May 12, 2020, by Tony Perkins
Only six percent of adults in this country have what George Barna defines as a “biblical worldview.”
George Barna, who directs the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, asks 51 questions about what people believe and how they live out those beliefs. He asks people things like how they would define success, what is our common purpose, or the ultimate reason for living. “We drill down.” And what he found is that there is no dominant perspective. Regarding success, about one in five said, “living a healthy, productive, and safe life.” Another 22 percent said, “being a good person.” About the same amount answered, “personal happiness and freedom.” Only 21 percent replied that success is “consistent obedience to God.”
These are startling statistics when you consider that roughly 70 percent of Americans identify as Christians, George pointed out. “Related to what they believe about God, we’re at a point where only 51 percent of Americans now have what you might call an orthodox biblical view about God—that is, describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe who is perfect and just and still rules the universe today.” When Barna asked them to agree with more statements—about God’s love, existence, who He is, and His involvement in everyone’s life—only 10 percent of the population lined up on all of them. Suddenly, he said, the six percent figure with a biblical worldview starts to make sense. Only 21 percent line up on the Barna scale—a dismal number that ought to be a wake-up call to every pastor and parent in America.
“It all,” George insists, “comes back to our households. Because, of course, it’s the parents’ job to be develop a worldview in their children. The church is there to support the parents in doing that—whether it’s through [children’s ministry] or how they prepare parents to do that task through teaching in the church… The most significant thing is what we do with our children… Really, it’s those early years in life that are so critical.” Believe it or not, he went on, a person’s worldview starts developing at 15 to 18 months of age—and it’s almost completely developed by age 13. That’s not a lot of time, and we—as parents and grandparents—aren’t the only influencers. The media, friends, teachers, and public officials all contribute to the shaping of young minds in their thinking about right and wrong, purpose, God, and life.
It goes back to what Scripture tells us: if we teach our children when they’re young, they’ll return to it. But they’re not going to return to that which they don’t know. That’s why it’s extremely critical that parents take the leading role—even in pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary school—in teaching them a biblical worldview and helping them integrate faith with the world around them.
“When we talk with parents, we find that less than five percent of parents of kids under 13 have a biblical worldview. They can’t get what they don’t have. So we’ve got to change our plan if we want a different outcome.” And for the sake of this generation—the sooner, the better.
~ D. Norris