How Worldview Caused 2020 Events, Part 1 – With George Barna: Were the events that occurred during the 2020 election cycle predictable? How does worldview affect our decisions – especially about the future of the country? What are the underlying values of the dominant political platforms? What worldview enabled this country to be what it became? What are the 10 prevailing values in our society today? Tune in to hear George Barna explain the answers to these questions and much more!
Air Date: 07/06/2021
Guest: George Barna
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. 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 or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
This is the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live we’re taking on the hot topics of the day, from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. David Barton is our founder here at WallBuilders, he’s America’s premier historian, Tim Barton’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator, and America’s Constitution coach.
Normally, the three of us would be talking about whatever that hot topic of the day might be. We always hit it from a biblical perspective, what’s the Constitution tell us about it, and what can we learn from history. But today, we’re going to let someone else do the teaching. We’re going to take you back a couple of months to the ProFamily Legislators Conference where George Barna was speaking to our legislators.
We have George on the program quite often. His research is absolutely amazing. It’s vitally important to really assessing where the problems are in the culture and what we can do about it.
And so we’ve asked Georgia to let us air his program from the legislators conference with you, our listeners here on WallBuilders Live. And so let’s dive right in. Here’s George Barna at the ProFamily Legislators Conference.
PROFAMILY LEGISLATORS CONFERENCE
It’s great to be here. Thanks for letting me come back again. You know, what we want to do is look back at the election, draw some lessons from it. I’m going to share some data with you from our most recent surveys about what we’ve discovered. But just to remember the context. You know, I would ask you to think about some of the things that have happened.
You know, the primary, the Democrats trying to find a candidate to run against President Trump. They came up with their man after 21 different hopefuls were vying for that opportunity. They had their candidate, and I’ll be showing a bunch of things up here. But then we had the MeToo movement where women were talking about their legal recourse as victims, trying to get fair treatment.
We looked at the impeachment that came about, and of course, the grounds for impeachment. I actually had to look this up, because I had no idea what the grounds for impeachment were. It turns out, they were abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which I found interesting, because I thought that was the President’s job. But nevertheless, we know that Trump derangement syndrome found a home this year, and that was the House of Representatives.
We also know that COVID, of course, hit in a big way, and for me, the thing that most interesting, the statistical insanity that surrounded how it was that we began counting all of this. We also had the BLM movement suddenly appear out of nowhere, a bunch of admitted Marxists, angry people operating like urban terrorists.
And then, of course, eventually, we had the two presidential debates, there were supposed to be three, we had two as usual, they were contentious. There was controversial moderating.
The 2020 Election Cycle
And then, of course, the opening in the Supreme Court after Justice Ginsburg died, and Justice Barrett was nominated and sworn in. It was called an abuse of power, and abuse of politics. The swearing in ceremony was considered now a super spreader event, of course.
And then eventually we got to the election itself, where we had higher than expected turnout, thanks to a number of different parts of the country turning out that hadn’t been expected to show up. That’s all happened. And then, of course, election fraud trying to figure out what are and are not legitimate votes.
So in the midst of all of this, we do want to try to figure out some lessons. I’m going to suggest to you six different things that are coming out of the research that I think might be important for us to know about and to consider. The first of those is that everything that has happened during the course of this election cycle was predictable. Much of it was actually predicted. And the basis of that prediction is America’s worldview.
If you look at this particular election cycle, the election has really very little, if anything to do with personalities, parties and platitudes. It’s really all about worldview. It’s about the vision, the conflict of visions of who we want to be, and how we want to live.
And so if you want to understand what that differentiation is in terms of the two dominant worldviews that are going against each other, I’ve charted out some of the key things for you to think about up here that are the basis on which people are making their choices and making how they voted. And some of the most important ones have to do with our feelings about and our perceptions of absolute moral truth as opposed to emotional sovereignty.
Do we base truth on God and the scriptures or on feelings? Is our philosophy, one that comes from the scriptures of come let us reason? Or is it if it feels good, do it?
And so people are making their decisions on these kinds of things. You know, you got rugged individualism against individual entitlement. You’ve got respect for our past the traditions, the customs, the institutions that have made America what it is versus less a race, deny, or rewrite our history so that it makes us feel good. You’ve got all of these kinds of issues.
Abandoning Absolute Truth
We’ve got to consider why because all of these choices that people made gave us the results that we got. And they will continue to give us the results that we’re going to get if we’re not aware of this and addressing this. And so as we look back at this election, election fraud was predictable.
I mean, you look at the abandonment of absolute moral truth. In favor of truth based on feelings, what you wind up with is a philosophy of the ends justify the means. And so if you believe that your candidate should win, you will do whatever you must do to make sure that that candidate wins. Rule rules have no place. Rule of law has no place in that kind of an environment. People essentially become a law unto themselves.
You look at things like the urban unrest that we’ve been experiencing, the rioting, the looting, the personal violence, all of that comes from part of the worldview that indicates that Americans at this point generally have a disrespect for human life. And again, over the past year, we’ve been doing a big survey called the American Worldview Inventory.
We’ve been releasing that data every two weeks more and more of it. And you can begin to put together the underlying foundations of America’s morals, their beliefs that determine their kinds of choices.
And what we see there, for instance, is that right now, only 39% of adults in America believe that human life is sacred. We know that right now, a majority of Americans say that the only people that they will consistently respect are those who hold the same political and religious views that they do. And it goes on and on and on.
There are a lot of those kinds of things. But in this mindset, violence is not wrong if it produces a desired positive outcome. Why? Because the ends justify the means.
Alright, got interrupt just for a second, got to take a quick break. We’ll be right back, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
A Moment From AMERICAN HISTORY
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. In the early 1700s, the Reverend John Wise preached that all men were created equal, that taxation without representation was tyranny, and that God’s preferred form of government was the consent of the governed: all of which is language recognizable on the Declaration of Independence. Why?
Because in 1772, the Sons of Liberty led by founders such as Sam Adams and John Hancock, reprinted and distributed the Reverend Wise’s sermons. So four years later, much of the declaration reflected the language of those sermons by John Wise. In 1926, on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, President Calvin Coolidge affirmed “The thoughts in the declaration can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was saying.”
Few today know that the Declaration was so strongly influenced by the Reverend John Wise. For more information on this and other stories, go to wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. We’re going to dive right back in with George Barna speaking at the ProFamily Legislators Conference.
A Look At the Democrat Platform
We can look at the Democratic platform. And what I’ve done is I’ve kind of juxtaposed the two platforms here, the GOP platform, the Democratic platform, on a number of key issues. And what I can tell you from the research is that objectively, across the country, the Democratic platform is more favorable to the American population. I’ll talk about reasons for that in just a moment, and then in a few minutes, we’re now a different twist on it.
But it’s important to understand why it is that when you look at some of these things, I mean, if you just read the essence of the Democratic platform, those of us coming from what is probably the point of view of most of us, it makes no sense. It’s like this is a joke, right? You’re not serious. But they’re totally serious. Now, how can that be the more popular platform? The reason is because so many of us haven’t stopped to think about what’s the underlying values that support that perspective of life.
And so for instance, when David Barton and I wrote a book called U-Turn a few years back, one of the things that we looked at a lot of the historical documents they all will see on Sunday morning if you go to the library. And looking at that there was no George Gallup back in the 1600s, but you could put together a lot of the documentation because they documented everything that they believed, everything that they taught, what was talked about in their town hall meetings, all of these kinds of things are documented for us.
So you can put that together and discern, well, what was the underlying value system early America? What enabled this country to be what it became the greatest nation in the history of the world? Well, it was things like civic duty, and faith and family, frugality, etc, all the things that you see in the left hand column up there.
But then when you go to our research today, and you look at what are the 10 prevailing values in American society today, belonging, choice, comfort, entertainment, entitlement, experiences, expression, freedom, happiness, independence, completely different.
One of the things you don’t need a degree to analyze is what’s the similarity between those two lists? What are the overlapping values? Answer, there are none.
We have completely shifted our value system. What difference does that make? Because when you look at that list on the right, each of those corresponds to policy positions. Each of those corresponds to the types of leaders that people are going to support for public office.
And so if your value is choice, of course, you’re going to be pro-abortion, of course, you’re going to be pro-gay marriage, of course, you’re going to say you should determine your own gender; of course, we’re going to say open the borders, anybody ought to be able to come in; of course, you’re going to say there is no absolute moral truth, let me determine it for myself, of course, you’re going to say don’t try to put moral restrictions on me, I’m my own wall.
You know, if your value is comfort, you’re going to take great joy in the fact that the government is offering to make your life decisions for you. That simply removes the responsibility, the anxiety, the challenges that you would otherwise face, because now the elite, those who know better will make those choices for you.
If your value is entitlement, you’re going to be excited by things like welfare and Obamacare and the possibility of free college and unemployment payments. This is great because we ought to get those because we’re Americans, we’re entitled to that kind of support.
If your value is experiences, sure, everybody should be having sex with each other. Don’t let that pesky thing of marriage and commitment gets in the way. If it feels good, do it. Protesting, of course, I have the right to protest and to burn things down and to loot, and to call people names and slander them and label them.
That’s my right as an American. Shoplifting and not worrying about being arrested, and if I do get arrested, I’m out in five minutes because we’re getting rid of bail restrictions. Of course, that’s a great experience to have. This is the way Americans are thinking today.
How Did Our Values Change?
And so we ought not be surprised that the Democratic Party, the liberal or progressive approach is making gains in our country. How can that happen? How did we get to the place where these are the values of Americans today? It’s because we have a silent church. We have an invisible church.
We have a church that is scared to stand up and speak God’s truth to a people who are essentially experiencing and practicing anarchy. Why is that? Well, a lot of different reasons. We don’t have time for that. That’s a seminar in itself.
But the issue here is that our research shows that most senior pastors or Protestant churches across the country tell us that they don’t believe God ever called them to be a leader, that they were never gifted by God to lead, that they’ve been called and gifted for ministry, but the nature of that ministry is to preach or teach.
There’s a massive difference between being a teacher and a leader. And the problem is that the model that we have for church in America demands that if you want to be able to exercise your gift of preaching or teaching, you have to pretend to be a leader so that you get the platform.
But the problem is the church, the people of God suffer as a result of that pretense. And so during the course of the crisis like we’ve been experiencing lately, the church’s without leadership. Very few churches have had the leaders with the guts, the commitment, and the sense of calling from God to stand up for his truths.
We’re in a situation where part of the issue is that the way that churches in America measure success is by five different metrics. Again, our research tells us that most churches measure five things: how many people show up, how much money they raise, how many programs they offer, how many staff they fired, and how much square footage they built out.
And again, Jesus didn’t die for any of those. And yet, that is what we’re measuring to figure out whether or not we have a successful ministry. You get what you measure, key principles, statistical measurement, you get what you measure.
And if you’re going to measure basically size as the key metric for whether or not you’re effective, you’re not going to say anything that’s controversial, because people won’t come back. And so once again, we’ve got the wrong people in the significant places.
We also have churches that have been so intent on passing along information that we’ve done virtually nothing to help people figure out what to do with that information. How do you integrate these biblical principles into a lifestyle, that’s how you get the value set that I showed you before, if you don’t integrate biblical principles, if you have an intellectual knowledge of them –
but they never make it to your heart, and out through your lifestyle. The church in America is partly responsible for the crisis that we have today.
The conclusion that I’ll draw just from this first thing that I want you to be thinking about in relation to where we stand today is that we knew, well, some of us knew, all of us could have known that these things were coming, and we should have prepared for them. And I’m telling you right now, we better be preparing for it for two years from now, four years from now, for six years from now, because the worldview of America doesn’t change overnight.
Think about it a worldview as the operating system of a human being. Everybody has a worldview. Your worldview is the thing that you need to make decisions. It’s your mental, emotional, spiritual, intellectual filter for helping you understand the world and respond to it, helping you figure out who you want to be.
The nature of your identity, is society going to determine it, or is God going to determine it? All these key choices that you’ve got to deal with, that’s your worldview in operation.
Who Has a Truly Biblical Worldview?
Every choice that you make, every second of every day is filtered through your worldview, your worldview drives it. And the reality is, while everybody has a worldview. Most of us don’t have the same worldview. And in fact, very few people, our research shows only 6% of American adults have a biblical worldview, a predominantly biblical worldview.
Now, I will tell you that I’ve been doing this kind of research on worldview for more than a quarter century, interviewed tens and tens of thousands of people specifically about their worldview. I have yet to find the first person who has a pure worldview. No matter what it is. And there are many different worldviews.
You can look at all these different worldviews that people get to choose from. And the fact of the matter is nobody has a pure worldview of any of these types. What we do is we cut and paste. We get exposed information from all these things, and it’s based on what we personally determined to be right in most cases.
6% of people who’ve said, well, I’m going to allow the Bible to teach me what’s right. And that’s what’s going to dictate. For the rest of Americans, the other 94 out of every 100, they just cut and paste from these other worldviews, even a few things from a biblical worldview. If it makes sense if it feels good, if it’s comfortable, that’s the basis on which they’re making these decisions.
Alright, friends, quick break, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back to Wallbuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. We’re going to dive right back in with George Barna speaking at the ProFamily Legislators Conference.
For you as legislators, I want you to be thinking about the fact that the people that you represent are not thinking biblically. And so you’ve got to understand, well, how are they thinking. Some of them, you know, with some issues are going to take a neo-Marxist perspective on things like economics, where they’re thinking that economic equality feels right. And so therefore, we ought to change our economic system.
Some people may take some postmodern perspectives which would help you to understand from a postmodern view, there is no absolute moral truth, it’s all about your feelings, and therefore, your experiences and your relationships are really what matter. Why? Because the ultimate goal is for you to be happy, happiness. And so everything goes through that filter for them, for those who buy into elements of modern mysticism.
You know, I mean, part of the philosophy there is that people are good. And so we don’t need laws that are going to place limitations on people. You know, what we need to do is just let them follow their own desires, because ultimately, that’s going to lead them to the best outcome.
Secular humanists, you know, they don’t believe that there’s any kind of an existing God, certainly not one who would participate in people’s lives, not one who would give us guidance for how to think about these kinds of issues.
These are the kinds of things I’m encouraging you as a legislator to think about. And you may be saying, but wait a minute, I’m in the government politics lane, I’m not in the religion lane. newsflash, you are, you’re in both lanes. Okay. And God bless you for being there. But what that means is that you’ve got to be thinking about yourself as a worldview developer.
We’ve had this stupid idea in American society for decades and decades, you can’t legislate morality. You can’t legislate anything but morality, because morality is simply identifying the difference between right and wrong. And what the law does is it codifies for a society what we consider to be right, what we consider to be wrong, we’ll reward you for doing right, we will punish you for doing wrong. That’s what the law does.
Bring Truth Into Politics
And just like biblical law gives us those same kinds of clear admonitions about how to think and to live, who to be, what to support, that’s partly your role is to help people see morality from God’s perspective. And so this is not necessarily bringing religion into politics. This is bringing truth into politics.
And so the best thing you can do is to be thinking about how can you actually be a leader, a role model, who helps God’s people to have the opportunity to bring renewal to the culture, because you have helped to shape their minds and their hearts to be able to live a life that not only honors God, but because it honors him, it advances us as human beings.
God’s word was given to us to give us a better life, not to restrict us, not to take the joy out of life, but to put the joy back into life. And so, the more that we can bring that into the public sphere, the better off we’ll be. I’d suggest you that in thinking about these things, do it while counting the cost, understanding the nature of the context in which you’re going to play.
If we look, for instance, at people who would consider themselves to be Protestants, in this election, there was 9.0% decline in share of turnout among Protestants, there was 2.0% increase among Catholics, under a category of people I’ve called the “Don’ts”. The “Don’ts” are those who don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe.
They don’t know if God exists. They don’t care if he exists. They don’t believe that he exists. That is the fastest growing faith group in America, has been for the last 15 years. It’s continuing to grow.
Now it’s beginning to show its muscle in the political arena. There was an eight percentage point growth in the share of “Don’ts” voting in this election. “Don’ts” vote by more than 2:1 margin for the most liberal candidate that they can find in every election.
And so that’s what we’re facing today. If you look at the vote in 2016 compared to 2020, and you look at the shift in votes for the Democratic candidate for President Donald Trump in both cases, what you find is because of larger turnout, even though we had 9.0 share loss among Protestants turning out this year, there were more that turned out in total.
How Worldview Caused 2020 Events, Part 1 – With George Barna
So we actually had 4.7 million more Protestants vote for President Trump this time than last time, but that was more than compensated for by Catholic switching back in the 2016 election. It was the first time in more than two for years that Catholics voted for the Republican candidate. In 2020, they reverted back to the normal process. And the majority of them voted for the Democratic candidate. 2.8 million votes swing among Catholics.
Look at the “Don’ts”, and again, we’ve got a big swing there, a net loss within the religious community. This doesn’t even look at people who are associated with other faiths, who essentially by 2:1 margin vote for the progressive Democratic candidates. So things are actually worse than I’m showing you. But I’m depressing you enough, so I didn’t want to put everything on there. Hey. it’s my job.
You know, as we look at the future, what we know is that engagement with Protestant church is going to continue to shrink and with that will be continued shrinkage of conservative votes coming out of that sector of society.
Alright, friends, we got to interrupt George Barna again because we are out of time for today. So tomorrow, we will get the conclusion of his presentation. So if you missed, maybe you dialed in, got in the program today just halfway through, the entire program’s available for you right now at wallbuilderslive.com, and then tomorrow, the second part will be available. But we’ll leave the first part up there as well so that you can share the entire presentation with your friends and family. Real treat to have George Barna with us. Thank you so much for listening today. Stay tuned for tomorrow, and we’ll get the conclusion with George Barna. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.