Well-known social science researcher George Barna introduced brand-new research about Americans’ worldview on the American Pastors Network’s (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net) popular, live, daily radio program “Stand in the Gap Today” last week.
APN President and “Stand in the Gap Today” host Sam Rohrer said the program was aptly named “The True Deficit: Americans with a Biblical Worldview.”
“In recent days, many more than before have become deeply concerned about the country’s national debt, as the government is set to spend $2 trillion to provide needed aid to Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic,” Rohrer said. “Yet I would suggest that before budget deficits, before deep political infightings and before the moral crumblings of our culture, there is first a deficit in our relationship with God—a deficit of spiritual understanding and a deficit of how to view life and living from God’s perspective. This is the root of our national and cultural problems, the root of our pandering politicians and salivating citizens who only wish for more and bigger government, the root of our complacent churches and passive pulpits.”
Throughout the program, Rohrer and Barna discussed the key findings of “The American Worldview Inventory,” which Barna led in his role at the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University (ACU). The research is the first wave of what will be an annual survey. The assessment is based on 51 worldview questions, examining both beliefs and behavior, which were provided to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults.
Barna has called the research the “most sophisticated nationwide survey of worldview conducted in the United States.” Results include the following:
- Although 7 out of 10 Americans consider themselves to be Christian, just 6% actually possess a biblical worldview.
- Just 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 youngest adult 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 a biblical worldview highlights the extensive decline of core Christian principles in America,” Barna said.
Among the differentiating factors between the new study and previous research, he noted, is the more robust 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,” Barna added. “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.”
Going forward, Barna will be a regular monthly guest on “Stand in the Gap Today.” He has filled executive roles in politics, marketing, advertising, media development, research and ministry. He founded the Barna Research Group in 1984 (now The Barna Group) and helped it become a leading marketing research firm focused on the intersection of faith and culture before selling it in 2009. He has written more than 50 books and his work is frequently cited as an authoritative source by the media.