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60% of adults under 40 say Jesus isn’t only way to salvation; equal to Buddha, Muhammad

Survey shows pluralistic worldview expanding rapidly among American Christians

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Unsplash/Paul Zoetemeijer

More than 60% of born again Christians in America between the ages of 18 and 39 believe that Buddha, Muhammad and Jesus are all valid paths to salvation and over 30% say they either believe that Jesus sinned just like other people when He lived on Earth or aren’t sure, according to a new study.

There’s a “striking decline” in evangelical religious beliefs and practices over the last 10 years, as the number of self-proclaimed believers to hold these beliefs has increased by nearly 25%, says Probe Ministries in a statement announcing the results of its Religious Views & Practices Survey.

The study, which interviewed 3,100 Americans ages 18 to 55 in 2020 and looked at various other previous studies, saw a drop in “basic biblical worldview” — God’s attributes, the accuracy of the Bible, salvation and Jesus being sinless — from 47% in 2010 to 25% in 2020 among born again Christians.

The drop in the “expanded biblical worldview” — beliefs about Satan and morals being objective — went from 32% in 2010 to 16% in 2020.

“So, the percentage of Born Again Christians with a biblical worldview (of either type) has been cut in half over the last decade,” says the study, which compared the 18–29 age group from 2010 with the same age group 10 years later, now 30–39. “This result is a startling degradation in worldview beliefs of Born Again Christians over just 10 years.”

This means, even born-again Christians “can have a false view of Jesus Christ and embrace a pluralistic worldview,” Kerby Anderson, president of Probe Ministries, said. “Pastors and church leaders just can’t assume any longer that the members of their church or Christian organization have a biblical worldview.”

There’s an even greater drop off among the general population, the study found. For the basic biblical worldview, there’s a drop off from 13% to 6%. For the expanded biblical worldview, the decline is from 9% to just over 3%.

Anderson attributed the change to the continual and growing influence of media.

“These disturbing trends are, yes, due to pastors not consistently teaching biblical theory. But they can also be attributed to young Christians who are not paying attention, who are focused — nearly exclusively, it seems — on their phones, social media and other content they deem more compelling,” he said.

The study suggests, Anderson said, that “we have to continue to explain the cost of salvation ... that there is no way to salvation, other than through the sacrificial and atoning death of a sinless Christ. That no one can come to the Father except through the Son, but also that anyone may come through Him.”

An article about the study’s findings on the Probe Ministries website notes that in the Roman Empire in AD 60, biblical worldview Christians accounted for less than 1% of the population. “Three hundred years later, virtually the entire empire was at least nominally Christian.”

“If we will commit ourselves to ‘proclaiming the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light,’ God will bring revival to our land,” it adds.

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