Biblical Worldview, A Comprehensive Poll On America’s View Today: George Barna has a brand new poll out that’s gone deeper than ever before. This has been covered in so many polls over so many years and decades. But this is the most comprehensive poll to date. Tune in now to hear what George Barna has to say about this poll and the mindset of America today, and even learn how you can take his Biblical worldview test!
Air Date: 04/26/2017
Guests: George Barna David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
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- Test Your Worldview, 20 questions on your Biblical worldview
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live!
Yes, we’re having fun in the studio even before the show starts. But thank you for joining us. We’re going to be talking about some of today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state rep.
You can find out more about us and the program at WallBuildersLive.com, great website. Go check it out. You can get past programs and all kinds of other good information. And then WallBuilders.com. That’s our main website, a wealth of information available to you there as well.
Are The Expectations Being Met
And as I said, we were having fun. David, Tim, one of the things that I hope we do on this program is keep that happy warrior attitude even when we get some negative news. Which we’re going to, in some ways get data today, I guess it depends on perspective. We’re going to be talking about some polling data and talking about some worldviews.
George Barna is with us later in the program. But first of all, you guys help me understand, and our audience understand, what do you mean when you say “worldview?”
Well, even before we get there let me let me throw up something that is going to be covered. Because I know what George is going to talk about generally. We’ve seen the poll in the study.
But I want you to think about things where you have expectations but there’s under-performance. It doesn’t really come up to what it was billed to be. You know, I can name politics. I mean, Hillary supporters believe she is going to win by a landslide. Under-performed didn’t come to that at all.
First thing came to mind when you said that for me was Texas Rangers, but that’s another story.
There you go.
I did have sports thoughts in my mind as well.
And with sports thoughts, I’ll go back to something that was politically incorrect at the time is that the NFL doesn’t have homosexual players. So they’re biased and they have this negative bias.
And then Michael Sam gets drafted first but Jeff Fisher, then he comes to Dallas Cowboys and just wasn’t able to compete as a professional athlete. And so now you don’t hear that thing anymore about how there’s such bias in the NFL. No, it was just under-performed. It just did not do what was expected.
To that end, had Michael Sam gotten three sacks a game, he’d be part of any NFL team he wanted, right? We don’t know hardly any of the people that are in the NFL, what they really believe and we don’t know about their personal life or their sexual life. I don’t want to know about most of those things.
But on the field what we care about is performance, the ability, what you can do on the field-
Do they get a result?
That’s it, bottom line.
And so the expectation was there and didn’t meet the expectation. Healthcare, Obamacare, was universal health care and that didn’t meet the expectation. The price has gone up, coverage has gone down. Only 17% of people like it now. There is a high number that thought they liked it back when it was going in and now only 17 percent do.
Understanding The Definition of Worldview
But it’s the same thing with our faith and with Christians. Because there are 50 percent of Americans who say, “I have a Biblical worldview.” But when it comes to actually having it only 10% do.
Now, it goes back to your question, Rick, “what is a worldview?” And if I can put it really simply, it’s this is the type of sunglasses you wear when you look. You wear the sunglasses 24 hours a day. If you’ve got rose-colored sunglasses everything has that shade to it. If it’s really dark sunglasses everything has that shade to it. If it’s very light gray sunglasses everything has that shade to it.
I ski and there are times where I’ll use gray goggles or times when I’ll use yellow goggles because it causes the snow to have different looks. So that is your worldview. It’s the way you see the world. It is the lens through which you see the world and everybody’s got one. Everybody sees the world through some interpretation of their own understanding and their own beliefs.
What they’ve been taught through their own beliefs in economics, the way they were raised in a family, if they go to church, what church they go to if they belong to a political party, and what party that is. Everything affects your worldview.
And for Christians the number one thing this should affect your worldview is, “What does God say about this?” And that’s what’s called a Biblical worldview. Does your worldview, do the glasses that you wear when you see everything all day long 24/7 365. Are you looking through the lens of the Bible? Fifty percent of Americans say they are. Sorry, they’ve bought some kind knockoff sunglasses.
Having A Biblical Worldview
Looking through the lens of the Bible, that means then that you and your beliefs and your positions on issues, your perspective on things, is going to be all aligned with the Bible, right?
What it means is when you ask me my opinion of the definition of marriage I’m going to give you what the Bible says. When you ask me what my opinion is of when life begins I’m going to tell you what the Bible says.
Or even your work ethic, right? I mean if I ask you, “How many days a week are you willing to work?” And you said, “Well, I really don’t feel like working four days or five days.” But then, if you have a Biblical worldview you have to go, “Wait a minute. It says, ‘six days’ that we are supposed to work.”
It doesn’t say “supposed to work,” it says, “six days shalt thou work.”
So, the Bible is really, really strong on hard work.
Well, let me back up and say that it’s not just that the Biblical worldview is looking and saying, “The Bible is.” Or someone says, “Well, this is what I think when the Bible says.” Really, what we ought to be doing if you have a Biblical worldview, when someone says, “Hey, what do you think about this?” You say, “I don’t know. Let me look at the Bible first.” And before you give an answer and before you give an opinion, know what the Bible say.
Because ultimately, as a Christian, who wants to have a Biblical worldview, what I’m going to say is, “Whatever the Bible says.” That’s my opinion because this is my basis of truth.
Now, on the flipside what so many Christians in modern culture do is they keep their worldview glasses on, their perspective on, and they look at the Bible through their own worldview.
So, if they think that marriage should be whoever we want it to be, what I’m going to do is read the Bible where it says, “God loves us all,” and go, “Oh, well I think it’s fine because God loves us.” No, the problem is you’re looking at the Bible through your own perspective, your own worldview, instead of saying, “No, I’m going to take my glasses off and I’m going to look at the Bible and whatever the Bible says that’s what I believe because the Bible is truth.”
That is where we as a Christian with the Biblical worldview, we ought to be saying, “What does the Bible say? And that’s what I believe.”
That’s so good, Tim. So it really doesn’t matter what I think? What matters is, what does the Bible say? So it’s not about my feelings or my thinking it’s I’m going to follow this because it’s truth.
So, what happens is when you’re testing a Biblical worldview you ask questions about issues the Bible talks to. And you say, “What about this issue?” And people who are saying, “I have a Biblical worldview” they’re answering them with answers that are totally different from what the Bible says. Which means they really don’t have a Biblical worldview.
So, what you’re looking at here is 50 percent of Americans say, “I have a Biblical worldview.” Only 10 percent do. Which reminds me of that line in Princess Bride, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”
So, for Biblical worldview they’re saying, “I have a Biblical worldview” but they clearly don’t. And this is the cool thing about Barna, he doesn’t ask you what you think, necessarily. He will ask you, “Do you have a Biblical world? Yes or no?” Then he’s going to ask you a whole bunch of questions and he’s going to judge you on how you answer those questions not on what you say about yourself.
So, he’ll know if you have a Biblical worldview which is what you say by the time he gets to the end of the questions and he’ll know based on that whether you do or not.
And it’s going to be based on if you believe what the Bible says. It’s not just, “Hey, do you think you have a Biblical worldview?”
“Oh, I definitely I have a Biblical worldview.”
No, he’s going to say- now, he might ask, “Do you think you have a Biblical worldview?”
He will start with that question and then he’ll ask-
But yeah, then he’s going to ask things the Bible is very clear on. Which also could indicate that if you don’t have a Biblical worldview the two reasons might be because either you don’t know the Bible or you disagree with the Bible. Both of those are a problem. But that then is a different source to the solution based on what camp you might be. Nonetheless, he’s going to ask questions from the Bible and if you don’t agree with those then you don’t have a Biblical worldview.
So, George Barna has a brand new poll out on this that’s gone deeper than ever before. This has been covered in so many polls over so many years and decades. But this is the deepest and the biggest one ever done, the most comprehensive poll. It really is, right now, today, is the final word as far as this has gone to this point.
This is information is available by the way, at http://www.culturefaith.com/. Incredible research American Culture Faith Institute’s Worldview Measurement project. George Barna is going to summarize it for us when we come back from the break here on WallBuilders Live!
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton with another moment from American history. The Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees to every individual the right to keep and bear arms, has been targeted for years now by those who are determined to dismantle the individual right to self-protection.
Opponents argue that “Only the militia, the military, and law enforcement are to have and use firearms.” But those who wrote the Second Amendment strenuously disagreed, including Founding Father Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration, a president of the Continental Congress, and one of those who actually framed the Second Amendment.
He declared, “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
For more information about Richard Henry Lee and the history of the Second Amendment go to WallBuilders.com
Find Out What Percent Actually Live By A Biblical WorldView
Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live! Our good friend George Barna from The Barna Group back with us again. Always good to have you, Sir.
Thank you! Good to be with you.
Hey man, always amazing research you guys are doing! It looks like a big project recently completed with actually not so good news about the overall worldview, not of the whole nation, but even of those that say they have a Biblical worldview. Did these numbers surprise you? And tell us a little bit about the study, it’s the American Culture and Faith Institute.
Yeah, what we’re trying to do is to figure out how many people have a Biblical worldview. Everybody, of course, has a worldview. You have to have one just to get to life.
But the issue is, which one do you have? And so this is the biggest worldview study that’s been conducted to date. We have 40 different questions, 28 of them about people’s beliefs, and 20 of them about behavior.
We interviewed 6,000 people across the country and then we put together the score to determine how many people actually have a Biblical worldview. Sadly, what we discovered is only 10 percent of Americans have a Biblical worldview.
We know that while close to half of all Americans think they do, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what a Biblical worldview consists of, what its importance is, and how you go about developing it. So, if nothing else the survey was showing us that we’ve got a lot of ground to make up. We have probably been losing ground for the last 15 or 20 years at least in this regard. And so we’ve got some challenges before us.
No doubt. The shocker to me was the difference between those that thought they had a Biblical worldview or said, “Yeah, that’s my worldview. That’s what guides my life.” But then when you got into specific questions, what 80 percent of those did not actually have a Biblical worldview. Is that an accurate number?
Which Demographic Has A Biblical Worldview
Yeah, it’s true. And you know, pretty much every group that we’ve looked at, I mean, there’s a lot of growth to be had. Now we did find with SAGE Cons 90% of them have a Biblical worldview. Those the spiritually active governance engaged Christian conservatives.
That’s the group that we study a lot because they’re trying to allow their faith to lead their life. And so they’re involved politically and what not. It shows in terms of the choices that they make with candidates and issues and community involvement.
But apart from SAGE Cons, it was virtually impossible to find a group where even half had a Biblical worldview.
One of the most shocking revelations out of the research to me had to do with looking at this from a generational standpoint. So if we were to look at people 50 and older, in other words, our two oldest generations, the Boomers and the Builders, what we find is 16 percent of those two groups have a Biblical Worldview.
We look at the next younger group people in their 30’s and 40’s, the Baby Busters or Gen X, whatever you want to call them. Only 7 percent, less than half as many, have a Biblical worldview. But then when we look at the youngest adult generation of millennials, talking about people between 18 and 30 years of age, only 4% have a Biblical worldview.
And of course, the implication of that is look, that’s our primary parenting generation. You get so much of your worldview from what your parents build into your life and you can’t give what you don’t have and these are parents that in 24 out of 25 cases do not have a Biblical worldview to pass on to their kids.
So that means there’s going to have to be other strategies for developing the worldview in the upcoming generation.
God Uses The Remnant
George, that’s a shocking number! So 4 percent? How do you stay optimistic, George, when you see these numbers of a 4 percent? How do you build on that at this point?
Well, really, there are a couple of things that keep me going. One is to recognize that we know we’re involved in a battle. So when you’re in the midst of a war you can’t really expect everything around you to look rosy.
Secondly, I know that through the power of the Holy Spirit that God has put within me because of my relationship with Christ I can do things for God that I just can’t do on my own power.
If I allow him to use me for his purposes. Great things can come out of it. And the other thing that keeps me going is as I study the scriptures I realize that when God transforms a culture he never waits until he has a majority of the people on his side. He always uses what the scriptures call “a remnant” of individuals who are sold out to him and to his purposes.
So, when I look at the fact that on the one hand, we’ve only got 10 percent of adults in America who have a Biblical worldview, on the other hand, I realize 10 percent is more than enough for God to do the job. I don’t know completely how he’s going to go about doing it but I know that if I do my part, you do your part, ultimately it can happen.
Can We Change Their Mindset
That is good. I guess too, it helps to know that that other, whatever it was, 38 percent of the country that believes they have a Biblical worldview but just doesn’t, they don’t actually have that foundation. If they believe they have a Biblical worldview that means they have a desire to have it. Is that a fair statement? That, therefore, we have an open door to teach and for pastors to get that grounding into them?
Actually, I think that’s a group that may be a little more difficult to work with.
I think they’ve already got it figured out. So they’re not as open to learning new things or discovering realities because they think they’ve already figured these things out. So that actually is going to call for some different kinds of strategies for teaching. They don’t necessarily have an open mind and open heart.
That’s interesting. So maybe the whole, whatever, 52 percent that doesn’t even claim to have a Biblical worldview that might be more fertile ground actually for conversion and teaching them the truth from the beginning and getting them really grounded?
That might be the case because we know that many many of those people are right now struggling with trying to figure out, “What’s the meaning of life? What’s the purpose of getting up in the morning and getting out of bed? Why bother?”
So as they’re trying to figure out the answers to such fundamental questions about life. The more that we take advantage of opportunities through our relationships with them to have those kinds of conversations and not to force a point of view on them. But to suggest some things for them to reflect on, some resources such as the Bible. To go to get some additional insights, that maybe our best shot.
You’re probably not prepared for this, and I don’t know if you’ve ever done a study like this, but I was just thinking as you were giving me those numbers I’m thinking, “Man, 4 percent of this younger generation.” But if I think back to Wilberforce and England at the time, he was faced with similar daunting statistics if they had been doing polling back then, wouldn’t you say? I mean, the culture was definitely against a Biblical worldview at that point.
Well, absolutely, and even if you look at the early church. They were not in the midst of fertile ground. But God was ready to do something miraculous in the midst of those people.
These were individuals who were sold out for the cause of Christ. They were willing to die for it. Many of them did. If we have that same kind of fervor and that same kind of commitment and a fervent desire to obey God at all costs we can turn this thing around.
I love it. That’s why I love you, George. You not only have this incredible data and bring these things to wake us up and say, “Look, here’s what we’re facing.” But you keep me optimistic whenever you present it. Thanks so much, man! Appreciate all your hard work and the research that you guys do. Folks can go to the website, it’s CultureFaith.com the place to see the whole study?
Yes, we’ve got not only the research, I’ve written probably five or six different articles about the study that you can get. It’s under the American culture View is the name of the newsletter that comes out every week. But also that we have the questions that we used in the worldview study. So if people want to take a look at those and see how they would answer some of those questions and how they come out in the survey they can do that as well.
That’s great! Alright, CultureFaith.com is the website! We’ll have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com. George Barna, always good to have you, brother. Thanks for your time today!
Good to be with you. Take care.
Stay with us, folks. Be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi, friends! This is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. I know, often times as parents were trying to find good content for our kids to read.
If you remember back in the Bible, the Book of Hebrews it has the Faith Hall of Fame, where they outlined the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well.
I wanted to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called, “The Courageous Leaders Collection” and this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers.
There’s a second collection called, “Heroes of History” in this collection you read about people like Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, the list goes on and on.
This is a great collection for your young person to have and read. And it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at WallBuilders.com.
The Definition Of A SAGE Con
We’re back on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us. Thanks to George Barna for being with us today and also the incredible work in American Culture and Faith Institute.
Back with David and Tim. Guys, help me out. He flew to a lot of those states and I hear that SAGE Con phrase and he described it real quickly. But remind us what that means.
And by the way, let me let me re-emphasize what he said. “By percentage, the highest Biblical worldview was among SAGE Cons. So these are the folks who their views most aligned with what the Bible actually says. What they say and what the Bible says they’re the ones that align the most.
SAGE Con is an acronym that means Socially Active Government Engaged. SAGE, Socially Active Government Engaged Conservatives. So SAGE Cons are those that are active. And I thought that was an interesting thing because these are the guys that are active in wanting to get involved in government and policy and see things turn the right direction.
And isn’t it interesting that the more of a Biblical worldview you have the more you are involved in things in the culture? And I thought, you know, that’s kind of an interesting litmus test. If you’re a Christian and say, “Well, I don’t want to get involved in culture stuff.” You probably don’t have a Biblical worldview. Because if you studied the Bible and know the Bible you know that you’re supposed to be salt and light in every arena even arenas you don’t like, which generally tends to be government. The approval rating for government is abysmal.
But if you have a Biblical view you understand that’s exactly where I’m needed the most is in the areas that are the most corrupt and have the worst stuff going on. And so I thought that significant that those Christians that are involved as SAGE Cons, Socially Active Government Engaged Conservatives are the ones with the highest Biblical worldview which tells me they do understand the Bible because they’re living out what the Bible tells us to do. And that’s to go into every man’s world and take God’s values with us into those arenas. So that’s what a SAGE Con is Rick.
Take The George Barna Quiz
That makes sense so this is a smaller segment, a very small, apparently, segment of the Christian community. But those people are taking it very seriously. He pointed out it’s almost half of Americans think they have a Biblical worldview. But then only about what was it, about 20 percent of those 80 percent of those did not actually have a Biblical worldview and about 20 percent did.
So roughly 10 percent of Americans actually have a Biblical worldview. In other words, their opinions, their beliefs, their perspectives on the world, all aligns with the Bible. And then another 40 percent think they do but they don’t. And then 50 percent don’t even think they have one.
That’s right. But notice too what happened over the generations, if you will. The older generation, the more Biblical worldview. The middle generation is less Biblical and the current generation is least Biblical. Sixteen percent with the Boomers and the Builders, 7% with the Busters, and 4 percent with the Millennials.
So what’s happened is that says a whole lot about what’s going on in the church over the last 40 years. The church itself is turning out less Biblical thinking people than it ever has. And so 40 to 50 years ago you’re more likely to come out of church with a Biblical worldview. Today you’re less likely to come out. Which is a commentary not on just Christians and individuals and those who think they have Biblical worldview. It’s also a commentary on where the church is.
So his statement about the millennials is you can’t give what you don’t have. And millennials, that’s the parenting generation. If you don’t have a Biblical worldview, and only 4 percent do. You can ‘t give what you don’t have. That’s not good for the future.
But you heard his optimism. That’s the most optimism I’ve ever heard from George. I love the fact, as he pointed out, that he’s got this test up on the website. And so I really do encourage people to go take those 20 questions.
Now, here’s the deal. As he pointed out, the people who think they have a Biblical worldview are harder to reach than those who don’t think so at all. And so what’ll happen is you may take the test and the test may have a different answer from what you think and say, “Well, that’s just wrong.” Don’t do that. Go into this thing humbly and 1 Corinthians 8:2 says, “If anyone imagines he knows something, he doesn’t really know anything yet as he ought to.”
So you think you know what the Bible says on that. Well, when you take this test it comes out with a different answer don’t just dismiss it. That’s not what you want to do. You want to look specifically at what’s there.
And let me point out, we always want to improve in our life. We always want to grow. One of the things about being a living creation that God put here on this earth for a purpose and a reason is everything alive grows. And if you aren’t growing you’re in the process of dying and that’s how it works.
Well, I want to grow. I want to become all that God has called and created me to be. So if there’s an area I need to grow in I want to be able to grow in that but I need to know what that is so I know how to grow in that. So I want to take this test and go, “Where am I weak? Where do I need to get better in knowing the word? What sections do I need to think differently in? So, it’s a different mindset I’m taking. I’m not going to cure. I’m going to take it knowing I want to grow, to become more mature, I want to get better. So how do I do that?
If you’re really in a relationship with God you need be open to this stuff and not be hardheaded to say, “Hey, I do want to grow.” Acts 17:11, Paul said, “Of all the people I talked to I really liked the Bereans the most because they wouldn’t believe me until they checked out in the Scriptures.” And so when you take this test if there’s some error that the test shows different from what you think. Don’t just dismiss it. Go back and look at the Bible verses behind that question, and they’re there.
And you can say so this is a really good way for us to say if we’re as maybe mature or have a strong a world view as we think we do. Because if we don’t we need to have a better world view and this is a great tool for doing it. But this is where the culture is right now. And the church is not doing it the right way so we need to individually take up the mantle and make sure we have a good worldview.
It’s CultureFaith.com is the website where you can go to take the test and also to see the full report. You’ll want to click on worldview measurement project and then click on take the test. But we’ll have an easy link directly to the test available for you today at WallBuildersLive.com. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks to George Barna for joining us today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!