ProFamily Legislature Conference – Worldview And Millennials – With George Barna Part 1 – What does worldview look like today, and how does it relate to millennials? George Barna is with us today from the ProFamily Legislature Conference. Tune in to hear Part 1 of 3 today!
Air Date: 01/24/2022
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.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live, where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, the culture, all these different areas from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. It’s so important to look back at what works, what doesn’t work. It’s so important to get the biblical perspective of how we should be doing things, and then of course, in our nation, that constitutional perspective of how our system actually works.
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David Barton is our founder here at WallBuilders. He’s America’s premier historian. Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor, and president of WallBuilders Live. 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
Well, good morning, thank you all for coming back in the room, even though you knew I was going to be here, I appreciate that. So I’m going to talk to you about two things today coming out of two of the most recent research projects we’ve done. One of those relates to worldview and where we stand in America related to worldview. The other thing is a big study we just did on millennials. And I’m going to tie the two things together. And the reason I’m doing that for you is because you have the potential to have a big influence on that generation. We’ll talk about why that matters, and some of the things that you need to know about in order to do that.
But of course, if you turn on the news, every day, you’re hearing about crises that we face in America. And there are so many I mean, I couldn’t fit them on a single slide. But you got all of these different kinds of crises, whether we’re talking about political, economic, familial, environmental, border crises, I mean, all kinds of issues that we’re facing. And I want to tell you that this is kind of a false narrative. We really don’t have all these crises, not because we don’t have dramatic and significant problems related to these things, we do. But these are not the crisis or the crises. The real crisis is the worldview crisis. Because if we addressed worldview, and we got that right, almost all of these would dissipate, or at the very least diminish to a significant degree. So really, worldview is the thing that that we’re not getting right.
Now, one of my issues in preparing to come here and speak to you was knowing that I think this is the most important thing we can be talking about. But of course, I’ve kind of become like a hammer, everything I look at looks like a nail. I’m kind of that way with worldview. Every issue is a worldview issue. But that apart from it, I know that when I talk to people about worldview, I get a common reaction. And it’s kind of like these, which is not unlike what I see in a lot of this room. But nevertheless, I’m going to forge forward and talk about this.
Just by way of developing the foundation for what we’re dealing with here and I’m going to get to some research data related to worldview in a few moments. I think it’s important that again, just as the Congressman was doing with what does it mean to be a conservative, I want to discuss just briefly what are we talking about when we talk about worldview. And so I would suggest you that it’s important to know that everybody that you meet, everybody on Earth who’s more than a year old has a worldview. Because that worldview is the filter that each of us possesses that helps us to experience and understand and interpret and respond to reality. We have to have a foundation of understanding through which we make our decisions. And that’s what your worldview is.
Every time you make a decision. It’s a reflection of your worldview. You cannot make a decision without a worldview. And so really, it’s your way of making sense of the world and your place in the world, how you want to affect the world, how you want the world to see you, etc. That’s all part of your worldview. So every time you make a decision, even when we talk about these kinds of decisions, whether they’re political decisions, economic decisions, some people think when we talk worldview, we’re only talking about spiritual ideas. You know whether or not you believe God exists, whether or not the Bible is the Word of God, etc, those are part of your worldview, and they will affect the decisions that you make in every realm of your life. But every decision that you make is part of as a result of your worldview.
Alright, friends, got to interrupt just for a second. Got to take a quick break, we’ll be right back, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Around 1790, the infamous Thomas Paine wrote his age of reason attacking religion and Christianity. Interestingly, one of the strongest defenders against Paine’s attack was Benjamin Franklin. In fact, he stiffly rebuked Paine and told him, “He that spits in the wind spits in his own face. Do you imagine any good would be done by this attack against religion? Think how great a portion of mankind consists of youth who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from bias to support their virtue. I would advise you not to attempt on chaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?”
Benjamin Franklin believed that the practice of religion was one of the greatest assets of American society. For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Welcome back 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.
ProFamily Legislators Conference
You get to that worldview by putting together all of your most important beliefs. And the reason why that matters is because one thing I’ve learned over more than 30 years of worldview research is you do what you believe. And so I do a lot of surveys and we ask people a lot of questions. And one of the things that I’ve discovered is it’s not enough just to ask people about their opinions or their beliefs or their attitudes. You’ve also got to evaluate their behavior. Because what I often find is people will tell me they believe something. And then when we ask about behaviors that ought to emanate from that belief, we find the behavior doesn’t follow, which tells me they don’t really believe that. They’re telling me that for some other reason. You see this in your campaign service.
I’ve worked for dozens and dozens of candidates from the presidential level on down. And we find that all the time that people will tell you what they think you want to hear, as opposed to what they really believe, and consequently what they’re going to do. So your worldview, you have to understand beliefs and you also have to look at behavior. But keep in mind that that worldview is critical toward determining who you are, and therefore how you’re going to live, how you’re going to behave because your worldview is the equivalent of a computer’s operating system.
If you have a computer sitting on your desk, basically, it’s a box of bolts and wires and chips and wheels and other kinds of things that take place to make that computer work. Well, that’s what your worldview is for you. Without an operating system, you can type in every instruction that you want and the computer will just sit there and do nothing. And without a worldview, we are exactly the same. We wouldn’t know what to do. We wouldn’t know how to interpret the information. We wouldn’t know how to respond to it. The worldview is the thing that gives us those marching orders.
Now understand that in life your worldview begins developing at 15-18 months of age, and is almost fully formed by the age of 13. Basically, between the ages of one and 13 is when a person’s worldview forms. We did some research a few years back, longitudinal study, we tracked people over a long period of time. What we discovered is that most people will die with the same worldview that they had at the age of 13. It doesn’t change much.
Now, there are four different phases of worldview development. There’s that developmental period between one and 13. During your teens and 20s, you tend to test your worldview, you refine it, you figure out how to articulate it, and implement it, and so forth. But really, it’s that young age that’s critically important. Again, for those of you who have any kind of impact on legislation related to family, related to education, this is a key principle to keep in mind. What kids are being taught, and what’s being modeled for them, and what they’re being held accountable for is absolutely critical, because it’s going to determine the future of the country, not just their own life, but what they do to influence and to live out what it means to be an American gets developed during these young years.
Keep in mind that your worldview is shaped by many external influences. And when we think about those influences, and I’ll talk about those in a little bit, what we have to know is that those influences represent and literally teach alternative worldviews. As you turn on your television set, you’re being exposed to worldview education. When you go to the movie theater, you’re going for a lesson in worldview. When you listen to a song, you’re being taught a worldview. Sometimes you’re being taught multiple worldviews in the same media vehicle. And it’s no different everywhere you go, you’re being exposed to a worldview. The way that we incorporate it is what we need to be careful about.
See, because what we found is in America, what we tend to do is because we don’t have a strong biblical foundation, we’re vulnerable to many different worldviews. And what Americans have chosen to do, they don’t even realize they’re doing this, it’s their default practice; is they’re picking and choosing different elements from a variety a wide variety of worldviews and there’s simply taken them and bolting them together into what becomes their own personal, customized worldview.
Now, what’s interesting to me as a sociologist or researcher is that we dig into that. And what we find is that very often, the things that we buy into as a worldview are inherently contradictory. We believe things that are in conflict. And when we ask people, how do you reconcile these things? The typical answer is the shrug of the shoulders. I don’t know. I didn’t know they were in conflict. In fact, I didn’t even know I believe that. You know, I mean, that’s typically what we get. Because Americans, one of the things I’ve discovered over 40 plus years of research is we are not deep or sophisticated thinkers.
Alright, friends, quick break, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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 today. We’re going to dive right back in with George Barna speaking at the ProFamily Legislators Conference.
ProFamily Legislators Conference
Americans and America exist primarily because of that. It’s because we’re people of action. We like to do things. We like to accomplish stuff. We like to flaunt our resume and show people all the things that we’ve been able to accomplish, as opposed to having thought through is that something I should have accomplished? Is that something I should have pursued? What were the implications of that? So what we wind up with is a nation of people who basically have a patchwork of ideas, some that are complementary, some that are conflicting, that become their worldview.
But also, having done this kind of research now for three decades, one other thing that I’ve learned is that I have yet to identify one person who has a pure worldview, no matter what it is. Whether it’s Marxist, postmodern, secular, humanist, Eastern mysticism, biblical worldview, biblical theism, whatever you want to call it, whatever it would be, haven’t found anybody who’s got a pure worldview. So every one of us would do well to go back and examine our worldview because it’s full of garbage, stuff that’s been foisted upon us by the external world.
And we bought into it because it made sense at the time. In a context that made sense to us, it felt comfortable, it’s popular, other people are doing it, all kinds of reasons why we buy into it, without giving it deeper thought about but wait a minute, does this really fit with God’s teaching? Does this coincide with his truth principles?
And so what we have is a nation whereas we’ve been studying at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University where I teach and work, what we’ve been doing is the first and this is mind-boggling in itself, we do an annual national study of the worldview of Americans. Now, you would think that I’m encroaching on somebody else’s territory because this is so important. And yet, what I’ve discovered is we’re the only ones in the country that are doing this. We don’t care enough about people’s worldview, which is the center of their decision-making, which in turn determines the kind of life that we can live and the kind of people that we become.
We’re not even researching this. We’re researching the price of pig’s feet. We’re researching all kinds of stuff in America. But we’re not researching what I think is the single most important thing towards figuring how can we get back on track? How can we become God’s people? So what we’re finding is that Americans are drawing from all of these different worldviews. The typical American that we interview has multiple worldviews that they represent in their decision-making.
Now, why is that a problem, because ideally, what we want is people to be making those decisions based on biblical truth; the principles for life that God has given to us. And if we do that, that would be called a biblical worldview. Obviously, a biblical worldview is how we experience, and interpret, and respond to the world based on biblical principles. But what we find is that that’s not terribly common, but it is terribly important. Why? Because remember, I said, you do what you believe. Well, if we have been called to be Christ-like, it means that first we need to think like Jesus and that’s so that we can behave like Jesus. If you want to live like Christ, first, you have to think like Christ, because you do what you believe. You see the connection. And that’s why worldview is so critical. You cannot be a dynamic disciple of Jesus unless you have the mind of Christ because that’s what then determines your behavior.
Now, in an ideal world, in an ideal country, in an ideal legislative district, people would have a biblical worldview, that will be the thing that dominates. But of course, we don’t live in an ideal world. And today, we do not have very many people who think and live like Jesus. Here’s one way of breaking down the spiritual contours of America. I could do like 50 different ways of breaking it down, but this one might help us for this discussion.
First thing we might look at is the fact that we are still in a country where 7 out of 10 people call themselves Christians. Do not be fooled. Okay. Because what we’ve also discovered, a couple of studies that we’ve done this year is essentially, Christian has become a generic term, kind of like clean Next are Xerox or those types of brand names that are become product category names. That’s what Christian or Christianity has become an America. And what does that infer to people? Why do they embrace that label? Because they believe it means that you’re basically a good person.
Now, understand, 7 out of 10 Americans believe that all people are basically good. It’s an unbiblical concept. We’re sinners in need of a Savior. We are not good people. But most Americans believe we’re good. In fact, we’ve got a much higher proportion of people who believe that you can earn salvation than believe that Jesus Christ is the route to salvation. Why? Because they believe that they’re good people, and they can do enough to persuade God that they should be allowed into heaven, they should be allowed in his presence eternally.
Alright, friends got to interrupt just for a second, got to take a quick break. We’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. In the minds of many today, government is a purely secular institution and is not in any way to be joined to religious principles. The result is that too often our public policies are now enacted without any consideration of their spiritual consequences.
However, the Founding Fathers believed that even a political act should always be examined from a spiritual viewpoint. For example, in his inaugural address, President George Washington declared, “We ought to be persuaded that the favorable smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”
President George Washington believed that the blessings of heaven would reside on this nation only so long as its national policies embraced godly standards. For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Have you noticed the vacuum of leadership in America? We’re looking around for leaders of principle to step up and too often, no one is there. God is raising up a generation of young leaders with a passion for impacting the world around them. They’re crying out for the mentorship and leadership training they need. Patriot Academy was created to meet that need.
Patriot Academy graduates now serve in state capitals around America in the halls of Congress, in business, in the film industry, in the pulpit, and every area of the culture. They’re leading effectively and impacting the world around them. Patriot Academy is now expanding across the nation, and now’s your chance to experience this life-changing week that trains champions to change the world.
Visit patriotacademy.com for dates and locations. Our core program is still for young leaders 16 to 25 years old, but we also now have a citizen track for adults, so visit the website today to learn more. Help us fill the void of leadership in America join us in training champions to change the world at patriotacademy.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.
ProFamily Legislators Conference
Don’t be seduced by a lot of the self-identification statistics that you’ll see in many surveys. Okay. A lot of people will call themselves conservatives. A lot of people will call themselves many things. They often don’t know what they’re talking about. We can look at those people who claim that they have a biblical worldview, a majority of Americans, 51%, this is a study we did with Family Research Council earlier this year, I’m also privileged to be a senior research fellow at their center for biblical worldview, and so we’re constantly looking at and talking about how do we change the problem that we have? What’s the problem?
Look at that you got 51% who say they have a biblical worldview, look up at the top, only 6% of adults actually have a biblical worldview. Now, that doesn’t mean that they know and live out the Bible perfectly. When I first started doing this research, I thought, well, that should be the goal. And I was disabused of that notion by a number of wise pastors who said, no, no, no, remember, we’re all imperfect. We’re all in process. And so if you’re looking for perfect people, biblical worldview is going to be zero.
But if we look for people who more often than not are believing, and following biblical thinking, that’s where we’re getting the 6%. We do an exhaustive survey at the beginning of every year, where we look at beliefs and behavior, 6% have a biblical worldview. Now, here’s the problem when you’ve got a nation where most people think they are something that they’re not, the chances of them being willing to change are very slim.
Alright, friends, we got to interrupt George Barna again because we are out of time for today. So, if you missed, maybe you dialed in, got in the program today just halfway through, the entire program is available for you right now. 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. With all of our Good News Friday programs for the last few months are there, and Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs, the interviews throughout the week, so it’s all available to you there as a resource. So you can get educated and equipped and inspired. Use those social media tools to spread the good news.
We also ask you to go to that website today consider making a one-time or monthly contribution. Be a force multiplier and in fact, be a force multiplier by hosting a constitution class, a biblical citizenship class, in your home or at your church. Go to wallbuilders.com today and get the DVDs and the workbooks. You can join us for free on Monday nights just so you get a taste of what the class is like. Biblicalcitizens.com is the website to sign up for that free Monday night class. It’s a national class. 25,000 people signed up for the class. And each week we dive into that biblical citizenship class. We’re also there to live to take your questions. Check that out at biblicalcitizens.com. Real treat to have George Barna with us. Thank you so much for listening today. Stay tuned for tomorrow. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.