Thursday, March 16, 2017

Barna's Question: "To Believe Or Not To Believe"

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George Barna and his highly respected American Culture and Faith Institute released a new study yesterday.

The question to Millennials: "Do you believe the Bible---or not?"

Here are the facts. And some reflections on how we believe directly impacts the way we live, and the direction it takes our families and our culture.

Barna says, "Millennials are becoming an increasingly important generation in American life."

"As this segment reaches adult years," he says, "it represents the nation's primary birthing generation, newcomers to the workforce, the dominant niche of newlyweds, and the fastest growing constituency of newly registered voters."

"But," he says, "Millennials also represent one of the most spiritually challenging generations to reach adulthood in the past century."

In recent years demographic studies have labeled various age groups within our culture. When Barna refers to "Millennials" or other age groups, this is what he is referring to:

Generation NameBirths StartOldest Age Today*
The Silent Generation192592
Baby Boomer Generation194671
Generation X (Baby Bust)196552

Barna's study finds that Millennials are by far the generation least likely to possess a biblical worldview.

While 16% of those in the Boomer generations posses a biblical worldview, just 7% of the "Busters" have a biblical worldview and only 4% of Millennials have a biblical worldview.

What these young adults believe translates into how they influence the people around them, how they vote and the lifestyle they choose, and the culture the next generation will be given.

"As a man thinks in his heart so is he"---our beliefs guide our witness, our actions and our behavior.

This is a summary of what they believe---or don't believe:

  • Only 59% of Millennials consider themselves to be Christian. That compares to 72% of adults from older generations
  • Less than two out of every ten adults 30 or older (18%) claims to be in the atheist-agnostic-none faith preference category. Nearly three out of every ten Millennials embrace that category (28%)
  • One out of every three older adults (33%) is a born again Christian, stating that they will experience eternity in Heaven with God after their death on earth only because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Far fewer Millennials (20%) share that expectation
  • A minority of adults 30 or older (43%) supports same-sex marriage. However, nearly two-thirds of those under 30 (65%) support it
  • Conservatives outnumber liberals by a 2:1 margin among adults 30 or older (28% versus 12%). Yet, the opposite is true among Millennials: only 12% are conservative while 26% are liberal
  • Millennials are the generation most likely to prefer socialism over capitalism (44% compared to 35% among older adults)
  • While only 6% of adults 30 or older claim to be in the LGBT community, two-and-a-half times as many (15%) adopt that label among Millennials

Of the 20 questions in the belief section of the Worldview Measurement Project, Millennials were statistically different from other adults on 12 of those indicators. There was only one measure on which Millennials were more likely than other US adults to have a biblical perspective: they are less likely to believe that all people are basically good. However, even on that measure, a majority of the adults under 30 years of age (59%) held a belief that conflicts with the biblical view.
Overall, the survey discovered that Millennials are less likely than older adults to have a biblical view on 19 of the 20 beliefs evaluated. The largest gaps between the beliefs of older adults and those of Millennials related to the nature of God; the existence of absolute moral truth; concepts concerning evil; and the personal importance of faith.

Some personal reflections:

Beliefs Regarding The Nature of God.

Yesterday, I wrote and talked about on our live radio program the movie "The Shack." My article was detailed, sourced and, I believe, biblically correct.

I quoted seminary President Dr. Al Mohler who says, among many other things about the movie "the depictions of God, and the Trinity in the film are profoundly unbiblical." And that the message of the film is "universalism"---roughly meaning all people are inherently good--- "saved"--but are now being perfected in our journey of life. God is good, so He would never send anyone to hell---right?

I also quoted Tim McGraw's--- one of the lead characters in the film---explanation to the press concerning the nature of God. He claims to be a Christian: "We don't know. I don't know. I know if I told you what God looked like and felt like then I'd be telling you a story. I just think we don't know. God manifests Himself, herself or itself in a way that we need it..."

Two days ago, I wrote an article regarding how the media conforms our mind to a progressive worldview.

In it we said children watch 40,000 TV ads every year. While numbers vary, on average, kids watch 3 to 5 hours of television every day.

In too many cases entertainment exerts far more influence on kids that parents do.

Should we be surprised that this generation is confused about the nature of God?

The Existence of Absolute Moral Truth

The latest national report I could find on the cost of public education is from 2013, published in 2015. The average cost per pupil ranges from $19,000 per student to $2,000 - $3,000 dollars per student.

The totals are staggering---given the results. Compared to education worldwide, the US continues to lag---at great cost.

The economic cost

If you have little to nothing to do today, (actually it's only 16 pages) this is a link to "A Citizen's Guide" to Washington State's 2015-17 budget. You will note that the state's budget is $93.7 billion, and public education represents 22.7% of that budget.

Time and experience have proven that more money does not create better education. But we pretend it does because the NEA says it does and anyone who disagrees will be shunned by neighbors.

This is a link to a national report through school year 2013, published in 2015, detailing how much America, by state, spends on education.

The moral cost.

Morally, public education in America is a complete failure. And it's hypocritical. Our Founding Fathers who wrote and obviously understood the meaning of the Constitution, fully integrated Judeo- Christian principles and values into our culture and education system.

However, today's secular progressives have hi-jacked the system, under the guise of "separation of church and state," blocking God from the halls of education, while creating their own god of secular progressive relativism, turning out generations of morally confused kids who basically know one moral thing for sure--political correctness---and the penalty of disobedience to political correctness---and that there are no absolutes---why is what you believe superior to what I believe?

We should not be surprised at the outcome. But we should be concerned.

Concepts Concerning Evil

The Christian church which Christ Himself called to be the standard bearer---the banner carrier of His Truth, has, in too many cases, failed to turn on the light and disperse the salt.

Professing an attempt to "relate" to the world, in order to "reach the world," the Christian church has become "the world" in the mind of those outside the Christian faith. Why would anyone skip golf to go to church to hear something that has no real relevance to their actual challenges and struggles and no transformational solutions to what is happening in their lives?

Certainly, this is not the case with all churches, but it is with too many. In their search for people to fill the pews, mainline churches are resorting to focusing on "love" which translates to embracing homosexual behavior, same-sex "marriage," abortion as "health care" and more as they stumble toward Sodom.

Do they think "the world" doesn't notice that they are in denial to what the Bible actually teaches? And are these churches so lost themselves that they think the kids growing up on their pews don't already know there is evil in the world---and have concluded that the church is certainly not the solution?

Barna concludes with this: "Parents are one of the most important influences on the worldview of their children, and Millennials are entering their child bearing years. But because 24 out of 25 Millennials lack a biblical worldview today, the probability of them transmitting such to their children is extremely low. You cannot give what you don't have. In other words, if today's children are to eventually embrace a biblical worldview, people with such perspective must exert substantial influence on the nation's children to supply what their parents will likely be unable to give them."

Something to think about today. How can I, as an adult, parent, grandparent--- exert "substantial biblical influence on the kids in my family, my church, and my community?

Be Informed. Be Aware. Be Alert. Be Vigilant.