ProFamily Legislators’ Conference With George Barna – Part 1: Our worldview is critical to understanding the cultural and political landscape of America. Tune in now to learn how we can help re-shape and bring light to incorrect worldviews.
Air Date: 12/02/2019
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
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith and the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Normally, we’re having that conversation on a daily basis with David Barton, America’s premier historian and Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor. But those guys aren’t going to be with us today and I’m Rick Green, I’m not going to be with you for much longer because we’re going to take you to the ProFamily Legislators Conference where George Barna gave an incredible presentation and you’re going to want to listen close to this.
It’s going to take two days, so we’re going to do this today and tomorrow. Make sure you don’t miss the conclusion tomorrow and then of course after tomorrow, both episodes will be available on our website at wallbuilderslive.com. Either way, visit the website wallbuilderslive.com today, be sure and consider making that one-time or monthly contribution. We appreciate your support as listeners. Let’s take it out to the ProFamily Legislators Conference. Here’s George Barna.
ProFamily Legislators’ Conference With George Barna
Well, thank you very much, it really is a privilege to be back here again. You know, I knew that this wasn’t in church because churches never had me back a second time, so it’s great to be here. What I want to do is talk with you today about some information I put together for you related to what I believe are some of the barriers to progress that are holding back America from becoming what God intended it to be and certainly what it could be.
When we look in America today, I mean we know of course and you encountered this all the time in your work, Americans are angry. They’re angry because they’re not getting the kind of country they think they ought to have, they should have. They’re not getting many of the opportunities. They’re not experiencing the kind of life that they think they deserve. And of course, that’s a hallmark of American thinking these days is we think we deserve better no matter what it is we have. That’s a different issue we can talk about another time.
Seven Mountains of Cultural Influence
But when we look at all of these kinds of issues, I would suggest to you that if we want to make a difference in our culture, many of you although I’ve discovered my discussions with some of you, you’ve never heard of this idea of the Seven Mountains of Cultural Influence. The idea behind it being that if you really want to impact a culture, it’s important for you to understand that there are seven dominant entities and dimensions of the culture if you will that impact the very nature, character and future of that geographic entity, in this case, the United States. The idea here is if we want to revive America we really do have to address these seven dominant entities of influence.
But I want to tell you that having been doing this research for 40 some years now, even a dullard like me after a while figures out a few things. And one of the things I’ve figured out is that if we really want to make a difference, we’ve got to get at the fundamental problem, the real root of the problem that we’re struggling with and in America, that’s worldview.
And so I’m going to talk to you for a few minutes about worldview, maybe you’ve heard all this, maybe you’ve read all this, you could probably present this better than me, some of you. But I think it’s important as the basis of what I’m going to talk about. After that will be 12 particular steps we can take and 3 of those particular mountains that every one of you is involved in. So I want to make it personal, okay, don’t hate me for this but I’m hoping that we can begin to lead in a different way.
Understand that when we talk about worldview, everybody has one, you need to have a worldview to get by, because your worldview is the mental, emotional and spiritual filter that you use to make sense of the world and to determine what kind of responses you’re going to have to that world. And so without that filter, you just be a blob, you wouldn’t know what to do, you wouldn’t know what to make of what’s going on in the world around you. So you need to have that worldview. Everybody is got one.
Your Worldview Is The Sum Of Everything You Believe
And realize that it’s important from another perspective, it’s not just a body of information that sits in your mind. Your worldview is what takes that information, analyzes, organizes it, gives you options for response and consequently, it is the sum of everything you believe. And that’s important because, hear this, you do what you believe, you do what you believe. Therefore your worldview is the thing that determines the behavior that comes out of your life.
There are a lot of different options but your worldview determines what is. Why does that matter? Because if you’ve been called to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, a disciple is an imitator of the one who goes before you. And so the idea of being an imitator of Christ and having a biblical worldview is you want to live like Jesus, but you can’t live like Jesus until first, you think like Jesus. That’s why Romans 12:12 tells us, you’ve got to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Okay, we got to change your mind in order to change your behavior. And so this worldview issue is critically important.
Most People In America Have No Idea There Is Such A Thing As A Worldview
Unfortunately, most people in America have no idea there is such a thing as a worldview. When they hear the term worldview if it happens to get used in a newscast, they think that we’re talking about what’s happening overseas in different countries. They have no view that they personally have a worldview that’s dictating the norms and activities in their life.
Now having studied literally tens and tens of thousands of people across the country and dissecting their worldview, putting labels on and understand the contours of it, trying to figure out how it got there, what it’s going to take to alter it, one of the things I can tell you is having studied tens of thousands of worldviews, I have yet to find my first American with a pure worldview.
We Don’t Think Objectively And Intentionally About Worldview
What happens in America is no matter what your dominant worldview is, whether it’s a biblical worldview, whether it’s post-modernism, existentialism, Marxism, secular humanism, name them all, doesn’t matter what your dominant one is. What I find is that we tend to do because we don’t think objectively and intentionally about worldview development and most of us have never been in situations where somebody had a plan for our life were giving us a particular worldview was their primary objective.
It happens through osmosis. And in that process, what takes place is we hear or see or experience things we’d like. We said, well, that’s good, I’m going to embrace that as part of my life. And so before you know it, we have a synchronistic process taking place where we’re cutting and pasting different ideas, different activities, putting it all together pasting it together in what ultimately becomes our worldview.
That’s A Problem
Now, why is that a problem? Because as I also looked at so many well-intentioned and in many cases well-funded individuals who are trying to change our culture, they talk about we’ve got to address what’s going on in our country. And so they’ll look at the seven mountains and they’ll say, we’ve got to change our political institutions; we’ve got to change our schools; we’ve got to change this; we’ve got to change that, without recognizing that until you change the worldview of America, we’re just addressing the symptom, not the disease.
I’d suggest to you if you looked at all the different things that are plaguing our country today and this isn’t even a down payment on all the things that are plaguing us. But if you would look at all of these and you thought about where that idea came from, you’d be able to start identified the very different worldviews that have given us that kind of thinking. And because we’ve embraced those different worldviews, it has changed our behavior.
You know, a few years ago, David Barton and I wrote a book called U-Turn. And one of the interesting things to me at least that we got to do in it as we were doing all the research for the background of the book, was we looked at a lot of the documents that he has from colonial America.
The Nine Core Values Of Colonial America
And back in the late 1700s or early 1800s, there was no Gallup organization that I could go into the archives of and figure out what was the worldview of America, couldn’t figure out what were the morals of America, what were the values of America from survey research. In fact, Mr Gallup Senior hadn’t been born yet to invent Survey Research. But what we did have was many, many documents, so many of which David has out in his library which I pray that you will go and check it out if you’ve never been there, it’s amazing. Great, great stuff.
But when you go through that, you are able to get a sense of the valleys of the country. It’s a much longer talk about how well that’s happened. The point I want to make is when we put together the core values, the 9-core values of colonial America and compared it to the 10-core values of America today, there wasn’t a single value that overlapped. Why is that? Because the worldview of Americans has changed so radically that our core values have shifted along with it and therefore we think and behave very differently than we used to.
And so when we want to change America and this is where I start getting in your face a little bit, forgive me I don’t mean it derogatorily or aggressively, but I want you to be thinking about the fact that you can pass all the laws you want and it’s not going to make a hill beans a difference in the end until you change the worldview of Americans, because their choices are not springing from your laws, it’s springing from their worldviews.
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
Hey friends, Rick Green here from WallBuilders Live. What do Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, Ben Shapiro, Rick Green, Tim Barton, David Barton, what all these folks have in common other than the fact that they’re conservative commentators that defend the Constitution and educate America on the Constitution. They’re all raving about Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.
In fact, if you go to my website right now today at rickgreen.com, you can watch the video of Dennis Prager training at front side or Larry Elder training the front side or Tim Barton and myself training out there front side. It’s an opportunity for you to learn how to defend yourself and your family to make sure that you’re ready and able to do that. It is a fantastic place to train. They train literally 30,000-40,000 people a year and they’re just wonderful to work with. And you can go with us, we’re headed back out. We’re going to have a great time out there as the WallBuilders family.
And if you’re a supporter of WallBuilders, we have an amazing deal for you, it’s actually going to cost you one-tenth the normal price to attend this two-day handgun training because you’re going with us and you’ll also get the Constitution crash course. I’ll be teaching on the constitution. You’ll get the intellectual ammunition that you need to defend the Second Amendment and our Constitution as well as getting the physical training on how to defend yourself and your family. And this is for everyone: guys, gals, everyone should take this class. For no matter how much you shot your whole life or if you’ve never touched a gun, learn how to defend your family.
We’re going to be going several times throughout the year and we would love to have you be a part of that. Check out rickgreen.com today to find out the dates and all the specifics and getting all of your questions answered. Check out rickgreen.com today to join us on this front sight trip for both your constitutional and your handgun defense training.
The Dominant One In America Today Is Post-Modernism
Many different worldviews that people get to choose from, the dominant one in America today is post-modernism. There’s a lot of different principles that underlie this philosophy of life if you will. But among the most important ones are, first of all, they say we don’t know if there’s such a thing as God, in fact, nobody can know. And the importance of that is you ought not to wind yourself around that idea very carefully. And you also have to understand therefore it’s improper, it’s inappropriate for you to impose that view on other people.
Absolute Moral Truth
Secondly, they’ll say there’s no such thing as absolute moral truth. All truth relates to the individual and his or her circumstances in any given moment. And it’s improper for you to tell somebody that they’re wrong: they’re the only one that can know right and wrong in their own life. They’ll talk about the importance of experiences and relationships as surpassing everything else and important…
So post-modernism has a particular way of living life that many people are fond of, even though they’ve never thought about the ultimate implications of it. But when we start talking about developing a biblical worldview, this is where we get into trouble. Because today in America, only 7 out of every 100 adults has a biblical worldview. 7 out of every 100. That number has been on to decline for the last 25 years as I’ve been studying it.
3 Out Of 4 Christians Do Not Have A Biblical Worldview
Many people have said well, you know, what the good news is we’ve got the Christian body, we’ve got born-again Christians and churches all over the country and they’re going to win the day for Christ. Well, I pray that that’s true. But I’ll tell you this if they do win the day for Christ, it’s not going to be because of their worldview. 3 out of 4 of them do not have a biblical worldview. We’ll talk about that a little bit more in just a few moments.
But we’re operating with the church, Christian people, individuals, who when I call them born-again it’s not because they call themselves born again, it’s because in my research we don’t use that terminology. We ask people what do you think will happen to you after you die? And we have the 9 most common reasons that we’ve tested found Americans buying into.
23% Of Born-Again Christians Have A Biblical Worldview
And one of those is after I die, I know I will go to heaven only because I’ve confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour. That particular group of people, that 28 or 29% of the population are the ones that I will classify as born-again Christian, even though a lot of them wouldn’t even take on that label. But it’s with that 28% of the population, only 23 for them and 23% of them have a biblical worldview and it’s getting worse as time goes on.
Look at the generational pattern, it wasn’t good to start with. But when we look at it the younger a person is, the less likely they are to have a biblical worldview. So you look at the elders, you look at the boomers, jointly, they’re at about 9% of those two generations have a biblical worldview with the Gen-Xers or the Baby Busters, you got about 7%, it drops down to 4% for Millennials. I’m going to show you something a moment that indicates that the next generations on target to be even lower.
The Next Generation Is On Target To Be Even Lower
So we’ve got to be addressing this core issue. We can look at this why because you do what you believe. If you want to be like Christ, you got to think like Christ. And does this really make a difference? Yes. This is not just an academic construct.
Pause for a moment, let you know I am essentially a trained sociologist. I love to work with numbers, numbers that study what goes on in a society, that’s what we do. And when I get a new data set from a new national survey, there’s a big celebration in the Barna home. Okay. And because it gives me the stuff that I love to work with and it speaks to me, it doesn’t speak to a lot of people but it speaks to me. And one of the things that happens is you start to dissect all the different segments. You do this in your campaign polls, I get started this campaign pollster.
And so you do this. You look at men versus women, young versus old, white versus black, all the different demo breakouts that you check out. And you look for these differences of 4, 5, 6, 8 percentage points and when you see him, you shout, hallelujah, look there’s a difference. Now I can differentiate the way that on marketing to these people.
It’s Almost As If We Were Studying Two Different Planets
What I brought that up to tell you is when I look at the difference between one particular pair of groups, those who have a biblical worldview and those who don’t, as a sociologist, I’m in Fantasyland. It’s unbelievable. Because the typical difference between those who do and don’t have a biblical worldview is anywhere from 30 to 80 percentage points. In other words, it’s almost as if we were studying two different planets. That’s how different these groups of people are.
But look, it impacts everything and we’re not going to go through all the numbers, I’ll send you the numbers, but just get the big picture. Ideologically, massively different in terms of what we do with Israel, in terms of where your rights come from five to one margin between the groups. You can look at different faith perspectives. What people believe, again radically different based upon their worldview. You can look at people’s life perspectives, what you think the culture is doing to children, what you think is going on in our nation, what you think about this idea of absolute moral truth, radically different, what you think the role of faith is in a person’s life, what kind of role it should play, once again radically different. All of these things are changed by trying to think like Jesus so that you can act like Jesus.
Think About All the Issues You Deal With On A Daily Basis
So we look at all this and I want you to be thinking about all the issues that you deal with on a day to day basis. Whether it’s pornography or socialism or immigration or abortion, whatever it may be or any of the other what. You’re not really dealing with that immigration, what you’re dealing with is worldview. Because the choices that people make on any of those indicators, any of those issues comes directly from their worldview.
Here’s something critical for you to understand that I hope will begin to shape your thinking about family policy, about educational policy, about many different policies. And that’s that when a person’s worldview forms is between 15 to 18 months of age and 13 years of age. A person’s worldview forms between roughly 15 months of age and 13 years of age. That’s not to say if the Holy Spirit can’t come in and change somebody’s worldview like that because of course, that happens. Holy Spirit doesn’t even need my approval to do it.
On Average, American’s Worldview Is In Place By The Age of 13
But again, I’m a sociologist, I work with averages, okay. And I will tell you that on average, the large bulk of Americans, their worldview is in place by the age of 13. What we know is it shapes virtually everything about how they see and respond to life. It shapes their morals. It shapes their faith. It shapes their relationships. It shapes their dreams for the future. It shapes their education that they pursue. It shapes anything that you can identify because your worldview is the operating system of the human body. That’s where you’ve figured it all out and based on what you figured out, you take action. And so we’ve got to address this issue, recognizing that that worldview is being shaped by the media at 15 months of age, by families at 15 months of age, by peers at 15 months of age, by schools or everything that’s in their environment is beginning to shape it.
Here’s the second thing that I want you to remember. I also found from a longitudinal study I did where I was looking at people’s worldviews. That with very few sections and a few minor modifications, you will die believing essentially what you age 13.
America’s Hidden History
Hi, this is David Barton and this is Tim Barton. We want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday nights. Now TBN is a Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History. In this season, it’s called America’s Hidden Heroes. The reason is we highlight heroes from American history for years. We’ve been focusing on the forgotten history heroes of the nation and now we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.
These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location, we go to the site, we show you where the events happen and it’s a story of folks like Bronco Charlie and stagecoach Mary and Jedediah Smith and Robert Smalls and so many inspiring folks.
Now, this happens every Thursday night and the time is going to be different based on where you live, either way. We think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you and learning some of these great stories from America’s Hidden History.
Every One Of Us In Here Is A Culture Warrior
Every one of us in here is a culture warrior. We’re fighting the good fight for Christ, but that culture war, by and large, is won or lost by age 13. Because once your worldview is in place, it’s incredibly difficult to dislodge it. It takes an enormous amount of time and resources and wisdom and strategy to try to drag out all that junk that’s been placed in there by the world. It’s already in place. We’ve already accepted is the way that we’re going to do business in the world. And so now to come along and say, oh all that stuff that you’ve bought into, it’s completely wrong. What do we do? We shut it down. We say, no sir, I got it figured out.
And you know between the years of like 13 or 14 years of age and mid to late-20s, that’s a period of time where we’ve still got a chance to turn it around because that’s when people typically are trying to refine the rough edges. They’re trying to articulate it so that they can get it across other people. It’s also a time when we can if we know how adequately challenged that worldview. But the best time to get there, the most appropriate time is before the age of 13.
We’re In A Spiritual War
So when we think about the big picture, of course, we’re in a spiritual war. Some of you would say, we’re in a political war, we’re not, it’s all ultimately spiritual. And because of that, we have to go back and attack the root of the war itself and that is people’s worldview. I would contend that if we’re going to turn this around from where we stand today, it’s going to be at least a 40-year process. We didn’t get here overnight, we’re not going to turn it around overnight.
So we got to dig in, we got to be ready we got to be raising enough people who are going to come behind us and continue to fight with us and for us when we’re no longer capable. Recognize that we’ve got a fight on all seven fronts, which means everybody was going to be involved. We got to leave it all on the battlefield and you personally have a significant role.
Rethinking America’s Worldview
Now what I want to do with the rest of the time here is in this framework of rethinking America’s worldview, reshaping the worldview of the future that dominates American culture, what can you do? And what I want to do it in is three of those seven mountains, we can deal with all seven another time if you want. But I know that everybody in this room relates to at least three of those mountains. We’re going to talk about government. We’re going to talk about church. We’re going to talk about family. Those three mountains, they’re things that you can do. And so I want you to look at some of the options, be thinking about them, praying about them, figuring out what makes the most sense. But the ultimate objective is we need to raise the incidence of Americans with a biblical worldview.
The Area Of Family
Let’s first of all look at this whole area of families, what can we do there? We know that families, parents still have a dramatic impact on the worldview development of their children. And so, therefore, we need to take advantage of that. The problem that we’ve got is when parents are developing the worldview of their children, 19 out of 20 of them are not giving their kids a biblical worldview. We can look at it this way.
Currently, among the parents of children 5 to 13 years old, we know that only 5% of them have a biblical worldview. Why does that matter? Because you can’t give what you don’t have and so 19 out of 20 of them don’t have a biblical worldview. Even if they heard a presentation like this and said, I’m on it, I like it, I want to be part of the solution, they wouldn’t know what to do. So we’ve got to start thinking through, how do we turn it around with parents? What can we do to support them to help them, to propel them forward in this process?
How Do We Raise Up A Group Of Young People
Secondly, as we’re trying to think about how do we raise up a group young people who have a bit political worldview, one of the things that we found is that it’s important that the parents, first of all, get married which is less and less common these days and secondly, when they get married, they stay married. Why is that? Well, apart from all the biblical admonitions about how it honors Christ, if we just look at the sociological data about the impacts of divorce on the lives of young children, we can begin to see that there are many at-risk behaviors that are more likely to emerge when their parents are not together in the household and there are also a lot of emotional challenges that those kids are going to face for the rest of their life. This, we also find relates to being derailed from developing a biblical worldview.
We are out of time for today. Folks, you’ve been listening to George Barna, he was speaking at the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference, is something we do once a year with state reps and senators from across the country. And we have presentations at that training during that weekend that sometimes fit for our radio audience and we want to share them with you. So we’ll be doing a few of those. As we head towards the end of the year, we’ll share some of those powerful presentations from the Legislators Conference with you and this is the first one we’re sharing.
It’s George Barna, we couldn’t get it all in today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow, you’ll get the conclusion of that presentation. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.