Chris Lieberman, FISM News
A new survey uncovered a worrisome trend for the next generation of the Church in America, finding that only 2% of preteen parents have a biblical worldview, despite the fact that two-thirds identified as Christian. Even after excluding the one-third that did not identify as Christian, the study found that only 4% of professing Christian parents have a biblical worldview.
“Every parent teaches what they know and models what they believe. They can only give what they have, and what they have to give reflects their driving beliefs about life and spirituality,” said George Barna, director of the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University, who conducted the study. “Parents are not the only agents of influence on their children’s worldview, but they remain both a primary influence and a gatekeeper to other influences.”
The survey was part of the American Worldview Inventory, an annual survey conducted by the CRC that analyzes the worldview of various segments of the population. This particular study focused on parents of children under 13 in an attempt to see what ideas are being passed on to the next generation.
“A parent’s primary responsibility is to prepare a child for the life God intends for that child. A crucial element in that nurturing is helping the child develop a biblical worldview—the filter that causes a person to make their choices in harmony with biblical teachings and principles,” said Barna. “Sadly, the research confirms that very few parents even have the worldview development of their children on their radar.”
Interestingly, none of the other six worldviews included in the study broke one percent either. The remaining 94% of parents have a worldview known as syncretism, which the study describes as “a blending of multiple worldviews in which no single life philosophy is dominant, producing a worldview that is diverse and often self-contradictory.”
The study found that parents who identify as a born-again Christian (8%), attend a Protestant denomination (4%), are politically conservative (9%), and are over age 45 (4%) are more likely to hold a biblical worldview than others. Parents who live in southern or western states and those whose household income is between $40,000 and $75,000 also rated higher than their counterparts.
However, the most significant correlations to having a biblical worldview were among parents who attend independent or non-denominational Protestant churches (16%), read the Bible daily (10%), self-identify as “very conservative on theological matters” (10%), and those who consider themselves to be “very conservative on social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage” (10%).
Despite numbers that many Christians would find discouraging, Barna did not find the study a reason to believe that Christianity in America is at an end.
To expect the biblical worldview to disappear in America essentially posits that God has given up on America and that there is not a tribe of devoted followers whom He can rely upon to usher in an era of spiritual renewal. The reality is that culture-changing movements can transform a nation with as little as 2% of the population on-board. Turning around the paucity of commitment to the biblical worldview cannot happen overnight, in the United States, but it can happen.