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January 13, 2004
Every month or so I like to drop by George Barna’s site to read his updates, which are generally published every two weeks or so. In case you are not familiar with Barna Research Group, it “is a full-service marketing research company located in Ventura, California. BRG has been providing information and analysis regarding cultural trends and the Christian Church since 1984.” Essentially he does surveys and polls of the Christian community or of the wider community but with a Christian theme.
In December he wrote about the results of a survey about worldviews. Allow me to quote a portion of the article which can be found in full here.
The research indicated that everyone has a worldview, but relatively few people have a biblical worldview - even among devoutly religious people. The survey discovered that only 9% of born again Christians have such a perspective on life. The numbers were even lower among other religious classifications: Protestants (7%), adults who attend mainline Protestant churches (2%) and Catholics (less than one-half of 1%). The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches (13%), Pentecostal churches (10%) and Baptist churches (8%).
Among the most prevalent alternative worldviews was postmodernism, which seemed to be the dominant perspective among the two youngest generations (i.e., the Busters and Mosaics).
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 stills 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.
It makes you wonder what churches are doing if they are not teaching their people the basics of Christianity. God as all-powerful and all-knowing Creator, Satan’s existence, the Bible’s accuracy…these are not radical new teachings and they are certainly not advanced teachings. They simply form the basis of a basic understanding of the Christian faith!
Of further interest are the results of not having a Biblical worldview. “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.” You can read more about that at Barna’s site.
Now I would like to know what the specific questions are that the researchers asked of people. It is possible that they phrased the questions in such a way that people did not understand. From what I have seen of Barna’s work in the past, though, I suspect this is not the case.
Regardless, the results of this research is shocking. It shows that in many ways these days the church is little different than the world.