The 10 Most Seductive Unbiblical Ideas Embraced By Americans- With George Barna: Why do the actions of many Americans seem random or illogical? How do most Americans figure out what is “right” or “true”? Should tolerance be embraced over truth? Is it important for the majority of Americans to maintain a Biblical worldview? What is the true definition of success? Tune in to hear this insightful interview with George Barna and discover safeguards against deception!
Air Date: 09/14/2021
Guest: George Barna
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â 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 Walluilders Live, the intersection of faith and the culture, taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. I’m Rick Green former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach; here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder of Walluilders; and also Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of Walluilders.
David, Tim, we got George Barna coming on later in the program. And of course, David, you’ve written a book with George. He does incredible research on all kinds of attitudes of Christians, beliefs of Christians, and others in the culture. One of the most quoted, I think, maybe the most quoted pollster in America, and we’re going to be talking about some of those seductive evil ideas that cause people to stray from a biblical worldview.
Yeah, we’ve seen in recent years how that a biblical worldview, the numbers have been plummeting. There’s not many Christians today that think biblically because not many Christians read or study the Bible. And the Bible tells us that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
In other words, what you spend your time thinking about is what you become. Well, if you’re not thinking about the Bible, and what God says his standards, you don’t become like his standards, you don’t reflect that, you don’t ingest that. You don’t show that in your life. Here’s what God thinks about this. Here’s what God says.
And so in many ways, what happens is we then become our own gods. We determine what’s right and wrong for us. We set our own standards. If you go back into the book of Jeremiah, and the Bible talks about God is the potter and we are the clay.
He’s the one who makes us. He shapes us. He’s the one who gives us our being, our purpose. Well, now we’re the potter, we’re deciding what we’re going to be. We’re going to make ourself into something. We’re going to think this way. And we become the gods of our own destiny in many ways.
Beliefs About Moral Truth
And so this is where we see right now in polling that two out of three Americans think there is no absolute moral truth. I’ll make my own standards. I’ll make my own truth.
I’ll tell you what’s right and wrong. And this is a lack of biblical worldview. So the question Georgia asked is okay, what are the 10 most seductive ideas among those who don’t have a biblical worldview?
In other words, what are the 10 thoughts that most dominate the thinking of people who don’t think biblically? And what we know is that most Christians don’t think biblically. So really, what he’s doing is confronting ideas that are counter-biblical, but yet they’re ideas that many Christians hold and embrace, which doesn’t make a healthy culture.
Well, and I think it’s interesting too, that a lot of Christians have no idea that they’re being unbiblical. But part of it is a little bit like Romans 1, where Paul talks about people that instead of worshipping the Creator, they worship the creation, and you see people that are trying to make God in their image, instead of trying to be in God’s image, where we know the problem in Romans that we’ve been in predetermined to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus is what he says, I think, it’s Romans 8:31, maybe it’s somewhere in there. But it’s Romans 8.
And the notion that we’re supposed to God’s design for us was to live like Jesus. And so often, you have people that want to justify their life or promote ideas saying well, I think God likes this. I think this will make God happy.
I think… And anytime you’re starting off with I think, and you’re following up with God happy or God would like it, that’s just a pretty good indication that maybe you’re not having a biblical perspective on the issue.
And this is something that far too often we know that Christians don’t spend time in God’s Word on a daily basis. It’s something that we’ve talked about in this program for years that one of the things that we try to do every single year as individuals is go to the Bible at least once a year. And that’s something that I mean, literally for decades, guys, we’ve been doing that just studying the Bible.
And I love the fact that even on this radio program, every now and then we’ll say something, and we’ll have a listener write in and say, “Hey, you said this; I think you meant this.”
Acquiring a Biblical Worldview
And they’ll even help point out where the Bible actually says if we say something that maybe misquote a verse or got something wrong, which, fortunately, we don’t have too many of those emails, but it’s great that even the audience, I mean we are largely a group that we care about the Word of God and want to follow the Word of God.
But this is where you get a biblical worldview. This is where that you can know your actions are aligning up with God’s will, design, plan, and purpose is you’re doing what the Bible says. We have to know what the Bible says.
When Jesus said to his disciples in John 8, that you would know the truth and the truth would set you free, you have to know the truth to be set free by the truth. And today, far too few Christians spend time in the Word of God to actually know what the truth is to be set free by that truth.
And this is where, as we’ve talked to George many times, we just know that not enough Christians are actually reading the Word of God and then trying to live according to what the Word of God says, trying to get daily guidance from the Word of God, is the life manual for what we’re doing. And this is why we’re seeing this struggle with some of these worldviews and why so many Christians are embracing things that are clearly not biblical and not godly.
And one of the things too that goes with this is we’ve been teaching in years that you’re so valuable, you’re so important, you’re so worthy, you have so much worth and that’s true if you do what God created you to do. But if you don’t do that, then that worth in value is not the same, you’re not meeting the purpose for which you are created. You’re like a shovel trying to act like a screwdriver, and it’s just not going to work.
And so what happens is you have to find your identity in the Bible. You have to find who you are in Christ. We have taught so long in the church that God loves you, God loves you so much, God loves you so much he gave his only Son, that’s true. But he wants you to conform to his image.
And just because he loves you doesn’t mean that every time you do something, he loves what you’re doing. He is very clear about holiness, which is a term not used much anymore, but it’s conforming your life to his standards. He says, be holy, I’m holy.
So that’s all throughout the scriptures. We’re saved under holiness. He says, without holiness, no man will see God. Most people can’t even find the word holiness anymore.
Making God in Our Own Image
And so what we’re doing is saying, because God loves me, because he loves me so much, I love doing this, and I know that God loves that as well. No, you can’t make God in your own image, as Tim just said.
And this is part of into where the Bible is very clear, Jesus said that you judge a tree by the fruits. And this is part of what holiness is. Holiness because people would argue and not to get into really a theological discussion or debate right now, but people would argue well, but we’re holy because the blood of Jesus. Well, it’s this notion of sanctification. Are you sanctified once forever? Or is there a process of sanctification?
And I would certainly argue that biblically speaking, the Bible tends toward the process of sanctification. Because when you read the epistles, and Paul was talking to the church in Galicia or the church in Ephesus, or the church in Corinthians, these are Christians, and he’s telling them you need to be more godly in these areas, meaning that there is, and sanctification, we’re talking about lifestyle. We’re not talking about that you are saved, and you’re going to spend eternity in heaven.
Well, this isn’t the notion of holiness, that you are living your life; holiness, something holy is something set apart on the God. We are supposed to live our lives set apart under God, workmanship, that are in Christ Jesus. We’re not ashamed because we’re doing what God’s called us to do. We’re being used by God. But that means we have to know what it is to be called by God, know what it is to live that life, set apart to be different, to live biblically.
And this dad, where you said, the point that without holiness, no man shall see God. Certainly, Jesus is what cleanses us of our sin. But it’s interesting, even if you go back to Ephesians 2:8-9, that we know by grace you’ve been saved through faith, that none of yourself, it’s a gift of God, is not of work, so no one can boast. That’s very clear. We don’t own salvation. Go to the next verse.
It says, because you have been appointed unto good works. You’re not saved by good works. But God saved you so that he could use you to go make a difference. God wants to use you for good works.
And this is part of a Christian having a biblical worldview that we recognize that our works do matter, that we’re supposed to judge a tree by the fruits. Matthew 25, the sheep and the goats, the parable that they’re separated based on what they did and didn’t do, God does care about what we do and don’t do.
Now, we can argue about what that means in salvation and what that looks like, I get it. I’m not saying you earn salvation. But the Bible is very clear that we’re supposed to bear fruit.
Jesus says in the Gospel of John, that he’s the vine, we’re the branches; apart from him, we can do nothing. In him, we are supposed to bear fruit and it’s good fruit and our fruit would remain. This is part of those principles of having a biblical worldview.
And again, not to get into a lot of theology and have this conversation and discussion and not to raise any controversy, but this is why it matters we have a biblical worldview. And this is where George Barna is better than anybody we know at helping investigate and analyze where culture is, and where Christians are when it comes to these issues of having a biblical worldview.
Quick break, when we come back, George Barna, our special guest today. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
The AMERICAN STORY
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today.
And we would say very providentially in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things, like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not out the statement Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.
Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story starting with Christopher Columbus, going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people.
But the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out wallbuilders.com, The American Story.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Always good to have our friend George Barna with us. George, thanks for some time today, man.
Welcome George Barna
Rick, good to be with you as always.
Hey, you guys are always doing incredible research. And we saw this most seductive unbiblical ideas that are actually embraced by Americans, so they must be effectively seductive because so many Americans believe in them. And you guys are saying, look, you know, we’ve got to be aware of the false teachings that have been adopted.
So help us understand how, first of all, before we go through the list, why we should be paying attention to this? And then let’s go through the list. And then what do we do about it? But let’s start with why is it important whether or not majority of Americans start buying into these false ideas?
Well, as you know, Rick, a person’s worldview is what enables them to make decisions. And so as we look around at our culture, so many of us are so concerned about Cancel culture and all the other nonsense that’s happening around us.
And we keep asking the question, why is this happening? Why is this happening? Well, it’s happening because we keep buying into these wacky ideas that become part of a person’s philosophy of life.
We found through our research that people don’t have a coherent worldview, what they have is syncretism, which basically means that they’re just picking and choosing ideas from many competing worldviews. And when you put them together, they don’t make sense together. In fact, sometimes the things that we believe conflict with other things that we believe, and yet we just keep marching forward without righting those kinds of wrongs.
And so, here we’re looking at the kind of thing that the Scriptures telling us we have to take these arrant philosophies captive, and we have to hold them accountable to biblical truth, just as we’re going to be held accountable to biblical truth. That’s why it’s important that we get these ideas right.
Why Do Americans Seem Crazy?
That almost makes sense why people’s actions right now are so random and illogical. There’s no foundation or plumbline or anything to consistently come back to basically and intellectual consistency, because, like you said, they’ve just pulled ideas from all kinds of different worldviews out there that really conflict with each other. So now I understand why America is crazy.
Well, you know, and part of it is that what’s driving those choices for people to buy into these ridiculous ideas is that people believe that we’re here to be comfortable, to be secure, to be happy, to be rich, to be famous. There are all these different ideas that people have as their definition of success, rather than recognizing that success can best be defined as obedience to God and his truths. If we had that as the thing that was driving our choices, that would change a lot of what we see happening in America today.
Yeah, that’s good. Alright. Well, that’s one of the many things that is a false teaching that’s been taught out there. So hit us with some of the other ones. What are some of the ones that you think not only are in the top 10s, because we won’t have time to go through all of those, but we’ll have a link to your research, not only it’s in the top 10, but it’s doing the most damage to the culture itself?
Well, I think certainly among those would be the fact that most people don’t believe there is absolute moral truth. 67% say there’s no absolute moral truths. 58% believe that moral truth needs to be determined by each individual for him or herself, according to whatever seems right to them.
We’ve got 7 out of 10 Americans who rely upon their feelings, their experiences, or the ideas of family and friends to help them to figure out what’s right and what’s true. And only a little less than 1 out of 3 Americans who say that the Bible is their primary source of moral guidance.
So Rick, when you put all of that together, we’re basically throwing out the idea that God himself is the embodiment of truth, and that he’s dictated that truth to us in his Word, the Bible. Instead, what we’ve decided is, nah, we have a better idea. We’re not going to pay attention to the Bible.
The Vital Biblical Worldview
We’re not going to look to God for truth or for indicators of truth, or for a direction for truth. We’re going to go inside, we’re going to look at our emotions and our feelings and that’s what’s going to drive us forward. That is as scary as it gets.
And that is a philosophy adopted not just by leftist and liberals, I would argue even a lot of conservatives and libertarians that have said, hey, I can be conservative without God. I don’t need biblical values.
I just believe this because I want freedom and I want my independence. It seems like we’re in the mess we’re in and I’m watching all these kind of libertarian leaning folks rant and rave right now about the tyranny and the overreach of government. But didn’t that begin with rejecting God’s formula for how our society should work?
Yeah, it absolutely does. And we find that even though people may have a biblical worldview, 1 out of 7 people with a biblical worldview also reject the idea that there are absolute moral truths.
And you may say, whoa, how is that even possible? Isn’t that a foundation? Well, yeah, what it suggests to us is that you can have a lot are the right ideas.
And in fact, when we’re measuring people in this arena, we’re looking not for perfection, we’re looking for people who at least four out of every five times where we look at their beliefs, and then we measure their behaviors.
They’re doing things, they’re believing things that are biblical. But obviously, that’s not 100% of the time. We have yet to find our first person who has a pure worldview, whether it’s biblical worldview or any other.
And so everybody gets some stuff wrong. But I would say that to get this wrong about, is there truth, where does it come from, do we need to pay attention to it, does it need to drive us forward? You get that wrong, and it’s going to be a lot harder to get everything else right.
Yeah, seems like that would be one of the legs of the stool that if it’s gone, man, the whole thing just falls apart.
Only One Way?
You know, part I think what maybe led to that one was another one you have on the list about as long as you have some kind of faith, that’s more important than what particular faith you have. I mean, that’s basically saying, just believe in something, believe in anything, and it’s essentially moral relativism.
Yeah. And we’ve got almost 2 out of 3 Americans who possess that perspective. At the same time, we also know that 62% of people say, all religious faiths are of equal value. And again, what’s shocking here is almost half of people who have a biblical worldview accept the idea that having some type of faith, as you say, faith in something or anything, it matters more than what faith they have.
So you know, what we’re seeing is that tens and tens of millions of Americans are really struggling with the idea that Christianity is an exclusive religion. That is there is one way that’s proposed, and all other ways wrong. We live in a culture that’s telling us no, you got to be tolerant. You got to let everybody think what they want to think, do what they want to do, and just accept it.
And that’s what’s behind this idea of just have faith, it doesn’t matter which one. Well, it absolutely does matter which one. This is one of the evil one’s great lies to people. And it’s like, well, you don’t really have to believe that Jesus is the only way, you really do. And so that’s kind of where this conversation, I think, has to start with people. Jesus is the center of all of this.
I guess, is it fair to say that we basically adopted the value of tolerance over truth. Truth doesn’t matter as much as just making sure we like each other, and we accept each other no matter what.
The Beliefs Are Interrelated
Yeah, and all of these things are interrelated. If you believe there’s no such thing as absolute moral truth, then yeah, I guess it makes sense that you can believe whatever you want, you can associate with any faith that you want, you can tolerate any kind of behavior or belief that’s out there.
Now, where it gets interesting is where those beliefs and behaviors that you’re simply tolerating, you don’t buy them, but you’re tolerating them, when they start to impinge on your life, when it allows you to murder other people, when it allows individuals to borrow money from you and choose not to repay you.
You know, I mean, these are some of the kinds of things that we look at in our research. And we find more and more people saying, yeah, that’s a moral way of life. That’s a reasonable way of living. But then we find, when it happens to them, that’s when they start rethinking it.
This getting personal now.
Yeah. Kind of getting in my kitchen now. Wow, man, I mean, I guess solution-wise, this is why it’s so important to teach truth. And it sounds like maybe it’s going to become even more and more important, not only to teach the truth, teach biblical worldview and show people what the Bible teaches–
We’re going to have to get better at teaching the fallacies of these other “faiths, other worldviews” the danger of moral relativism. I mean obviously, the Bible actually teaches that, but I mean, we’re going to have to break down how dangerous these ideas are. We don’t do much of that in churches or any form of education really right now.
Yeah, that’s a great point, Rick. You know, and part of the reason for that is that we want to be seen as loving. So we don’t want to be negative. We don’t want to be critical. But by the same token, we do have to be rational, logical, analytical, and accurate.
Look At Both Sides of the Coin
And so in order to do that, yeah, you need to look at both sides of the coin. So it is vitally important that we intentionally and strategically teach people how to think biblically.
We know that one of the implications of not doing that, we know this from our research, is that conservative Christians, Bible-believing Christians are the least likely group to get into conversations about these very issues. And it’s because they don’t know how the other side things, they don’t know what other people are thinking.
And therefore they don’t want to get into arguments they may not be able to represent the gospel well in. And so that’s one of these areas where okay, so let’s give people all of the equipment they need to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that lies within them.
There we go. Man, that’s the core right there. That’s what’s just completely missing, frankly, right now from the teaching of the Church and our education institution. So we’ve got to zero in more on it. It’s one of the reasons what you guys are doing is so incredibly important. I know we only hit a couple of them.
There’s more in the research itself. Of course, we’ll have a link today to the Arizonachristian.edu website where this particular research is found. George, always a pleasure, man. Thanks for helping to get us educated so that we can be equipped and actually take action on these things.
There are solutions. The Bible’s got all the answers. But we got to be able to assess the patient in order to apply those. Really appreciate you, brother.
Thank you. Good to be with you.
The Power of Seductive Ideas
Special thanks to George Barna for joining us. We’ll have links to that research that he was talking about at our website, wallbuilderslive.com. Back with David and Tim, and of course, you guys laid it out at the beginning of the program about how important it is to have a biblical worldview and how few people in the church right now are studying the Bible and getting that biblical worldview. And now George shows us some of those things that really pull us away, those seductive ideas that draw us away.
So knowing what those are, at least as you’re raising kids, and not just for the kids, for us, we can realize what might be derailing us from really living out a biblical application in a biblical worldview.
Yeah, and it’s interesting, as George pointed out, everybody gets something wrong. I mean, there’s areas we all need to change in, and we all need to grow in. But I like what he said about we’re not putting out the right definition of success. Success is the measurement of my obedience to God and what he says. That’s what success is. So if we measure success from a biblical standpoint is okay, how well do I conform to God and what he says?
And in thinking about that, I was just recently going through the Bible, Tim mentioned, we encourage folks to go through it once every year, I was listening to the Bible recently and I just let it keep going for a while. And instead of doing three chapters a day, I just listened to the book of Acts, I don’t know, maybe took an hour or so.
But listen to the book of Acts, and was just struck by how often the apostles were confronted by the civil leaders and by the culture, and you can’t do this, and they’ve come here to to injure our culture and whatever, and how I did not see an occasion when the apostles back down. It wasn’t that they were looking for controversy. But they didn’t avoid it.
And I can think of so many churches where well, it’s not Christ-like to have controversy and so they avoid controversy. And the apostles didn’t do that. They said, no, no, here’s what we believe. Now, if that’s a problem for you, that’s fine. We’re going to keep doing this. And the civil authority said, hey, stop saying these things. And they said, no, we’re not going to say stop saying those things.
The Truth About Holiness
And I was just thinking, I don’t think the apostles would be well received in a whole lot of churches. If they came in incognito and we didn’t know who they were, and they said in church what they said to the civil authorities, I think a lot of churches would be uncomfortable with that. And they really shouldn’t be uncomfortable with that.
And so you know, let me just even go way out on a limb, go back into, for example, when God saved his people out of Egypt, and God got them out in the desert and said, guys, you’re not going to be like the Egyptians. I saved you to be something different.
And here’s what Egypt used to do, but here’s what you’re not going to do. And in going through things that Egypt used to do, one of the things he says is look, this thing of men dressing in women’s clothing, you’re not going to do that. That is an abomination to me.
I cannot think of a single church I’ve been in that has ever taught that verse, even though it’s mentioned, not just one, but multiple times in the scriptures. It’s just not mentioned. It’s like we don’t want to say something that might offend somebody, so we end up saying nothing…
Well, and it’s it’s really a respect for the individuals for the different sexes, that God made them male and female. And I mean, really, if you’re looking at these commands, and with so many these commands in the Old Testament, when God’s telling them to do something, he’s telling them to be different from what they were doing.
He’s giving them different standards of health, of cleanliness, of lifestyle, but he’s setting them apart, and he says, guys, we’re going to respect male and female out here.
It’s why even in the 10 Commandments, you see that you shall honor your father and your mother. God was very clear on the family unit, on the the origins of marriage and relationships. And this is something that certainly these are not biblically confusing thoughts. But the fact that we have so many Christians confused on these thoughts means that we have not been clearly teaching or setting the Bible, and this is not okay.
And for those listening, right, this is not that women can’t wear pants. That’s not this conversation we’re having right now. Now if that’s your doctrine or denomination, that’s a different conversation.
Too Few Christians Actually Believe
That’s not what we’re saying right now. Alright. We’re not talking about the specific item or object of clothing as much as protecting the identity of the individual as a male or a female.
That’s what God was really dealing with in this Old Testament, was that we’re protecting, right, male and female, he created them in his image, and in Egypt, apparently, many things they did in Egypt that were very contrary to God’s design, intent, and plan and God finding this out for…
But dad, to your point, you know, as you read the Bible, there’s a lot of things that our culture is confused on today that are not confusing topics and issues in the Bible, which really just gives credence to the fact that what George Barna was talking about that too few Christians actually believe in this absolute moral truth, which is what we know is found in the Word of God, which as George was giving some of this statistics, it’s not really staggering for me anymore. It’s still disappointing at times.
The 10 Most Seductive Counter-Biblical Ideas – With George Barna
But it also helps us, I mean, Rick, you say so often, it’s like a medical doctor giving you your diagnosis. You have to know what the problem is, so we know what we need to do to fix it. And right now we are primed for a generation that is looking for answers. This is a great time to be a Christian in a world, in a culture in America that is desperately looking for answers.
What a wonderful platform, what a wonderful opportunity for people to speak truth, they got access to social media. I mean, you can not only go learn that biblical worldview, but then share it with other people. They’re hungry for it. They’re looking for answers.
And a lot of times people seem to be pointed back to God’s Word, and the specific application. And so everybody out there can be a part of that solution in your church, in your community, with your family. We got to get hungry for God’s word, got to get hungry for that biblical worldview, and avoid the seductive distractions and things that will lead us away from that.
So thanks, George Barna for sharing some of that with us today. If you would like to be the catalyst for restoring those things in your community, you can lead our biblical citizenship class, go to wallbuilders.com today and you get the DVDs in the workbook. You can sign up to be a coach for free and invite people over to your home. It’s a great time of fellowship. So check that out today. Thanks so much for listening. You’ve been listening to Walluilders Live.