Only 9% of American Adults Possess a True Biblical Worldview

A study from Barna Research reveals that only 9% of adults in the U.S. have a biblical worldview.  In the study, a biblical worldview was defined as:

…believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.

The study, which was also done in 1995, 2000 and 2005 found that the percentage of adults with a biblical worldview has stayed relatively flat over the 13 years of the study.  7% were found to have a biblical worldview in 1995, 10% in 2000, and 11% in 2005.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that even among those who identify themselves as “born-again”, only 19% were found to hold a biblical worldview as defined by the study.

Are you curious about which biblical beliefs the respondents did or did not hold?  Here is what the study found:

  • One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.
  • Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.
  • Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.
  • Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.
  • A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.
  • Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.

Are you surprised?  I  am somewhat surprised by the number who identify themselves as “born-again” who do not hold these basic Christian beliefs, but I am not surprised that only 9% of all adults were found to have a true biblical worldview.  It only strengthens my doubts when I hear reports that suggest that 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christians.  It is obvious that the title means many things to many people.  I am not sure we really know much about a person just because he or she may say, “I am a Christian.”  It also tells us that even among Christians, there can be a wide variety of views concerning just about every topic.

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4 Responses to Only 9% of American Adults Possess a True Biblical Worldview

  1. docdeer says:

    The numbers are shocking, but tragically not surprising. We have seen more and more churches drift from biblical truth and subsequently, professing believers and the culture has followed. I thing these numbers may be more indicative of the genuine spiritual condition in our country than the survey that came out last week.

  2. jonyork1958 says:

    I wonder what the numbers were in Noah’s day?

    For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, (Matt 24:38)

    The Gospel is out there! Fatness in the land can be a curse.

    Maybe Obama spreading poverty with extreme taxation on productivity and rewarding failure is sure to result in the re institution of the misery index of the Carter years and will be a good thing!

    People will re evaluate. Prodigals will return.

  3. Tim Farley says:

    Jon:

    True. There weren’t many in Noah’s day. Of course, that did not turn out so well: God’s judgement on the earth in the form of a flood. I agree that the gospel is out there and God is accomplishing his plan. I just want to be sure that we as believers are being faithful to share the gospel in word and deed as we have been called to do. I am not counting on the government helping us since it is not their biblical responsibility. Although, I do agree that poor government and societal conditions could cause a renewed interest in spiritual things.

    Does it concern you that so many who say “I am a Christian” do not hold to the basic Christian beliefs as defined in the study? Those are people who do not see themselves as prodigals or in need of re-evaluating. Are these things to be concerned about or should we just understand them as differences of opinion that are no big deal?

  4. jonyork1958 says:

    Oh it’s a big deal; not having right doctrine is a pretty good reason to justify God’s allowing real world hardship to “sift” the false ideas where people place their trust.

    Wrong doctrine has the effect of a sedative, a tranquilizing effect like snake pison; a false sense of security with eternally damnable consequence.

    False belief systems like Mormonism are particularly insidious in that the adherent thinks they are Christian and has these issues settled and don’t wish to be embarrassed with the truth.

    As we see God’s judgment fall on America in the attacks from outside and inside our borders, from natural disasters, to challenges from corruption in government to unrestrained godlessness in the citizenry; we can view these crises as instances for opportunity to work with God for the proclamation of the Gospel. It is still job #1.

    Satan is always after the next generation.

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