Americans losing grip on most basic tenets of Christian faith: survey

Christian higher education
The Barna Group, in partnership with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), surveyed both parents of current ACSI students and prospective students to uncover what parents want out of a Christian college education. |

As part of an ongoing release of research about the worldviews of Americans, new data show that just over half hold a biblically-informed view of God, a 22% drop from 30 years ago.

Longtime researcher George Barna, whose work is now based at the recently-founded Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, released another installment in his findings that reveal the erosion of the Judeo-Christian worldview in the United States. The new report shows that only 51% of Americans consider God to be "all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules the world today.” In 1991, 73% of Americans believed that to be true.

The latest research from the 12-part American Worldview Inventory also documents that 44% of survey respondents agreed with the idea that when Jesus was on the Earth, in the flesh, He was both fully divine and fully human and therefore committed sins like any other person. Only 41% held the biblical perspective that Christ lived a sinless life and was both fully man and fully God.

"Over half of all adults—52%—contend that 'the Holy Spirit is not a living entity, but merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity,'" according to the survey and that "most shockingly, most Americans—56%—believe that 'Satan is not merely a symbol of evil but is a real spiritual being and influences human lives.'”

Nearly half of those surveyed who claim to believe in a God who is an influential spiritual being are not fully confident that He even exists.

“The spiritual noise in our culture over the last few decades has confused and misled hundreds of millions of people," Barna said in a statement to The Christian Post. "The message to churches, Christian leaders, and Christian educators is clear: we can no longer assume that people have a solid grasp of even the most basic biblical principles."

Whereas 30 years ago, people spent time thinking and learning about God, today culture has become increasingly self-focused, Barna noted.

"We've transitioned from a people who upheld the existence of absolute moral truth to a nation that rejects moral absolutes. The result has been a seminal shift in our collective focus, from other to self, and from absolute truths to conditional truths. That helps to explain why the ‘doesn’t/don’t know/don’t care’ population, regarding the existence of God, has mushroomed from 8 percent to 32 percent in just 30 years," he said.

"That’s one-third of the nation’s adults who have chosen to dismiss traditional teachings about God, the importance of personally determining whether a powerful, holy, Creator God exists, and the implications of their conclusion for their present and future."

The release of the research was going to coincide with the launch of the Cultural Research Center at ACU in Glendale, Arizona, last month but the center's formal event had to be postponed until the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalterFollow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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