Sunday, September 17, 2006

Are Americans Bible Believers?

The short answer, apparently, is “no.” A corollary to this, according to George Barna, is that many of the moral and spiritual problems we face can be traced to attitudes behind this answer.

The longer answer is that some of us do, a mind-numbing 4 out of 100. That’s the bad news. The really bad news is that only 9% of self-described born again Christians really believe in the Bible.

Barna calls it a “Biblical worldview.” Here is the definition that investigators asked 2,033 American adults to respond to:

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 that 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.

Those who had a Biblical worldview according to this definition had strikingly different views about morality than other adults.

People's views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by their 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).
Barna’s summary of this investigation and its conclusions are worth a read. The summary is not long.

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