During a recent gathering of Christian educators in Ohio, Professor George Barna shared the overwhelming evidence that America’s Christian foundation is close to crumbling because of a shift in worldview.
“Right now, the dominate worldview [in the United States] is post-modernism. That’s important for us to know because it is diametrically opposed to a biblical worldview.”
“Post-modernism for instance would say, ‘Well there may be a God, probably not, there may be one, but you can’t know that. And because you can’t know that, you can’t rely upon that to shape the other things that you do or think,” Barna said.
Another problem with the post-modernist worldview, Barna told the group, is their belief that there is no such thing as absolute moral truth. From that perspective, no one has the right to tell someone else they are wrong.
He shared statistics that shocked the audience.
Only seven out of every one hundred people in the United States have a Biblical worldview today. That figure includes just 4% of Millennials (young adults born between 1981 and 1996) and less than a quarter of those who have been identified as “Born Again” Christians.
Born Agains makeup about 30% of the total population, and only 23% base their lifestyle, values, beliefs, goals, finances, relationships, emotions and morals – their worldview – on what the Bible says.
George Barna compared early American values to current American values, the data for which came from his book U-Turn. Not a single value overlaps, and that has critically affected the moral landscape.
The resulting change means a majority of adults believe the following are morally acceptable: divorce, sexual relations outside of marriage, gambling, marijuana use, homosexual relationships, cohabitation and having children out of wedlock.
As a trained sociologist, Barna pointed out few children are being taught a Biblical worldview in our culture today. A child’s worldview develops very early, between fifteen and eighteen months of age, and is mostly set by age 13.
“What are the things that made the biggest difference in how somebody lost their worldview, particularly during those early years?” he asked. “What we found is that there are three different tiers of influencing entities in America.”
Barna’s research found 60-70% of an American’s worldview is shaped by the seven entities listed in his top tier which combined are media, government and family.
“The media has probably the single greatest impact on people’s thinking…You have the media promoting a completely different lifestyle message [from the Biblical one] day after day after day and it really became synchronized through the movies, through television, through music – those three mediums in particular.”
He further explained, “At the same time the church fell asleep at the wheel…We kind of lost sight of why we’re here. It’s for life transformation, it’s not for self-magnifying.”
On the issue of government, Barna exclaimed, “There’s this old adage that says you can’t legislate morality. That is just a flat out lie. The law does nothing but legislate morality. That’s what law is: it tells you right from wrong. Which, by the way, is the definition of morality, knowing right from wrong.” (emphasis his)
“We are in a crisis…The real crisis is the spiritual crisis in America. The Trump presidency is a sideshow, only because of the spiritual crisis. We need more people with a biblical worldview and the family can’t do it right now because the family is sick. The government [and] media, won’t give kids what they need,” Barna lamented.
Then he shared his prescription for generational transformation.
“The last two places that I see that have the possibility to lead our children – and that’s where the game is won or lost – are Christian schools and those parents that are homeschooling.”
Barna exhorted Christian adults on the issue of engaging culture. In a recent video on the topic he said, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
“For me it’s a very simple solution – we’ve got to go back to basics. Does God have a calling on your life? If so, what are you going to do about it?” he asked.
Barna also spoke about how Conservative leaders can respond to the growing anti-Christian fervor of the Left. “The Left’s vision makes no sense, but it’s the only vision being promoted.”
“There’s been a leadership vacuum in Conservative circles. We have not had individuals who have done the first and most important thing… which is to convey a compelling view for our future,” Barna noted, and pointed out, “Where are we going? Most conservative leaders have basically said what we don’t want to do.”
“We have [Christian conservatives], I think an easier time of identifying what a preferable future would be,” he said, and ended by emphasizing the importance of communicating that better vision.
According to his website, “George Barna is a professor at Arizona Christian University [ACU] and leads the Cultural Research Center based at the university. His focus at ACU is worldview assessment and development, as well as cultural evaluation and transformation.” Barna is also a sociologist, researcher and author of more than 50 books, primarily focused on culture and Christian issues. His research on worldview, cultural transformation, ministry applications, spiritual development, and politics has been groundbreaking.
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