A new survey by pollster George Barna finds only 9 percent of born-again Christians hold a biblical worldview.
Barna, who surveyed 2,033 adults in his study, found only 4 percent of the general population have a biblical worldview and suggests many of the nation’s moral and spiritual challenges are directly attributable to this fact.
“If Jesus Christ came to this planet as a model of how we ought to live, then our goal should be to act like Jesus,” said Barna. “Sadly, few people consistently demonstrate the love, obedience and priorities of Jesus. The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus. Behavior stems from what we think – our attitudes, beliefs, values and opinions. Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to the challenges and opportunities of life. We’re often more concerned with survival amidst chaos than with experiencing truth and significance.”
For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Only 7 percent of Protestants overall maintained a biblical worldview, according to the study. Of adults who attend mainline Protestant churches, only 2 percent shared those values. Among Catholics, less than one-half of 1 percent had a biblical worldview. The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches, with 13 percent, Pentecostal churches, with 10 percent, and Baptist churches with 8 percent.
Among the most prevalent alternative worldviews was postmodernism, which seemed to be the dominant perspective among the two youngest generations.
One of the most striking insights from the research was the influence of such a way of thinking upon people’s behavior. Adults with a biblical worldview possessed radically different views on morality, held divergent religious beliefs and demonstrated vastly different lifestyle choices.
People’s views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by their worldview.
Upon comparing the perspectives of those who have a biblical worldview with those who do not, the former group were 31 times less likely to accept cohabitation; 18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness; 15 times less likely to condone homosexual sex; 12 times less likely to accept profanity; and 11 times less likely to describe adultery as morally acceptable.
In addition, less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39 percent of other adults), and a similarly miniscule proportion endorsed abortion (compared to 46 percent of adults who lack a biblical worldview).
Among the more intriguing lifestyle differences were the lesser propensity for those with a biblical worldview to gamble (they were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets); to get drunk (three times less likely); and to view pornography (two times less common). They were also twice as likely to have discussed spiritual matters with other people in the past month and twice as likely to have fasted for religious reasons during the preceding month. While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a worldview had done so.
The Barna Research Group, Ltd. is an independent marketing research company located in Southern California. Since 1984, it has been studying cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.