Dangerously Low Percentage Of Americans Holding To Biblical Worldview – With George Barna: Did you know only 6% of adults in America have a Biblical Worldview? Does having a Biblical Worldview even matter? Is the Bible even true and reliable? Tune in to hear George Barna discuss his latest survey on Biblical Worldview in America as well as helpful action steps.
Air Date: 05/20/2020
Guest: George Barna
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
This is WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us at the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining our conversation where we take a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective on the hot issues of the day.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach.
You know, we always look at that biblical, historical, constitutional perspective on every issue, including these COVID crackdowns, including these unconstitutional orders across the country and we talked about how to correct that course. But it all comes back to having good civics knowledge. It all comes back to having a good biblical worldview and a foundation and knowing right from wrong and what works and what doesn’t work.
And so, if we don’t have good worldview, if we don’t have that good foundation, we’re not going to respond well when a crisis hit. And so, it’s very important for us to take a look at what’s happening in the nation and take a look at the mindset of Americans and where we are on biblical worldview.
And nowhere better to get that information then George Barna, so he’s going to be with us a little bit later in the program to talk about some of the new surveys that are out that he’s been working on. We got to mention the book, ‘U-Turn’ here, because you and Barna did this based on, you know, really restoring that cultural formula that we got away from. And I think if I remember right, you break it down to government, education and the church, all three together, we’re pulling in the same direction. And this data we’re going to look at today shows how we’ve moved away from that.
Yeah, it does show how we moved away. And it’s interesting because one of the things Barna talks so much about and we deal with in book as well on U-Turn is worldviews and that’s becoming a more familiar term. For a lot of folks, it’s kind of an understood term, but for a lot of people, they don’t understand what a worldview is. And a worldview is simply the way you view the world. It’s the ideas. If I can say it’s like sunglasses, everybody puts on a set of sunglasses through which they see everything, it filters it. So, you might have blue sunglasses or red or white or green. That’s a worldview. You see everything through the lens is in front of you.
And hopefully for a Christian, the lens through which they see everything is God’s word. And so, God’s words should be how they define or interpret family or public policy or education or anything else. It should be the lens through which they look.
Yeah, simply a worldview is just how you view the world. So, you’re either as a Christian going to view it from God’s perspective, which is revealed in the Bible or you’re going to view it from man’s perspective, right? And then you can break down all the different possibilities of humanism and secular humanism and Darwinism and right all the different isms and possibilities that there are, but ultimately, it’s just God’s way or not God’s way.
And as Christians, we want to make sure we’re viewing things the way God views it, which is revealed to us through Scripture. And when we say having a biblical worldview, it’s just thinking about this the way that scripture would direct us based on whatever the topic or issue is. The problem is to have a biblical worldview, you generally have to know what the Bible says so you can think biblically about it. And what we know is that most Americans today not that familiar with the Bible anymore.
Only 14% of Christians Read the Bible on a Daily Basis
We’re not familiar because we don’t read it. Statistics show that among Christians, only 14% of Christians read the Bible on a daily basis. If you go back to Matthew 4:4, Jesus said,” Man can’t live by bread alone, he’s got to live by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” If we only ate our physical meals as often as we ate our spiritual meals, we would all have starved to death. But well, most of us would have starve to death by the time.
Yeah, overpopulation would not be talked about ever again on Earth, because most of us would not be here. And, right this is a reality, where even Jesus teaching the disciples to pray, they pray that Father, give us this day our daily bread. Well, part of the thought spiritually of this day, our daily bread is you are connecting with God and you are making that spiritual connection, eating that spiritual meal every single day, that’s daily bread. And so that would include, right your prayer time, your Bible study time and this isn’t a burdensome thing, because the Bible is one of the most instructive, informative guidebooks that you could ever find.
When people are thinking, man, you know, I need to get a book and learn how to do this. And, you know, even I make this joke when I will speak in churches sometimes, that so often people are looking for self-help book and they think, okay, I’m a new father, I’m a new mother, right, I just got married, whatever the case is. I’m a brand new parent. I’m a brand new spouse. What should I do? How do I do it?
And I joke, well, the best thing you could do if you want to be, right, so let’s say for all the guys out there, you want to be the best husband. Here’s my suggestion. Read the Bible and then do what it says. Right? For all the moms. We had Mother’s Day not very long ago. How can you be a great mother? Here’s an idea.
The Best Self-Help Book
Read the Bible and then do what it says. If you’re a boss and you have employees, how can you be a great boss? Well, read the Bible and then do what it says the Bible is the best self-help book there is. It’s not something that was written to just give us a spiritual connection to God. This was something that God revealed, right through people as they’re writing this down.
God revealed truth that we would know how to live life, to both love him and love other people and what it looks like to love God and love people, which is a summation, right of all of Scripture. Love God and love people. How do we do that properly? Well, scripture gives us guidelines of what that looks like.
And so this is something where as Christians, we ought to be constantly every single day, our daily bread, going to the Bible, spending some time in prayer, talking with God, maybe having some quiet time, specifically quiet so we can listen, see if God wants to speak something to us, right? Maybe softly in our hearts, give us some thoughts in our mind, whatever it is, however, God communicates with you. But most Christians just don’t take time. Dad, as you mentioned, only 14% of Christians that even read the Bible on a daily basis.
American Worldview Inventory
And this is one of the things that that George Barna really monitors. Is how well do Christians know the Bible? How well do they apply it to the way they live? Does it affect the way they think? Because it’s very possible to be a very secular minded Christian. It’s very possible to be someone who just because of I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I think the way God wants me to think or I behave or act the way God wants me to think. You can’t make the assumption that because you prayed the sinner’s prayer and go to church that you’re thinking biblically, not at all. You have to know what’s in the book. And that’s what George measures.
So, he has a really an annual kind of American worldview inventory that he does, where he calls across the nation in large polling numbers he calls Christians and ask them just basic questions about the Bible and biblical beliefs. And so, he’s got the latest survey out, where we are this year in America, of biblical worldview. And we’ve got George on to talk about that and see what we can do and need to do as a result of it.
Alright, quick break. George Barna, our special guest. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders.
Crash Course in History and Government
Hey, friends, it is not too late to join us for the crash course in history and government for all those folks that are schooling from home. Now, that could mean a lot of things. Schooling from home could mean that you’ve been homeschooling your kids from the beginning or it could mean you’ve been thrust into homeschooling as a result of the COVID crackdowns or it could mean you don’t even have kids at home, but you’re still schooling because we all are still learning every day, right? So really, this program is available for anyone and it’s not too late to join us. Even though we started on May 4th, we’re doing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon throughout May and you can join at any time and when you join, you will be able to get the recordings of any of the afternoons that you missed.
Remember, this is a live opportunity to learn about history and government to bring those things to life. And we’re going to have special guests every afternoon, people that have been in our “Chasing American Legends” program, people from, I mean, Dr. Alveda King, David Barton, Tim Barton, Brad Stein, all kinds of great folks are going to be joining us, you need to be there as well. Go to patriotacademy.com to sign up today. Patriotacademy.com, it’s not too late and you’ll get recordings of any live afternoons that you missed. Get the crash course in history and government at patriotacademy.com.
“Preferred Christians for Their Rulers”
This is David Barton. Another moment from America’s history. America held his first elections in 1619 and that freedom has now continued for almost four centuries. In fact, as noted by John Jay, America’s first Chief Justice and a founder of the American Bible Society, it was this God given right to choose our own leaders that early set America apart. Jay explained, “The Americans are the first people heaven has favored with the opportunity of choosing the forms of government under which they should live. Since this right to choose was heaven bestowed, then we were to be good stewards of that right.” As Jay reminded us, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers; and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select the preferred Christians for their rulers.”
As this election time approaches, remember to wisely exercise your God given right to vote. For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. Always good to have George Barna with us, George, thanks for some time today, man.
Welcome George Barna
Rick, love being with you, buddy.
Hey, you’re in the middle of a huge, huge project. You guys, of course, I mean best in the business at the surveys and being able to really find out what’s going on in the minds of the American people. In this one, you’re doing on biblical worldview, some shocking findings here, I guess, shocking to those of us that aren’t in this, you’ve been doing this for years, so you saw a lot of this coming. But tell us a little bit about the project and how you’re releasing this on almost a weekly basis as we dive further into the numbers.
Yeah, this was coming out of a Cultural Research Center, this is our first project. So, we say get out of the box, let’s do the research that’s most important of all. And when you look at the nation and what it’s become, where it’s going, how it’s going to get there, it all depends on the worldview of the people in the culture. And so, we thought, you know, nobody else really is studying worldview in America. So, on an annual basis, at the beginning of every year, we’re going to do a big nationwide survey.
Again, evaluating how many people have a biblical worldview, we call it the American Worldview Inventory. And so, we’ve got in this survey 51 questions related to beliefs and behavior. And then we put it all together and come up with an estimate of how many people we think, based on their answers to those 51 questions actually have a biblical worldview
What’s the kind of the size, just give us an idea of the size scope of the survey? Like how many people do you try to reach in order to come to these conclusions?
Nationally Representative Sample
Yeah, because we’re trying to get a nationally representative sample, we conducted some interviews by telephone, some interviews online, depending on how we could get people. We have a sample size of 2,000 people, so it’s bigger than normal. You know, at a 95% confidence interval, we’re talking about data that’s accurate to within 2-3% points of what we’re actually measuring. So, we’ve got a good measure here, of what’s going on and we’re going to keep that going every year.
What would be some of the, not necessarily most shocking, but I guess, most important numbers that you’ve seen so far?
Well, there’s several things that pop out to me. One of those is the fact that if we just looked at the biggest picture, the 40,000 foot view and get a measure of how many adults in America have a biblical worldview, I started measuring this stuff back in the early 90s. And around that time, we had 12% of the population who had a biblical worldview. We were aghast at that point, because that number is so low, one out of every eight adults with a biblical worldview.
Well, fast forward 25 years or so and now here we are in 2020, only 6% of the adults in America have a biblical worldview. So, in the last quarter century, what was already a low proportion has been cut in half. And then secondly, I think one of the most startling things is, if you look at this by age group, if we look at people who are 50 years of age or older, 9% have a biblical worldview.
You looked at the next younger age segment, those in the 30 to 49 age group, it drops almost in half to 5%. You look at the next younger age group, those in the 18 to 29 bracket, it’s cut by more than half just down to 2%. So, we’re obviously, Rick, moving in the wrong direction. And what that says to me is that churches, family, government, schools, if having a biblical worldview matters, we’ve got to change what we’ve been doing because it’s not work.
How Much Does the Culture Impact Us?
Does it matter? How does it impact the culture around us? I mean, I guess if you want to have society reflect biblical values that made the nation great and that’s a whole debate right there, but if you want that, this obviously doesn’t produce that if only 6% have that view that those biblical values are worth living by.
Yeah, great question. And to me, the key answer to that is to recognize that a person’s worldview begins developing at 15 to 18 months of age, almost completely developed by the age of 13. And then in our teens and 20s, we spend our time refining that worldview, because we’re going to be living with it the rest of our life.
And so, during that period of time, we’re applying it in different situations, tinkering with it to get it just right, changing it in some cases. But then, you know, by the time you’re 30, you are who you are, you’re probably going to live the rest of your life with that worldview, we find that not much really changes after the age of 13.
But, you know, so the key for us is to recognize that a worldview is something that everybody has and it’s critical to who we are, who we become and how we live, because it’s the thing that causes us to make the decisions that we make, no matter what kind of decision it is. Our worldview is the compilation of all of our core beliefs and because we do what we believe, we then take those beliefs and convert them into action.
So, our worldview is the thing that’s determining how we live. If we don’t like what America has become as a society, as a culture, the only way really to change that is to change the worldview that caused our country to exhibit those behaviors, to buy into those beliefs, to have that kind of a lifestyle. All of that is the result of the cumulative worldview of the American adult population and younger population. So, if we don’t like what we’ve got, we got to change our worldview first. That’s the only way any changes will become relevant.
If We Keep Going Down the Road We’re Going On
And if we keep going down the road we’re going you know, I thought that was a great quote by Dr. Tracy Munsil who’s executive director of CRC. She said, “Unless we experienced a steady increase in people actually reflecting a biblical worldview in their lives, America’s future is more likely to resemble that of nations characterized by moral and behavioral chaos, alternative perspectives such as postmodern Marxism and secular humanism drive American thinking in lifestyles these days and it causes our worldview.” I mean, that’s a stark contrast if Marxism and secular humanism is driving America’s worldview, it’s going to drive America’s policies and our politics is going to reflect that and our culture is going to reflect that.
Yeah. You know, when we think about what makes a culture what it becomes, there are a lot of, to buy into this notion that there are these seven dimensions of influence that really dictate the nature of our culture. And so, we’re talking about families, government, information and news media, arts and entertainment, business, schools, church, you put those seven dimensions together and they pretty much direct the flow of the culture.
And, so if we want to change where they’re bringing us, well, then we’ve got to put people in positions of influence in the institutions and dimensions of influence who are going to bring us to a different place. And recognize that this doesn’t happen overnight. It can’t change Chairman of Disney and say, oh, wow, our culture is completely different now.
It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of dimensions. And recognize that our culture didn’t get in the mess which it’s in today overnight. And of course, consequently, we’re not going to be able to change it overnight. It’s really a long-term transformational process. It has to be intentional and strategic and it’s got to have God at the center. God, meaning taking His word, His truths, His principles, that he gave to us, our well-being and making sure that we not only understand them and believe them, but we know how to take those and convert them into action.
Why the Culture Is in a Mess
Before I let you go, because I mean, these numbers are always shocking to me, every time we look at them and you realize how few have this worldview, it then becomes very clear why the culture is in the mess it is. But that long-term turnaround, what are some of the basic steps? I know we have very little time to do this. But what are some of the basic steps people need to be thinking about to make this change over the next few years?
Well, number one, we know that only half of Americans even believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Only 4 out of 10 believe that the Bible is true and accurate. And so, we’ve got to start with the Bible itself and kind of have, if you will, a positive PR campaign, to get people to realize no, no, this is truth. I mean, there’s lots of proof that shows us that the Bible is reliable, it’s trustworthy.
People aren’t buying into it, because they don’t think that it contains true, they don’t think that it’s relevant for their life today. And so, we’ve got to change that thinking. Families have to be involved. Parents have to be deeply involved in helping their children to develop a biblical worldview. If they don’t do it, then it falls to schools and churches and government. None of those are doing the job. So, I’d say we got to get it happening in our homes first.
Starts with us. Starts with us. And the time and the focus and then choosing colleges wisely, choosing our education for our kids wisely, I mean, all of those things are factors in that and then of course, on a larger scale the public policy that we implement. But I like the way you said that it’s almost like we have to market that truth. I mean, we’ve got to get out there and give examples and show people once again that the Bible is truth and it actually has all the answers for life. And, you know, that’s really the job of every believer to do that even in our conversations with our friends and family.
Yeah. We live in a culture where the dominant worldview is postmodernism and postmodernism is core. Says that there is no such thing as absolute moral truth. Only you can dictate what’s right or wrong, what’s true or false for your own life. Well, that’s false. And so, the fact that that’s the core belief system in our culture today gives us a sense of how deeply we need to dig to really determine the foundations of people’s thinking because if we do what we believe and we’re believing wrong, we’re going to do wrong. And that’s what we see happening in America today.
Yeah. Amen. How can folks review the study and the things that you’re releasing? What’s the best place to go?
Culturalresearchcenter.com, they can get it there or they could go to Arizonachristian.edu, you know, the university where [inaudible 19:17] with and they can get it from that website as well.
Alright, we’ll do links today at wallbuilderslive.com. George Barna, always good to have you. Brother, look forward to having you back soon.
Thank you, Rick.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hey friends, this Rick Green from WallBuilders Live and I have had so many requests about, what in the world could we be studying at home right now you know I got the kids at home, they’re normally in school? Or if you homeschool, you’re looking for additional material. One-Room Schoolhouse. It is a great new series WallBuilders is putting out where you literally get a tour of the WallBuilders library as Tim Barton and Jonathan Ritchie bring history to life. There’s a couple of resources on this.
You go to YouTube and search for WallBuilders and look for a One-Room Schoolhouse. You can go to our Facebook page and get it right there on Facebook as we do it live each Monday and sometimes additional days from there. And then you can also just go to wallbuilders.com, scroll down to the bottom and we’ll be posting the videos as they come out. This is such a great way to learn and a great way for you to share with others. Gather the family around, watch the One-Room Schoolhouse and learn some great history. It’ll be vitally important to restoring our nation and bringing back these principles that made America great in the first place. Check it out firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. And thanks to George Barna for joining us today as well. That book that we talked about at the beginning of the program, ‘U-Turn’ available at wallbuilders.com today. And you know, David, Tim, I mean, we love looking at this data, we love looking at how we got here. But we also then need to turn around as Tim was saying earlier, look at ourselves. Are we teaching that worldview to our kids and re we studying the Bible ourselves so that we have that worldview?
You know, it’s interesting, this is something has been done for generations in America, understanding biblical worldview. You go back to John Quincy Adams and he actually wrote nine letters to a son to help his son develop a biblical worldview, because at that time, John Quincy Adams was away from his children. He was serving America overseas as Ambassador over in Russia. And he wrote back to his brother who was keeping his kids and said, look, there’s some things they need to be taught. And then he wrote his son and said, look, here’s some things you need to know about the Bible.
And so those letters he wrote about the Bible and how to read it and how to interpret and how to get a biblical worldview out of it, they were so great that we’ve actually taken the reprints of the book and made it an electronic reprint that you can get as an electronic book and read. And I recommend every American regardless of age read it.
But when you do that, here’s a piece of advice I really liked that he gave his son. He said, I’ve always endeavored to read the Bible. This is John Quincy Adams talking to his son, 10 year old son. He said, “I’ve always endeavored to read the Bible with the same spirit and the same attitude of mine which I now recommend to you, that is with the intention and desire that it may contribute to my advance and wisdom and virtue.”
In other words, I don’t read just to get blessed. I read, looking for specific things to apply. And I will tell you that I still to this day try to read the Bible objectively and not interpret on the basis of what I believe. And I’ve had to change a number of things recently.
One quick example. I keep up with a lot of trials and a lot of what happens in the legal world. And there was a very prominent national trial that occurred of a guy accused of murdering his wife and his daughter. And it went through all the process, I’ll listen to, I kept up with the trial, read a lot of what was going on. I believe he was guilty of that and they convicted him, the Jury did and sentenced him to death. And then I read in the Bible where it says, you cannot convict anyone to death unless you’ve had two eyewitnesses to the actual offense.
And in the case of his trial, there were no eyewitnesses. Now, everything, all the circumstantial evidence, all the hearsay, everything really indicated, I think the guy was guilty, but he didn’t have two eyewitnesses. So as much as I thought the death penalty was appropriate, you know, one, biblically, you can’t put this guy to death because there’s not two eyewitnesses.
Well, and this is right where you could even have an interesting theological discussion and say, okay, now eyewitnesses were someone that could confirm this person was there and did that. So, if you need somebody to confirm that guy was there and did that, well, so what if you can show that there was DNA, right? So, number one, there were fingerprints on a weapon, so now, you have two things, right? So, there’s blood on the weapon. Right? Maybe let’s just say it was a knife, right, it wasn’t, let’s say it was. There was a knife and so this specific knife, there are knife wounds in the bodies. His hand print was on the handle, right? But this is where you can have an interesting theological conversation, because the principle from Scripture is that we can’t just arbitrarily throw people in prison without having evidence.
And by the way, let me let me add to that, Tim. Because I believe also having read the Scriptures, something jumped out of me was God said to, with Cain and Abel when Cain killed Abel, He said to Cain, He says Abel’s blood cries to me from the ground. So, Abel’s blood was a witness to God that he had been murdered. And I thought, well, that’s DNA. So, DNA evidence really would be an eye witness.
The Way We Read Scripture
Well, it right. And this is where as we read Scripture, it ought to shape the way we think about situations and issues, which is the point you’re making. And I’m going to go back to something that George Barna said that I think is really pertinent for us right now, where George Barna said that most people’s worldview is shaped by the age of 13 years old, which means right now, for every parent, every grandparent listening, what you need to recognize is that if you don’t start spending time with your kids and grandkids in Scripture, then you should not be surprised that they might not be following God later in life. You should not assume that they’re going to do this on their own. No, no, this is why you’re the parent, this is why you’re the grandparent. We have to help lead them in this so that we can stir up them a love for truth.
And it was George said a lot of people question, well, Is this true? Can we trust this? How do we know? There’s so many great resources that help you know the authenticity, the accuracy, the reliability of Scripture. Those resources are out there readily available. But we have to spend time helping equip our kids and by the age of 13, now, if you’re listening, and your kids are 14 or 15, it doesn’t mean it’s too late. Right? You should still do it with your older kids, too. But we want to be very intentional about helping our kids know what the Bible says and help develop a biblical worldview for our kids.
Dangerously Low Percentage Of Americans Hold A Biblical Worldview – George Barna
Yeah. And then Tim, I would add to that, that if you’re older than 14 or 15, maybe you’re the parent and we ourselves need to know better and dig deeper and have that biblical, constitutional worldview perspective. And so that’s why we do what we do here at WallBuilders, that’s why we have so many materials available for you that wallbuilders.com. You want to watch the One-Room Schoolhouse, it’s an easy way for you to just jump on YouTube, watch a quick video and you get some good education and grounding. Just check out WallBuilders, they’re on our YouTube channel and then also on our Facebook page for WallBuilders, those videos will be there as well. So, check that out.
And then also go to constitutioncoach.com and you can get signed up for one of our free Constitution classes, where you can actually learn with David Barton in the library walking through the Constitution, take you out to Independence Hall and walk you through the Constitution in the room where the Constitution was actually framed. So, check all that out at constitutioncoach.com and also at wallbuilderslive.com.
We sure appreciate you listening today. We thank George Barna for joining us today and we appreciate you joining the fight to preserve our Constitution for future generations. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.