GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dr. George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University are urging churches to step up to the plate and work to “rebuild the biblical worldview” in America as the country is in the midst of a battle that transcends politics but is rather rooted in the spiritual realm.
“Most Americans are oblivious to this, the real civil war ravaging America,” Barna said in a statement. “Our nation is steadily moving toward the elimination of the biblical worldview as the cornerstone of our society.”
Barna made the comments as the conclusion to the Cultural Research Center’s “American Worldview Inventory” study, which uncovered numerous concerns this year both regarding the general spiritual state of the nation and the beliefs of those who profess to be Christians.
As previously reported, the Center’s 11-part study found that 69% of those surveyed believe that man is “basically good.” Those who identified as Christian did not fair much better, as 70% of Evangelicals and Pentecostals, and 75% of mainline Protestants, agreed with the sentiment.
The Bible contrarily teaches that all men are born with a sin nature, are intrinsically depraved, and are in need of the Savior to save them from themselves.
“Americans do not think of themselves as inherently sinful,” the Center laments. “American adults are convinced of the innate goodness of humanity.”
“Conflict and separation between people will continue to haunt civilization until it acknowledges its need for, dependence upon, and acceptance of God as the only power that can heal the effects of our sinful nature, through the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” it warns.
Researchers also found that many Americans reject moral absolutes, including some who claim to be Christians. A majority look within themselves or to family and friends rather than to the Bible when making moral decisions.
Of all Americans surveyed in general, 58% agreed that “identifying moral truth is up to each individual; there are no moral absolutes that apply to everyone, all the time.” One third, or 32%, disagreed, and one out of ten adults said that they do not know.
“The typical American believes, ‘Truth is what I say it is, and no one can tell me otherwise,” the Center mourns. “Americans believe that right and wrong can only be discerned by each individual, based upon their feelings and circumstances; and that what is right for one person might be wrong for another but each must have the freedom to make those choices without external judgment.”
“Unless Americans return to accepting the Bible as a valid and consistent source of truth, and the authoritative guide for ethical and moral decision-making, our nation is doomed to wallow in a sea of moral uncertainty and inconsistency,” it urges.
The mindset that truth is up the individual also applies to Americans’ views on life and family. When presented with the statement “human life is sacred,” only 39% of participants agreed. The issue of abortion was also broached, with 37% agreeing that the Bible is ambiguous on abortion, while 41% disagreed. 22% said they did not know.
“Combining the 37% who say the Bible is ambiguous regarding abortion with the nearly one-quarter of adults who admit they do not know (22%) results in six out of ten adults for whom the Bible is not the arbiter of appropriate action on that hotly-contested issue,” the Center explained. “In raw numbers, that amounts to roughly 150 million adults who would not seek guidance from the Bible regarding abortion.”
“Meanwhile, family itself is being redefined, as a large majority of Americans — including those attending Christian churches — state that marriage can be between any two (or more) human beings, regardless of their gender,” the Center also notes.
“Further, a large and rapidly growing number of adults believe that gender is not determined by God but is a personal decision to be left up to the individual and their loved ones.”
The Center identifies the problem of abandoning the Bible as the source of truth as undoubtedly spilling over into all other aspects of life, including one’s views on war, the death penalty, policing, criminal sentencing, the rule of law, the importance and value of children, parenting obligations, and ad infinitum.
In addition to these statistics, 63% of those surveyed agreed with the statement “Having faith matters more than which faith you have,” and 68% of those who professed to be Christian affirmed the notion. Of those, 56% of Evangelicals agreed with the statement, as well as 62% of Pentecostals. 67% of those who attend mainline Protestant houses of worship agreed, as did 77% of Catholics.
48% of respondents said that they believe if a person is “generally good” and “does enough good things for others” they will go to Heaven. Only 35% disagreed. Again, 52% of those who identified themselves as Christian agreed with the statement.
Most Americans also do not view God and obedience to His word as having relation to their purpose or defining success in life.
“While it might seem that maintaining the biblical point of view on both success and purpose would go hand in hand, the survey found otherwise,” the Center outlines. “Overall, just 7% of adults believed both that the common purpose of humanity is to know, love and serve God and that the best indicator of success is consistent obedience to God.”
Barna and the Cultural Research Center believe that the Church has much work to do in restoring the biblical foundations of society that are increasingly being lost. This begins in the family unit and expands outward to every aspect of American life.
“That’s a monumental but doable challenge. How can it be done?” he asks. “Churches must help parents to understand that their highest priority in life is to raise devoted, integrated disciples of Christ.”
“In order for them to do that, churches must help parents to develop the tools required to instill biblical thinking and behavioral choices in the minds and hearts of their children,” Barna exhorts. “Adults need to recognize their ability to influence others by modeling what Jesus called for in His disciples: consistently obeying His teaching, loving each other, and producing spiritual fruit in every way possible.”
Those in media and entertainment, education, and government roles must also realize the influence that they have on impressionable lives.
“Government, through its laws and policies, codify and communicate the acceptable national moral code,” Barna explains. “Schools bombard children with life principles that form a cohesive way of understanding and responding to the world. If the moral and behavioral standards and expectations conveyed by media, government and schools stray from biblical principles, it is difficult to counteract that exposure through other experiences and relationships.”
“That burden will fall on the shoulders of parents and churches, who are responsible for crafting those standards in the first place.”