Chris Lange, FISM News
Fewer than half of Christians who say they are born-again believers think that Jesus lived a sinless life on Earth.
The shocking revelation came from the findings of The American Worldview Inventory 2023.
The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults was conducted under the supervision of George Barna, the director of research and co-founder of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.
The results showed that, between 2020 and 2023, the share of those who say they believe Jesus did not commit sins during his lifetime on Earth fell from 58% to 44%.
SHIFTING BELIEFS ‘INDEFENSIBLE’
This troubling shift in belief is one of six cited by Barna that he characterized as “indefensible.” The survey results reflect a marked decline in basic understanding of the Gospel and belief in the inerrancy of Scripture.
Included among the troubling trends that appear to coincide with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that church attendance has dropped by 6%.
The report notes that only one in three adults surveyed reported attending a church service weekly, “a decline representing the loss of about 15 million churchgoing adults each week.”
The number of born-again Christians who believe that they have a God-given purpose or calling has fallen by nearly half over the past three years, plunging from 88% pre-pandemic to 46% during the pandemic to the current year.
Another startling discovery is that the share of born-again Christians who say they are committed to practicing their religious faith fell from 85% to a staggering 50% in the span of just three years, something Barna noted is “highly unusual.”
“Most religious beliefs change over the course of generations, not a few years,” the veteran researcher said. “However, we know that major life crises have the capacity to introduce substantial change quickly in the foundations of people’s faith,” he added, referring to the pandemic.
CHRISTIANS INCREASINGLY REJECT INERRANCY OF GOD’S WORD
Another finding underscores the way in which believers have allowed modern secularism to influence their interpretation of Scripture, often rejecting biblical truths to accommodate cultural trends. For instance, those who affirm the biblical teaching that all life is sacred fell from 60% to 48% between 2020 and 2023.
Barna refers to this phenomenon as “syncretism,” an ideology he described as one in which “the worldview that merges otherwise incompatible philosophies of life into a made-to-order worldview that incorporates enough biblical elements to be minimally Christian in nature.”
Barna first sounded the alarm over encroaching syncretism among believers with the release of last year’s American World Inventory. He renewed the warning with this year’s report.
“Syncretism does not rely upon logic or consistency. Over time, many people struggle with the conflicts inherent in their syncretistic belief system, and the strange jumble of behaviors that emerge from those beliefs,” he said. “But for the foreseeable future, it is likely most people will ignore their incompatible philosophies and make do the best they can. They are seeking comfort and security more than spiritual and intellectual consistency.”
This article was partially informed by a Christian Post report.