Thursday, April 28, 2022

Barna Research: "Survey Of 'Christian' Parents Shameful"

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

George Barna, a well-known researcher who has tracked American beliefs for generations, says his latest finding reflects a hard-hitting truth about hypocritical, clueless, culture-chasing Christian parents.

According to the latest study from the Cultural Research Center, 67% of adults with pre-teen children said they are Christians. Once that term is defined, however, only 1 in 50 hold an orthodox belief about God, the Bible, and truth.

Barna says from "diapers" to 13 years old are the most formative years of a kid's life.

This is not intended to be a condemnation, but hopefully, it will serve as a wake-up call to Christian parents, and Christians of all ages.

Overall, we are miserably failing according to what Barna found.

Be informed, not misled.

For its study, the Center broke parents of pre-teen children into two categories: parents of pre-teens and Christian parents of pre-teens. The pollsters interviewed 600 adults in January and another 1,000 in February for a third annual survey of the Church.

Barna told American Family Association, "A person's deeply personal beliefs begin developing when they are still in diapers. It's almost completely formed around age 13."

Barna began his report using the analogy of building an airplane like the Boeing 737 Max 8, "which was technologically sophisticated, yet in its first several years of flight, there were numerous deadly crashes. Post-accident investigations revealed that the airplanes had provided multiple warning signals of malfunctions that could potentially result in a crash. However, even those warning signs were acknowledged and examined, the necessary changes were not made to prevent additional tragedies on future flights." 

He says, "New research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University indicates that parents of preteens (under the age of 13) are in a state of spiritual distress."

Continuing, he says: "While the warning signs are identifiable and unmistakable, it appears that parents, as well as their support system (i.e. churches, extended family, and parachurch ministries), are too distracted or disinterested to acknowledge and address the parenting crisis. It seems that a tragic crash is in store."

The crisis defined.

I'm going to summarize. There's more in the complete survey linked above.

Parents, to whom the Bible assigns the primary responsibility for shaping the worldview of their children, are called to equip their young to grow up in relationship with, and service to God. That requires the intentional and consistent development of a biblical worldview in the minds and hearts of children since every person's worldview begins developing before their second birthday.

Yet Barna found that parents, who claim to be "Christian" are, themselves, not devoted to a biblical worldview to pass on to their kids. Barna's research shows that only 2% of the parents of preteens---children in the worldview development window--- have a biblical worldview.

Facilitating the crisis.

Barna asks, "How is it that a nation that has prided itself in being the global center of Christianity, now drifted away from a biblical life?"

He says one reason is because of the emphasis of churches today. More attention is paid to church attendance and participation in prayer, emphasizing the width rather than the depth Barna suggests.

There has been ample evidence of the nation's loss of Christian influence, but it's been ignored, Barna says, by church leadership, because other indicators like attendance and giving have been fairly strong in evangelical churches, causing us all to feel reassured.

The loss of spiritual depth is taking a toll.

Contemporary American Christianity is characterized by "Syncretism---the worldview that merges otherwise incompatible philosophies of life into a made-to-order worldview that incorporates enough biblical elements to be minimally Christian in nature."

Barna concludes, "The American Church has lowered the entry bar so much that it is difficult to identify any beliefs that disqualify one from claiming to be Christian."

Our worldview is comprised of a unified series of beliefs that then determine behavior. We are to shape the culture with biblical beliefs, rather than to be conformed to this world.

Heresy in Christianity.

Heresy is a hallmark in contemporary Christianity in America, where the prevailing worldview is becoming "Syncretism"---The blending of elements from numerous, unbiblical worldviews along with a few biblical views.

Unfortunately, that has become the norm, the accepted expression for Christianity. 

The survey found that 67% of parents of preteens who describe themselves as Christian, also hold conflicting views on biblical teaching.

  • One of the foundational views of Christians is belief in the God of the Bible---an all knowing, all-powerful, perfect, and just creator of the universe who still rules the world today.
  • Another hallmark of being a Christian is accepting the Bible as the true and trustworthy Word of God, yet only 50% of self-described Christian parents do so.
  • Only 1 out of 3 Christian parents of preteens rely on the Bible as their primary source of moral guidance.
  • Shocking. Only 31% of Christians contacted who have preteen children told the survey they believe that life is sacred.
  • A minority of parents of preteens believe in the God of the Bible. Yet, among those who do: 1 out of every 4 does not bother to praise, worship, or thank God during a typical week.

There's much more in the survey please check it out.


It seems to me that the core issue in this is the contradictions. That, of course, is the "Syncretism" that Barna talks a lot about---the weaving together of various beliefs inspired by humanism, progressivism, mystic eastern religions, new age, even atheism with the fundamental teaching of the Bible and Christianity.

The effect of Syretism on parenting cannot be ignored. It creates confusion, uncertainty, and even fear of the future.

This is not a phase we're going through in the Church as some say, it's the consequences of our pulpits not preaching the whole gospel: sin and redemption, grace and personal responsibility, consequences, and Truth rather than accommodation---being conformed to the world rather than being transformed by the power of the Gospel.

Is it hopeless?

Absolutely not.

Barna says, "If ever there was a time when our nation was desperate for a grassroots spiritual revival, led by the remnant in the pews who still revere God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and truth—now is that time.”

I believe in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will save a soul and it will save a culture.

History shows us that every spiritual revival began in the hearts of the few. Our prayer must be, "Let it begin in me, Oh, Lord."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.