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A Biblical Worldview Has a Radical Effect on a Person's Life

A Biblical Worldview Has a Radical Effect on a Person's Life

(Ventura, CA) - Any objective social analyst would conclude that the
United States faces its fair share of moral and spiritual problems. A
new research study from the Barna Research Group' suggests that a large
share of the nation's moral and spiritual challenges is directly
attributable to the absence of a biblical worldview among Americans.

Citing the findings from a just-completed national survey of 2033
adults that showed only 4% of adults have a biblical worldview as the
basis of t heir decision-making, researcher George Barna described the
outcome. "If Jesus Christ came to this planet as a model of how we
ought to live, then our goal should be to act like Jesus. Sadly, few
people consistently demonstrate the love, obedience and priorities of
Jesus. The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because
they do not think like Jesus. Behavior stem s from what we think - our
attitudes, beliefs, values and opinions.

Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our
research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate
core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to
the challenges and opportunities of life. We're often more concerned
with survival amidst chaos than with experiencing truth and significance."

Not Just Any Worldview

The research indicated that everyone has a worldview, but relatively
few people have a biblical worldview - even among devoutly religious
people. The survey discovered that only 9% of born again Christians
have such a perspective on life. The numbers were even lower among
other religious classifications: Protestants (7%), adults who attend
mainline Protestant churches (2% ) and Catholics (less than one-half of
1%). The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults
with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches
(13%), Pentecostal churches (10%) and Baptist churches (8%).

Among the most prevalent alternative worldviews was postmodernism,
which seemed to be the dominant perspective among the two youngest
generations (i.e., the Busters and Mosaics).

For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as
believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined
by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those
views were t hat Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-
powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it
today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is
real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ
with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

The Difference a Biblical Worldview Makes

One of the most striking insights from the research was the influence
of such a way of thinking upon people's behavior. Adults with a
biblical worldview possessed radically different views on morality,
held divergent religious beliefs, and demonstrated vastly different
lifestyle choices.

People's views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by t
heir worldview. Upon comparing the perspectives of those who have a
biblical worldview with those who do not, the former group were 31
times less likely to accept cohabitation (2% versus 62%, respectively);
18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness (2% versus 36%); 15 times
less likely to condone gay sex (2% versus 31%); 12 times less likely to
accept profanity 3% versus 37%) ; and 11 times less likely to describe
adultery as morally acceptable (4% versus 44%). In addition, less than
one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said
voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to
39% of other adults), and a similarly miniscule proportion endorsed
abortion (compared to 46% of adults who lack a biblical worldview).

Among the more intriguing lifestyle differences were the lesser
propensity for those with a biblical worldview to gamble (they were
eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely
to place bets); to get drunk (three times less likely); and to view
pornography (two times less common). They were also twice as likely to
have discussed spiritual matter s with other people in the past month
and twice as likely to have fasted for religious reasons during the
preceding month. While one out of every eight adults who lack a
biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their
spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100
individuals who have such a worldview had done so.

Some Groups Are More Likely to Have a Biblical Worldview

Adults who have a biblical worldview possessed a somewhat different
demographic profile than those who did not. For instance, individuals
who attended college were much more likely than those who did not to
have this perspective (6% versus 2%, respectively). Married adults were
more than twice as likely as adults who had never been wed to hold such
a worldview (5% versus 2%). Whites (5%) were slightly more likely than
either blacks (3%) or Hispanics (3%) to hold this ideology. One of the
largest gaps was between Republicans (10% of whom had a biblical
worldview), Independents (2%) and Democrats (1%).

Residents of Texas and North Carolina were more likely than people in
other states to have a biblical worldview. Among the states in which
such a worldview was least common were Louisiana and the six states in
New England. The nation's largest state - California - was average
(i.e., 4% of its residents had a biblical worldview).

Attributes such as gender, age and household income showed no
statistical relationship to the possession of a biblical worldview.

Some Churches Are Helping People

The research found that one of the most effective methods of enabling
people to develop a biblical worldview is by addressing seven critical
quest ions that consistently lead to beliefs and behaviors that are in
tune with biblical teaching. Outlining that process in a new book he
has written as an outgrowth of the research, entitled Think Like Jesus,
Barna also noted that many churches are already helping their
congregants to implement such a way of addressing daily challenges and

"The emphasis of these churches is to not only teach biblical
perspectives," according to Barna, "but also to help people connect the
dots of the core principles taught. Rather than simply provide people
with good material and hope they figure out what to do with it, these
are churches whose services, programs, events and relationships are
geared to weaving a limited number of foundational biblical principles
into a way of responding to every life situation. The goal is to
facilitate a means of interpreting and responding to every life
situation that is consistent with God's expectations. These are not
perfect people, but once they catch on to the critical principles found
in the Bible and train their minds to incorporate those views into
their thinking, their behavior varies noticeably from the norm."

Research Source and Methodology

The data described above are from telephone interviews with a
nationwide random sample of 33 adults conducted during September
through November 03. The maximum margin of sampling error associated
with the aggregate sample is B12.2 percentage points at the 95%
confidence level. All of the interviews were conducted from the Barna
Research Group telephone interviewing facility in Ventura, CA. Adults
in the 48 continental states were eligible to be interviewed and the
distribution of respondents coincided with the geographic dispersion of
the U.S. adult population. Multiple callbacks were used to increase the
probability of including a reliable distribution of adults.

The data from the 03 survey was compared with figures on worldview
possession compiled from Barna Research Group surveys conducted in 02
in order to assess the reliability of the new data. The 02 surveys also
showed that just 4% of the aggregate population and 9% of the born
again segment ha d a biblical worldview. Other repeated measures were
compared, producing virtually identical results to the current

"Born again Christians" were defined in these surveys as people who
said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still
import ant in their life today and who also indicated they believe that
when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their
sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were
not asked to describe themselves as "born again." Being "born again" is
not dependent upon any church or denominational affiliation or

The Barna Research Group, Ltd. is an independent marketing research
company located in southern California. Since 1984, it has been
studying cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and
behaviors. If you would like to receive regular e-mailings of a brief
overview of each new bi-weekly update on the latest research findings
from the Barna Research Group, you may subscribe to this free service
at the Barna Research web site (www.barna .org).


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