Do Americans Have A Biblical Worldview? – With George Barna: Is there absolute moral truth? Is human life sacred? Is the Bible the true Word of God? How do you view the role of government in the life of an individual? How do Americans answer these questions? Do we still have a Biblical Worldview; or, are we a confused nation? Tune in to hear some surprising data from George Barna’s new survey.
Air Date: 09/09/2020
Guest: George Barna
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us today on WallBuilders Live. My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. You can learn more about me at constitutioncoach.com, constitutioncoach.com. We’re here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder of WallBuilders and Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. You can find out more about David and Tim Barton, both at wallbuilderslive.com, our radio site or at wallbuilders.com.
So I know I’m throwing out too many websites, three websites at you right at the beginning. But if you remember wallbuilders.com, then you’ll be able to find all the other ones. So check out wallbuilders.com, learn more about us. Get some good information, there’s lots of great tools there for you that you can begin to equip and inspire your family to get involved and be good citizens, doing your part to preserve freedom for future generations.
That’s what we’re all about here at WallBuilders, literally rebuilding the foundation, rebuilding the walls. It comes from that scripture in Nehemiah that says arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. But if you look at our culture today, folks, in many ways, we’re a reproach. There’s a lot wrong with America right now, but those things can be fixed.
If we the people will work the system, the system will work. But we have to bring good values into the system, we have to infuse biblical worldview and biblical values into the system. That’s what our founding fathers did and that’s what we can do today. We can restore it, we can renew it, we have to know how the system works and we have to know what the formula is that will renew it.
What is Worldview?
Alright, guys, George Barna will be joining us again today. And of course, we always talk about biblical, historical, constitutional perspective. And what we mean by perspective is really worldview. So, if you’re looking at things, what does the Bible say about it? If that’s where you’re getting your worldview and determining what’s right and wrong, and what your positions are or should be, then that’s going to determine who you vote for, is going to determine how you live your life. Worldview is important. And George is just fantastic at getting the finger on the pulse of Americans and finding out where they are on worldview. It doesn’t look very good right now.
Well, right now, you’ve got all the worldview you can choose. I mean, it’s like truth. We’re seeing that 58% of Americans say there is no absolute truth. Well, if they can define truth, they can define their worldview. And so instead of having a worldview where everyone says, hey, law and order is a good thing, and we want justice for everyone, or we think certain crimes should be punished certain ways, we’re not at that point anymore. We do not have that consensus. And that is super, super difficult to move a nation forward when you have 58% they can’t even agree with what’s right and wrong. And that’s a problem with worldview.
So it used to be that David Noeble and what they did with Summit Ministries, I think they had seven different typical worldviews. But it’s like saying gender there used to be two genders, well, how many are there now? Well, however many you can come up with. I think they stopped counting somewhere over nine years ago, because you can now define it to be what you want. And so that’s what we’re seeing is worldview.
The question, is how much of it is biblical? And we’re saying that there’s a small amount of biblical worldview, and the others, it doesn’t matter how you divide the others, it’s biblical versus everything else. And so what you’re having is a biblical worldview versus everything else, which is not biblical and that’s where the real contest is going to become. And that will reflect your values, your policies, will reflect your leaders, what you do with government, what you do with education, what you do with parenting, everything is built around whether you have a biblical worldview or not. And that has been diminishing rapidly in the United States over recent years.
Worldview is What We’re Trying to Influence
Well, in fact, Tim, I mean, that’s really worldview is what we’re trying to influence. And when we give people evidence of history, evidence of what the Bible says and evidence of what the Constitution says, we’re trying to get them to have the right worldview. But when you look at George Barna’s research, it’s very concerning that we’re losing that battle. So how do we get more people to have the right worldview? Do we have to start with young people? Or can we get people today to change their worldview later in life?
Yeah, I think it’s an interesting thought when you see in Scripture that it says that my people perish for a lack of knowledge. And so we would look and go, they just don’t know what’s true. But then even in that statement, they don’t know what’s true. That’s part of the problem. Lack of knowledge is actually more accurate to say a lack of good knowledge, because most people think they know a lot and everybody seems to have an opinion, it’s just very few opinions are actually rooted in reality and truth.
And we see this when you look at what’s happening in culture, when you see the media reporting on a different shooting or different officer this or riots that are actually just peaceful protests, and then they’re not really damaging things, only a few things here and there and only a few people. I mean, it’s so dishonest, but people are getting dishonest information, and they think they’re educated.
The Bible tells us in John 8:32, that the truth is what sets people free. And at this point, we have people who are not informed with truth, that is their knowledge. They don’t know what is actually the reality around them and therefore, we’re not seeing much freedom and culture or in their lives.
Promote Constitutional Truth, Historical Truth, and Biblical Truth
And this is something that certainly we try to do at WallBuilders, helping promote constitutional truth, helping promote historical truth in America and certainly biblical truth, which is the foundation, which has allowed the nation to be successful.
And we just don’t see enough people that are finding truth in the right places and probably we’re not looking in the right places. So we’d say, hey, go back to the Bible, go to the Constitution, right, you can go to the WallBuilders website, we can help connect a lot of dots for you. But we got to get people back to pursuing truth, because that’s what ultimately brings freedom.
So what you’re saying is, yes, you can change that worldview later in life if you get the truth in their hands, because that’s the renewing of the mind, right?
Absolutely. Now, it’s a lot easier to start with a younger generation, right, easier to teach the young dog the new tricks. It’s easier to pour this into next generation, which is why for every family, as they’re investing in their kids, the best thing that parents can do is invest in their kids because if their kids are raised with a biblical worldview, if they’re raised knowing truth, they’re raised knowing that there is a God, and that there’s a level of accountability and responsibility that we owe to God and to our fellow man and we love God and we love people, if we raise a new generation that have the basic biblical values, the basic biblical knowledge, we can see a huge change.
And it’s a lot easier to reach a rising generation than to try to un-indoctrinate a generation that’s been filled with garbage. Now, we still need to do that too. But in the midst of that, we also need to be strategic. This is where really progressives were so strategic for so long.
They said, look, let’s just start investing in the next generation and they poured decades into younger generations and that’s where America has gotten to where we are, where largely we don’t follow the Bible very well, where largely, we don’t understand the Constitution. We don’t understand history. But this was a strategic move from progressives a long time ago. Well, this is still a good playbook.
A Collection of Heroes
Let’s invest in the next generation and that’s certainly what parents can do. And there’s nobody who understands worldview or even generations better than George Barna. So, I’m pretty excited to hear what he’s going to say.
Well, let’s dive into it. We’re going to get some more detail on why this is so important, why that worldview has such an impact and the challenge before us, and how we can actually accomplish that challenge. Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live with George Barna.
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. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline 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 in our faith as well.
I want 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. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History.
In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, friends, 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 www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
A Moment From American History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. As another election approaches, many citizens now take the process so much for granted that they’re apathetic about voting. After all, since America has held elections continuously since 1619, why should this election be viewed with any particular interest?
They argue that since America has survived even wars and calamities, what difference does one election or even one vote make? Perhaps they should listen to the words of the great Daniel Webster, who declared, “I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe.
For there is no nation on Earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from the inattention of our people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and neglect.”
Therefore, in the upcoming elections, don’t take your freedoms for granted. Make sure that you vote. For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Welcome George Barna
We’re back here on WallBuilders live. Thanks for staying with us. George Barna back with us. George, always a pleasure, man. Thanks for some time today.
Good to be with you, buddy.
Hey, you guys are always digging into the numbers and really getting the pulse of America and certainly the evangelical community as well, you do better than anybody else. So, catch us up on some of your latest surveys. I know there’s some negative data in there, so I also want to be asking you about how we turn it around? But some of these numbers, man, really, really surprising.
Well, of course, you know, we’ve been looking at all kinds of things for a few months now coming out and the American worldview inventory that we did. And we’ve been finding, for instance, that only 6% of adults in America have a biblical worldview. We’ve found that only 4 out of 10 Americans believe that the Bible is the true and reliable Word of God.
Now, that was, you said 6%, not 60%? I want to make sure our listeners heard that, only 6% of Americans have biblical worldview, and then 4 out of 10, so 40% that believe in the Bible?
A Biblical Worldview
Yeah, literally 41%. We’re finding that when people talk about their purpose in life, less than 3 out of 10 would say that it’s to know, love and to serve God. When we talk about the meaning of success in life, we’ve got only about 1 out of 5, we say that it has to do with consistent obedience to God. When we talk about absolute moral truth, 6 out of 10 Americans say nothing to talk about because there is no such thing.
And you know, we look at even things like whether or not people say that human beings are basically good, 7 out of 10 would say that, again in conflict with the scriptures. And only 4 out of 10 people would say that human life is sacred. And a large proportion say that the Bible is ambiguous on the issue of abortion and of course, therefore you can do whatever you want.
So, you know, we’ve got all of these things. We’ve got issues with sin and salvation that we’re finding out about, where currently, a plurality of Americans say that they can earn their eternal salvation by being good or doing enough good. Many more people believe that and believe that it’s only by the grace of God through Christ dying on the cross for us. And we know that about 2 out of 3 Americans say it doesn’t matter what faith you buy into, as long as you have some kind of faith. So we are one confused nation.
Well, and you know, I said, some of these numbers were surprising. But I guess really, if we step back and look in the context, the last 50-60 years, maybe you’re not surprised, because we’ve been sowing those seeds in our education system. And when I say that, I don’t mean just the public education system, a lot of the Christian private schools have moved into that as well. So, are we seeing the result of what we’ve sown?
What Makes Up a Worldview?
Absolutely. I mean, you know, I’ve been tracking worldview issues for close to 30 years now. And 30 years ago, the people with a biblical worldview, the number was twice as high as it is today. So yes, it’s been steadily dropping over the last three decades.
And when we look at all the different components of what makes up a biblical worldview, it’s not surprising that only 6 out of every 100 people have one. But at what point does it become a sufficient wake up call for the church in America, for us to say, okay, that’s low enough, now, let’s jack it up, bring it back up the other way, let’s get people on board with that?
Yeah. And that seems to be sort of the wakeup call. I mean, maybe it’s that we’re seeing it in the streets like we’ve never seen it before, the result of Marxist philosophy being literally instilled in our young people, that all of a sudden, at least some of the Christian community is going, wait a minute, okay, how do we turn this around? And what you’re saying is it all comes back to worldview.
So if we’re serious about this, if we’re not just going to complain and say, wow, how do we get here, if we’re serious about it, we’ve got to start taking the big steps to really invest in teaching the right worldview to our young people.
Yeah, and Rick, you hit on a crucially important element, which is that it really does start with our children. We know that a worldview, no matter which one it is, a person’s worldview is going to start developing at 15 to 18 months of age, and it will be almost fully formed by the time they reach the age of 13, might be reshaped and refined a little bit during the teens and 20s.
Culture is the Strongest Influence
By the time they hit 30, and what we found is that most people will die believing what they believe at age 13. So we really do have to invest heavily in our children, be very intentional and strategic about that. It’s got to come from the family, as well as the church. But we have to pay attention to the fact that the culture of America is the biggest shaper of people’s worldview right now. So, we’ve got to turn that around us.
You just blew my own worldview or a piece of something I believe, maybe not my worldview. But I’ve always thought it was in the kind of high school age 15, 16, 17 and especially the college age, where they really cemented that worldview. What you’re seeing is really, it’s the seeds you’re planting, even at younger ages are going to determine how they perceive what they’re taught, even in high school in college. So the real, I don’t even know what the right words would be, but the directions or indicators or whatever come earlier than high school.
No, it’s true. Because if you think about what a worldview is, it’s your filter on life that helps you to understand and interpret and respond to everything that goes on in your life. It’s thing that helps you to make every decision that you make every moment of every day. It is essentially a human beings operating system. And you cannot do anything unless that operating system tells you to do that. That’s what your worldview is.
So you’ve got to start developing it very young. Because even at 15 to 18 months of age, you’re starting to make decisions about your behavior, about your beliefs, about your values, obviously, at that age, you can’t articulate them. But you’re integrating a lot of information into your mind, your heart, your soul, trying to figure out how does life work? Who do I want to be?
How am I going to behave in this world? And so that worldview does get shaped very early. During the teens and 20s is a time, when after we have that worldview in place, then we start trying to figure out, now, how do I articulate it? Are there ways I need to refine it? What’s it going to look like in some different kinds of situations? And so we might refashion it a bit, but by and large, the basics, the foundations are already in place.
And the results are huge in terms of the difference in people’s positions on the major issues of the day. So rather than moving towards a socialist agenda, if they have a biblical worldview, what’s their position on capitalism and on abortion and those kind of things?
Yeah, I mean, all of that is a direct result of your worldview. So, for instance, in our study, we found that 98% of the people who prefer socialism to capitalism reject the biblical worldview. So you couldn’t have a more clear indication of the fact that your worldview matters, it affects every dimension of life. You know, whether you’re talking about your faith or your relationships or how you handle money, your occupation or profession, the kind of education you want, everything that you can think of, is impacted by your worldview.
And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been telling people lately that the 2020 election really is not about the personalities or the parties or even politics. This is an election to determine the prevailing worldview, the dominant worldview in America for the foreseeable future. And so, everybody who has a biblical worldview, everybody who loves Christ needs to get out and vote in this election.
If We Don’t Wake Up…
Because if they don’t, one of the things that might happen as a result of it is we may lose the freedom to worship God, we may lose the freedom to learn about God in the country in the future, because the other side wants so many limitations and such a different form of government and embraces such a different lifestyle and values and morals, that we’re not going to be happy. So we’ve got to get out and vote for the candidates that are going to give us the freedoms that we need to be who God made us to be.
What an important distinction you just made. So it’s not even if you just take the presidential race, you’re not choosing Trump or Biden, you’re choosing two different worldviews that come with the package.
Yeah. And when we talk about government, what we’re talking about is a government that wants to give people freedom, wants to give them the responsibility to make their own choices, and to live with the consequences of their choices, as opposed to having a government that basically runs all of your life. There’s a group of elites who will run that government and they through their choices for you will determine who you are, how you can live, what you can do, what you can’t do, what happens with your money.
All of those decisions, those responsibilities will be taken away from us, and they will be making those choices for us. This is huge. We haven’t had an election like this in a good 80 plus years, really since FDR. And so this is going to be a critical time for Christians to stand up for what they believe.
Last question for you. If you go down ballot and you’ve got somebody that’s running for legislature or city council or whatever, and you have the opportunity to meet them or go to a town hall meeting and ask a question, what would be your main question you would ask to try to identify that person’s worldview?
What Should We Ask Candidates?
Well, you know, there are a couple of things that I’d ask them. One would have to do with what is their view of the role of government in the life of an individual? Because I want to know, did they think the government should be operating my life? Or do they believe that the author of freedom, God Himself, is the one who should be dictating and controlling where I go in my life?
Another thing that I would think is critically important that has to do with their perspectives on life, but also their perspectives on authority. Those are the kinds of things that give us a sense of who is this person, what kind of laws are they going to be making. And we got to remember, you know, people say, well, you can’t legislate morality. Nonsense.
That’s all that legislation does, is it dictates public morality. Because morality simply means dictating right or wrong. And that’s what our laws do. It rewards us when we do right, it punishes us when we do wrong. So we have to be very cognizant of what kind of a moral leader are we voting into office, what kind of things are they going to say, are right and wrong?
That’s so good, because that’s even better than asking them about a specific issue, because you don’t even know for sure what issues are going to come up during that person’s term. Like who would have ever known COVID was going to hit us like this. But if you knew that elected officials worldview, you would know whether they believed in the individual’s ability to make decisions for themselves, or they thought you needed a nanny state and the government to micromanage every movement that you make.
A Philosophy of Life
If you knew their worldview going into it, you could almost predict whether they would be for all these crazy lockdowns or they would be for letting the individual decide and those that are most vulnerable taking those precautions. Is that a fair assessment of knowing worldview going into an issue? I mean, not knowing what an issue is, and hitting them later.
Yeah. No, I think that’s absolutely right. What we’re trying to do is figure out what is the philosophy of life that’s governing the kind of choices they’re going to make? That’s what a worldview is. It’s a philosophy of life. And so what we want to do is get inside their head and their heart a little bit and figure out, what is it that you think is the purpose of government? Is it to rule my life or is it to give me as much freedom as possible so that God can rule my life?
So good. George Barna, always a pleasure, man. Thanks for coming on today.
Thank you, Rick.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know but it gets frustrating because they don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. And it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders library, where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the Quickstart Guide to the Constitution, because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the citizens guide to America’s Constitution, you’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now and wallbuilders.com.
Dire In Terms of Numbers
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to George Barna for joining us today. Back with David and Tim Barton. So guys, I mean, he’s saying, look, it is pretty dire in terms of the numbers, in terms of people that have a biblical worldview, only 4 out of 10 believe the Bible. So there’s our challenge before us. But he said exactly the same thing you did, Tim, that if you start with the youth, if you raise them up right in the younger days, then you’ve got that foundation there with which to work. So we should be redoubling our efforts to make sure we’re involved in education, that we’re involved in our kid’s lives, that we’re really paying attention to what that worldview is that they’re taught.
Yeah, it’s one of the things that that Bible tells us to in Proverbs 22:6, that you train up a child and the way they should go, when they’re old, they won’t apart from it. The Bible definitely gives a lot of directives to parents to invest in their children, to help children learn to think and understand what is true, what is right, what is moral. And George Barna has been saying this for years, he’s actually probably the guy that I learned this from over the last couple of years, in addition to the fact that proverbs also tells us this. But it certainly does seem to be true when you look at the numbers that the next generation is the most open to receiving and embracing truth.
Well, I think the point he made is really strong too, that this election is really about which worldview is going to prevail, because that is at stake here, I thought is really significant. I mean, I had no clue, as he pointed out that for those who support socialism, 98% of those who support socialism are those who reject a biblical worldview. So that biblical worldview is going to determine what happens with economics, what happens with education, what happens with government, what happens with military, what happens with judges, what happens with everything, is worldview, and that really is the right way to look at the election.
When Will the Church Get Engaged?
And as he pointed out, even the questions you ask in local elections, it should be about philosophy of government, because that tells you a whole lot about worldview. And by the way, I thought the question he asked was really good too. How low does it have to go with worldview before the church really wants to get engaged and start doing something here? I mean, we’re seeing so many areas where that it keeps going down and down and down and we’re just not seeing aggressive actions on the part of the church to combat that. Tim, you pointed out it’s so rare now to have marriage conferences at churches, you know, churches don’t that.
Well, yeah, where there’s parenting conferences or marriage conferences and things that revolve around the family and the family unit and families are what are raising the next generation, families are what help a community to be strong, what helps a society to be strong and a nation to be strong. And very visibly, the church has neglected a lot of these things. And we can talk about some of the failures at some of these Bible colleges and seminaries.
Do Americans Have A Biblical Worldview? – With George Barna
But even the basic ideology, the idea that all we need to do is introduce people to Jesus, and we’ve done our job. Well, Jesus told his disciples, if you love me, keep my commands. If we’re not teaching all the commands of Jesus, and arguably the commands even as you find throughout the New Testament and principles of the Old Testament, if we’re not learning the whole of Scripture, then we’re doing a disservice to the people that we are leading. And this is where we have to change our thought as parents, as leaders and as pastors.
And as citizens, we’ve got to do this all across the country. Every single one of us has responsibility to do this. If you think about it, if you want liberty, if you want freedom, if you want that result, then you got to have the formula that produces that, you got to put in the right stuff to get out the right stuff. America became the greatest nation in the history of the world, from the most freedom, the most prosperity, the most benevolence, all of those things, because of the formula that created it.
And we’ve got to go back to that biblical formula. How do we do that? We the people go back to that Bible. In fact, I want to recommend to everybody as we’re closing out today, the Founders’ Bible, check it out of wallbuilders.com. It is a great way to study the Bible and American history at the exact same time. Check it out at wallbuilders.com.
Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.