The percentage of Americans who hold a biblical worldview fell to 4 percent during the pandemic, while the percentage of self-identified Christians and born-again Christians who hold such a worldview also plummeted, according to a new poll.
The survey by researcher George Barna at the Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University found that the fallout from the pandemic apparently altered the worldview of Americans, including people of faith. While 6 percent of Americans prior to the pandemic held a biblical worldview, only 4 percent do today. The research center labeled it a “seemingly small but noteworthy drop.”
“It appears that as people’s lives were substantially altered by the virus and government policies, Americans were not spending the extra time devoting energy to spiritual matters and worldview enhancement,” the Cultural Research Center said in an analysis.
Further, the percentage of self-identified Christians who hold a biblical worldview fell from 9 percent pre-pandemic to 6 percent post-pandemic. Among born-again Christians, it fell from 19 percent to 13 percent. The research center categorizes individuals as born again if they believe they will go to heaven after they die because they have accepted Jesus as their savior and confessed their sins.
The data is part of the 2023 American Worldview Inventory.
“When you put the data in perspective, the biblical worldview is shuffling toward the edge of the cliff,” Barna said. “As things stand today, biblical theism is much closer to extinction in America than it is to influencing the soul of the nation. The current incidence of adults with the biblical worldview is the lowest since I began measuring it in the early 1990s.”
Only 1 percent of young adults (ages 18-29) hold a biblical worldview, according to the data.
“Young people, in particular, are largely isolated from biblical thought in our society and are the most aggressive at rejecting biblical principles in our culture,” Barna said. “Facilitating a return to biblical thinking and living in America will take an intentional, strategic, and consistent effort by the remaining population that represents this biblical approach to life.”
The Cultural Research Center defines a worldview as the “intellectual, emotional, and spiritual filter an individual uses to experience, interpret, and respond to reality.”
“Everyone has a worldview. It is the basis of every decision an individual makes,” the research center said in the analysis of the data. “The biblical worldview (also known as biblical theism) is one among numerous worldviews that exist. In the biblical worldview, people’s ideas about all dimensions of life and eternity are based on biblical principles and commands.”
The poll is the “first national study of Americans’ worldview in the post-lockdown era,” according to the Cultural Research Center.
Churches and Christian schools, Barna said, must place more emphasis on worldview development.
“The impact of arts and entertainment, government, and public schools is clearly apparent in the shift away from biblical perspectives to a more experiential and emotional form of decision-making,” Barna said. “It will require parents, in particular, and cultural leaders who care about this matter to energetically and creatively persuade children and their influencers to embrace biblical principles as the foundation for personal decision-making.”
Barna remained hopeful, saying he has seen “some evidence” indicating that “more people are waking up to the concept, the importance, and the process of biblical worldview development.”
“Perhaps the ugliness and heavy-handedness of cancel culture,” he said, “has stimulated greater interest in the potential benefits of adopting a worldview based on love and service in shaping both our culture and individual lives.”
Photo courtesty: ©Unsplash/Prisci
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.