Survey: Less Than 1 Percent of Young Adults Hold Biblical Worldview

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By Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter
March 10, 2009|12:19 pm

Less than one percent of the youngest adult generation in America has a biblical worldview, found a new study examining the changes in worldview among Christians and the overall U.S. population.

The Mosaic generation, those between the ages of 18 and 23, “rarely” have a biblical worldview as defined by The Barna Group. The research data found that less than one-half of one percent of Mosaics have a biblical worldview.

A biblical worldview, as defined by the Barna study, is believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

Only if someone held all the above beliefs did the research consider the person as having a biblical worldview.

George Barna, who directed the research, commented on the “troubling” generational pattern that suggests “parents are not focused on guiding their children to have a biblical worldview.”

“One of the challenges for parents, though, is that you cannot give what you do not have, and most parents do not possess such a perspective on life,” he noted.

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The research shows that only nine percent of all American adults have a biblical worldview, which although significantly higher than that of the Mosaic generation is still a small proportion of the total population.

Among “born again Christians,” the study found that they are twice as likely as the average adult to have a biblical worldview. However, that still amounted to no more than about one out of five (19 percent) born again Christians, a small minority, the study pointed out.

A born again Christian is defined by Barna as those who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their life today and that they are sure they will go to Heaven after they die only because they confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior.

Some of the problems American adults and born again Christians have with the biblical worldview definition include believing that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances.

Only one third of all adults (34 percent) hold this worldview, and while more born again adults believe in absolute moral truth, still less than the majority possess this outlook (46 percent).

Another belief that American adults struggle with is the view that Satan is a real force. Only slightly more than a quarter of adults (27 percent) believe Satan is real, and less than half of born again adults (40 percent) have this worldview.

Also, 28 percent of all adults and 47 percent of born again Christians believe it is impossible for someone to earn their way to Heaven through good behavior.

The general American public and the born again population differ greatly when it comes to the belief that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Forty percent of adults hold this belief, while 62 percent of born again Christians are convinced that Jesus was sinless.

George Barna commented, “There are a several troubling patterns to take notice. First, although most Americans consider themselves to be Christian and say they know the content of the Bible, less than one out of ten Americans demonstrate such knowledge through their action.”

He also noted that the study raises questions on how effective of a job Christian churches, schools and parachurch ministries are doing in Christian education.

“Finally, even though a central element of being a Christian is to embrace basic biblical principles and incorporate them into one’s worldview, there has been no change in the percentage of adults or even born again adults in the past 13 years regarding the possession of a biblical worldview,” said the founder of The Barna Group.

Compared to previous similar Barna studies, the results for this year show that the overall American worldview has remained largely unchanged for more than a decade.

In 1995, for instance, seven percent of American adults had a biblical worldview, compared to the nine percent in 2008.

Even among born again adults the statistic remained the same with 18 percent having a biblical worldview in 1995, 22 percent in 2000, 21 percent in 2005, and 19 percent in 2008.

The report is based on four nationwide telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group, each including between 1,002 to 1,005 adults randomly selected, in the years 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2008. Interviews were conducted among adults in the 28 continental states.

 

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