Christians are being influenced by various worldviews that exist outside of the biblical spectrum, with the Barna Group recently finding that just 17 percent of Christians who attend church regularly and say faith is a big part of their life have what the polling firm called a “biblical worldview.”
So, what does that mean, exactly? Barna explains: “We live in a world of competing ideas and worldviews. In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, Christians are more aware of (and influenced by) disparate views than ever.”
With that reality comes some more difficult and probing questions. The main curiosity, of course, centers on just how influenced Christians are by these opposing or additive worldviews.
Barna teamed up with Summit Ministries to explore that dynamic, and the findings are quite stunning. The polling firm interviewed practicing Christians to find out how various worldviews — new spirituality, postmodernism, Marxism and secularism — have impacted their views about how the world currently is and should be.
“We have observed and reported on increasing pluralism, relativism and moral decline among Americans and even in the Church,” Brooke Hempell, Barna’s senior vice president of research, said in a statement. “Nevertheless, it is striking how pervasive some of these beliefs are among people who are actively engaged in the Christian faith.”
Just how striking, you ask? Well, Barna said that New Spirituality has “inched its way into Christian ethics,” with 28 percent of practicing Christians strongly agreeing that everyone prays to the “same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.” And, on the whole, six-in-10 practicing Christians embrace at least one ideal embedded in New Spirituality.
Then, on the postmodernism front, 19 percent of practicing Christians strongly agree that “no one can know for certain what meaning and purpose there is to life” and 23 percent said that moral rights and wrongs depends on individual beliefs.
Marxism has also worked its way into the Christian ethic, with Barna noting that the worldview is founded on irreligious (or at least religiously hostile) tenets. According to the firm’s polling, 11 percent of practicing Christians believe that “private property encourages greed and envy” — a proportion that increases to 20 percent among Millennials.
Overall, 36 percent of practicing Christians embrace at least one Marxist sentiment.
So, with all that in mind, let’s circle back to that original 17 percent figure — the proportion of Americans who have what Barna called a “biblical worldview.” This essentially means that these individuals believe in absolute moral truth, that the Bible is entirely accurate, that Satan is a real-life being or force, that Jesus was sinless and that God created the world and is all-knowing.
Read the analysis in its entirety here and read my new book, “Fault Line: How a Seismic Shift in Culture Is Threatening Free Speech and Shaping the Next Generation” for more about the ongoing cultural changes in U.S. society.
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