldview research, Barna called it the “most sophisticated survey of worldview ever conducted in the United States.”
Key findings from the survey:
Only one-fifth of those attending evangelical Protestant churches (21%) have a biblical worldview, as compared to one-sixth of those attending charismatic or Pentecostal churches (16%). The study finds even smaller proportions in mainline Protestant (8%) or Catholic (1%) churches.
The number of American adults holding a Biblical worldview has declined by 50% over the past quarter century.
Regarding the next generation, the numbers are even more startling. A mere 2% of those 18 to 29 years old possess a biblical worldview.
“The fact that fewer than one out of five born-again adults hold an actual biblical worldview highlights the extensive decline of core Christian principles in America,” Barna says.
Among the differentiating factors between the new study and previous research, he claims, is the measurement of action.
“In the American Worldview Inventory, we measure not just beliefs, but also the application of those beliefs —our behavior — because people do what they believe. If you truly believe something, you integrate into how you live, and your lifestyle reflects those beliefs. As a result, our research always balances examining both what we believe to be true with how we translate such beliefs into action.”
“Why is it dangerous that so few Americans have a biblical worldview?” asked Len Munsil, ACU President.
“We see it now with our response to the COVID19 pandemic. Unlike past national crises – including the Great Depression and World Wars – when Americans responded with charity, prayer and hope, today we are seeing widespread hoarding, panic and hopelessness.”
“A biblical worldview says ‘love your neighbor’ and brings hope, joy, faith and prayer to any trial or any crisis,” Munsil said. “When a large percentage of Americans no longer think biblically, the societal response is completely different.”
Intentionally developing and carefully measuring worldview is not merely an academic exercise, however, as ACU Political Science Professor and CRC Executive Director Dr. Tracy Munsil is careful to point out.
“Unless we experience a steady increase in people actually reflecting a biblical worldview in their lives, America’s future is more likely to resemble that of nations characterized by moral and behavioral chaos,” she warns. “Alternative perspectives such as postmodern, Marxism, and secular humanism drive American thinking and lifestyles these days. The cause is our worldview.”
The time for change, she says, is now.
“It’s imperative that we establish a full throttle effort to restore knowledge, acceptance, and application of biblical truth. It took roughly half a century for America to lose its Christian moorings, and it will take at least that long to restore them. And, the longer we wait, the harder it will be to successfully reintroduce biblical truth to an increasingly doubtful and even hostile population.”