We Can’t ‘Turn America Around’ Without Discipleship, Says George Barna

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We Can’t ‘Turn America Around’ Without Discipleship, Says George Barna

By Movieguide® Contributor 

The Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University recently conducted its American Worldview Inventory and revealed that while many Americans consider themselves Christians, few hold a biblical worldview. 

Two thousand adults were interviewed for the survey and asked about their religious beliefs and worldviews, and the study found that most of those surveyed hold a syncretistic worldview. 

The study defined syncretism as “a fusion of disparate ideologies, beliefs, behaviors, and principles culled from a variety of competing worldviews into a customized blend.” 

The survey revealed that 92% of those surveyed have syncretistic worldviews, and those worldviews are even prevalent in Catholic and Protestant denominations, with 98% and 88% of members, respectively, saying they have a syncretistic belief system. Meanwhile, 89% of those unaffiliated with any religion subscribe to syncretism. 

In light of the high number of people surveyed who hold that syncretistic worldview, the percentage who hold a biblical worldview, 4%, is not surprising. 

A biblical worldview was “based on responses to survey questions asking about the Bible, truth and morals, faith practices, family and the value of life, God, creation and history, human character and nature, lifestyle, behavior and relationships, purpose and calling as well as sin, salvation and God relationship,” per Christian Post. 

The numbers of confessing Christians were not any more encouraging, with only 1% of Catholics, 9% Protestant, and 4% of Christians that fall outside the Catholic and Protestant tradition holding a biblical worldview. 

A majority of those polled agree with statements such as the Bible is an “authoritative and trustworthy guidebook for life” and “hatred and aggression are not necessary for personal survival.” 

On the other hand, on topics of lying, absolute truth, premarital sex and the value of human life, those surveyed were more divided. 

This clash of values can paint a grim future for the U.S., but it’s not without remedy, according to Dr. George Barna, the Director of Cultural Research Center at ACU. 

“People have become so self-focused, and their beliefs are so self-serving that no politician elected in 2024 can reasonably be expected to restore common purpose and shared vision to the nation without a serious reshaping of people’s worldviews,” Barna said. 

Barna believes that the burden to unify America does not “rest on the shoulders of a president or political party” but is dependent on the nation’s “spiritual renewal.” 

“The greatness and longevity of the United States is partly attributable to a shared understanding and common pursuit of core characteristics such as truth, purpose, success, responsibility, and community,” Barna explained. 

A key component, according to Barna, missing for spiritual renewal is biblical discipleship, especially that of the future generations. 

At 2023’s Pray Vote Stand Summit, Barna said that a person’s worldview begins around the age of 15 to 18 months old, is almost fully formed around age 13 and typically doesn’t change for the rest of their life. 

“If you don’t get discipleship right, there’s no way that we’re going to turn America around,” Barna said at the summit. 

He added, “If we don’t have kids who grow up to be citizens who vote based on the biblical worldview…We’re going to lose the battle.” 

In a 2022 American Worldview Inventory conducted a survey interviewing 600 parents that revealed similar percentages, as the aforementioned survey, of American parents hold a biblical worldview as reported by Movieguide®: 

The survey asked 600 American parents with children younger than 13 worldview questions to assess how those worldviews are applied.

Of the 600 parents, 67% identified as Christians. However, only 4% said they held to a biblical worldview that keeps God’s word as the most “relevant and authoritative guide for life.”

“A parent’s primary responsibility is to prepare a child for the life God intends for that child,” Barna, the director of research at the Cultural Research Center, said. “A crucial element in nurturing is helping the child develop a biblical worldview — the filter that causes a person to make their choices in harmony with biblical teachings and principles.”

“The typical American parent is either fully unaware that there is a worldview development process, or they are aware that their child is developing a worldview, but they do not take responsibility for a role in the process,” he added. “Every parent teaches what they know and models what they believe. They can only give what they have, and what they have to give reflects their driving beliefs about life and spirituality.”