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Thread: Some recent George Barna research

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Some recent George Barna research

    Research by Dr. George Barna at
    Cultural Research Center - Arizona Christian University at Arizona Christian University

    I like him because he doesn't seem Pollyannaish. He is willing to report what he considers bad news.

    Vast Majority of Americans Stitch Together Patchwork Worldview of Conflicting Beliefs, Making “Syncretism” Top Worldview Among U.S. Adults - Arizona Christian University
    noting
    CRC_AWVI2021_Release01_Digital_01_20210413.pdf
    The leading worldviews with respect to American’s beliefs and behaviors are Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (39% of U.S. adults either lean strongly or moderately toward its specific beliefs and behaviors) and the biblical worldview (31% lean strongly or moderately toward its beliefs and behaviors). As for the influence of the other worldviews, the percentage of adults who lean strongly or moderately toward specific beliefs and behaviors include: Secular Humanism (16%); Postmodernism (16%); Nihilism (10%); Eastern Mysticism (10%); Marxism (10%).

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Counterfeit Christianity: ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’ Most Popular Worldview in U.S. Culture - Arizona Christian University
    noting
    CRC_AWVI2021_Release02_Digital_01_20210427.pdf

    Something that gets his goat.
    New findings from the American Worldview Inventory 2021 show that nearly four of 10 adults (38%) are more likely to embrace elements of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism than other popular worldviews, including Biblical Theism (or the biblical worldview), Secular Humanism, Postmodernism, Nihilism, Marxism (along with its offshoot, Critical Theory) and Eastern Mysticism (or “New Age”).

    ...
    Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (or MTD) was initially identified and named by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton in their book, Soul Searching, published in 2005. It was based on national research among the teenagers of the turn of the millennium. At that time Smith and Denton identified several core beliefs that characterized the thinking and behavior of the group. Those components included:
    • Belief in a God who remains distant from people’s lives
    • People are supposed to be good to each other (i.e., moral)
    • The universal purpose of life is being happy and feeling good about oneself
    • There are no absolute moral truths
    • God allows “good people” into Heaven
    • God places very limited demands on people
    That seems like a lot of liberal religion.

    From the supporting paper,
    For instance, among those whose lives are most heavily influenced by MTD:
    • 95% do not consider success in life to be described as consistent obedience to God
    • 92% do not believe that the wealth they have has been given to them by God to manage for His purposes
    • 91% do not believe that people are born into sin and need to be saved by Jesus Christ
    • 88% say they get their primary moral guidance from various sources other than the Bible
    • 87% do not believe that the ultimate purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God with all of their heart, mind, strength, and soul
    • 76% contend that good people earn a place in Heaven through their good behavior
    • 75% do not believe that God is the basis of all truth
    • 74% believe in Karma
    • 73% say that having some type of religious faith is more important than which faith is embraced
    • 71% do not believe that the Bible is the true and reliable communication from God

    Other errant beliefs possessed by a majority of adults who are substantially influenced by MTD include the fact that they do not hold an orthodox, biblical understand of God; they do not believe in the creation story; they reject the existence of absolute moral truth; they deny the existence of the Holy Spirit; and they do believe it is possible to reach complete spiritual maturity in their lifetime.
    As to who tends to believe in MTD,
    As noted, a large majority of those who are attracted to MTD consider themselves to be Christian—and almost half of those are Catholics, with the next largest chunk associated with churches that are traditionally black, Protestant congregations.

    Among racial and ethnic segments, Hispanics showed the greatest alignment with MTD, with a majority of them (52%) drawing heavily or moderately from MTD perspectives. CRC noted that because a large share of Hispanics is Catholic—more than four out of 10—this outcome was not surprising.

    There was a significant age gap evident, too, as people under age 50 were more than twice as likely as the 50- plus to find MTD appealing. That is also to be expected given the genesis of the worldview itself: research among teenagers at the start of the new millennium.
    The AWVI 2021 also found that about six out of 10 LGBTQ adults are consistently engaged with MTD. Although relatively few spiritual Skeptics buy into elements of MTD, individuals who are associated with Islam and Judaism were more likely than average to adopt many MTD tenets.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Generational Worldview Shift: Millennials Seek World without God, Bible, Churches - Arizona Christian University
    noting
    CRC_AWVI2021_Release03_Digital_01_20210512.pdf

    His definitions:
    • Builders: 1927-1945
    • Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
    • Generation X: 1965-1983
    • Millennials: 1984-2002

    Builders = Silent Generation, it seems
    • They are significantly more likely than older Americans to define success in terms of personal happiness, condone abortion if pregnancy inhibits personal happiness, see premarital sex as morally acceptable, view reincarnation as possible, and embrace liberal positions on social and fiscal issues, as well as liberal theology.
    • They are significantly less likely to embrace key traditional biblical teachings, including the nature of God, “original sin”, salvation, creation, life after death, human purpose, and biblical morality.

    Strikingly, while four out of 10 people 55 or older (40%) can be classified as born-again Christians based on their beliefs about personal salvation, just one out of every six Millennials (16%) meets the criterion. Instead, the research shows younger Americans are far more likely to embrace a counterfeit version of Christianity known as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism for worldview guidance.
    Belief or Behavior Mill GenX Boom Builder
    Willing to try anything at least once 66 57 31 28
    Believe in karma 64 61 52 30
    Humans developed over time from less advanced forms 54 53 40 34
    Reincarnation is a very real possibility 51 39 29 20
    Personally receive guidance from your horoscope 35 32 10 3
    Individual ownership of property facilitates economic injustice 35 34 13 16
    You try to get even with people who have wronged you 38 33 12 10
    Universal purpose for all people is to know, love, and serve God with all heart, mind, strength and soul 19 30 42 50
    Universe was designed and created, and is sustained by God 30 47 62 67
    God is the all-knowing, all powerful, just creator of the universe, He still rules it today 31 47 57 64
    Human beings were created by God in His image but are Fallen creatures in need of redemption by Jesus Christ 40 57 65 60
    Satan is a real, influential being 44 58 64 55
    Deeply committed to practicing my faith 45 57 64 72
    You treat others as you want them to treat you 48 53 81 90

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    Some of the items are rather odd.

    "Personally receive guidance from your horoscope" ??? Are there really that many people who consult astrologers on a regular basis?

    "Humans developed over time from less advanced forms" What does George Barna think of Xian evolutionists like Francis Collins?

    Spiritual Indicator Mill GenX Boom Builder
    Consider yourself to be a Christian 57 70 79 83
    Praise, thank or worship God each week 45 66 70 72
    Don't know, care, or believe that God exists 43 31 28 27
    Believe that when they die they will go to Heaven but only because they confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior 16 26 41 39
    Possess a biblical worldview 4 6 8 9
    Moralistic Therapeutic Deism 44 38 32 29
    Biblical Theism 9 22 42 47
    Postmodernism 18 13 14 17
    Secular Humanism 15 11 14 19
    Eastern Mysticism 12 7 9 6
    Nihilism 11 8 8 13
    Marxism 10 9 9 14
    I find the three don't's rather interesting. Are there really that many agnostics and atheists? Or do some of them believe in sorts of deities different from the Xian God? Like a pantheist world-soul.

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    CRC_2020PostElectionSurvey_Report04_Digital_01_202 10216.pdf
    The latest findings from the 2020 Post-Election Survey from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University provide new insights into the faith of roughly 81 million Americans—about 31% of all American adults— who voted for President Biden in November.

    Most (56%) described themselves as “spiritual but not religious” and only three out of ten (30%) believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Biden supporters are less likely to believe the Bible is true (30%) and reject the idea of absolute moral truth (75%).

    Instead, Biden voters are more likely to believe moral truth is up to each individual and that there are no moral absolutes that apply to everyone, all the time—75% of Biden supporters hold this position compared to 67% of all American adults.
    That's a very simplistic view of ethical relativism.
    The post-election survey showed that Trump won most of the votes cast by adults who usually attend Protestant churches (47% compared to Biden’s 33%), while Biden received almost twice as many votes (45% to 25%) among adults in the “Don’ts” faith segment (i.e., they don’t know if God exists, don’t believe that God exists, or don’t care if God exists). That group provided 29% of the Biden vote.
    Faith-related attribute All adults Biden voters
    Having faith matters more than which faith you have 74 79
    Self-identified "Christian" 70 65
    Identifying moral truth is up to each individual; there are no moral absolutes that apply to everyone, all the time 67 75
    A person who is generally good, or does enough good things for others, will earn a place on Heaven 65 72
    All religious faiths are of equal value 62 68
    The marriage of one man to one woman is God's only acceptable plan for humanity, for all cultures on earth 54 42
    The Bible is ambiguous on the matter of abortion; it is possible to make compelling biblical arguments either for or against abortion 51 60
    God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules that universe today 47 37
    When you die you are certain you will go to Heaven only because you have confessed your sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior 24 15
    I have to ask how well these Bible worshippers have read the book that they worship so much, because the Bible has lots of marriages of one man and several women, marriages described without as much as a whiff of disapproval.

    As to the Bible and abortion, it says very little, and what it does say is not very explicit.
    The post-election survey noted that Mr. Trump won most of the votes cast by adults who usually attend Protestant churches while Mr. Biden won overwhelming majorities of the votes from people aligned with non-Christian faiths (e.g., Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.). Among Protestant churchgoers Mr. Trump won 47% of the vote compared to 33% for Mr. Biden. (Most of the rest of those attending Protestant churches did not vote.) Catholics gave Mr. Biden a slim 44%- 40% margin of preference.

    Among people aligned with non-Christian faiths Mr. Biden was the candidate of choice by nearly a 2-to-1 margin (53% vs. 28%). Among adults in the “Don’ts” faith segment – i.e., they don’t know if God exists, don’t believe that God exists, or don’t care if God exists – Mr. Biden received almost twice as many votes as did Mr. Trump (45% vs. 25%).

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    Faith-related attribute Trump voters Biden voters
    Self-identification: Christian 80 65
    The marriage of one man to one woman is God's only acceptable plan for humanity, for all cultures on earth 69 42
    God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules that universe today 60 37
    All religious faiths are of equal value 56 68
    Active in a local Christian church 42 31
    Self-identification: theologically conservative 42 25
    Absolute moral truths exist and are defined in the Bible 43 25
    The Bible is ambiguous on the matter of abortion; it is possible to make compelling biblical arguments either for or against abortion 41 60
    When you die you are certain you will go to Heaven only because you have confessed your sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior 34 15
    Attend a Protestant church 42 27
    Attend a Catholic church 21 21
    Attend a Christian church, type undetermined 13 13
    Associated with a non-Christian faith 7 9
    Don't believe in God/care about God/think God's existence is knowable 18 29
    That poll did not distinguish between evangelical and mainline Protestants. I think that much of the Trump - Biden difference is due to evangelicals.

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    Shame we don't have George Barna type research for every 25 years of the past couple millennia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Research by Dr. George Barna at
    Cultural Research Center - Arizona Christian University at Arizona Christian University

    I like him because he doesn't seem Pollyannaish. He is willing to report what he considers bad news.

    Vast Majority of Americans Stitch Together Patchwork Worldview of Conflicting Beliefs, Making “Syncretism” Top Worldview Among U.S. Adults - Arizona Christian University
    noting
    CRC_AWVI2021_Release01_Digital_01_20210413.pdf
    The leading worldviews with respect to American’s beliefs and behaviors are Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (39% of U.S. adults either lean strongly or moderately toward its specific beliefs and behaviors) and the biblical worldview (31% lean strongly or moderately toward its beliefs and behaviors). As for the influence of the other worldviews, the percentage of adults who lean strongly or moderately toward specific beliefs and behaviors include: Secular Humanism (16%); Postmodernism (16%); Nihilism (10%); Eastern Mysticism (10%); Marxism (10%).

    Now that I think about it I would agree religion can be therapeutic for believers. People in distress literaly turn their lives around.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    From the 2021 releases, it is hard to see what the Barna team called Marxism, Postmodernism, Eastern Mysticism, Secular Humanism, and Nihilism. In the first one, I found "... Marxism (along with its offshoot, critical race theory) and Eastern Mysticism (also known as “New Age”)"

    A "biblical worldview" is what a theologically conservative Xian might believe, and "moralistic therapeutic deism" seems like liberal Xianity and similar in other religious traditions.

    Research - Arizona Christian University - research reports (PDF files)

    It has 2020 along with 2021 research, so there might be more to be found there.


    The ACU people claim to love the "free market", but the Bible is firm about how "you cannot serve both God and money" (Matt 6:24, Luke 16:13) and that "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim 6:10). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ says that accumulating earthly wealth is pointless, that it's better to score points with God Almighty (heavenly wealth) (Matt 6:19-21). Also that one should not worry about one's future, because God will rain down on you all the food and clothing that you will need. Just like how God feeds the birds (Matt 6:21) and clothes the lilies in the fields (Matt 6:28-30). Except that that is absolute bullshit. Birds have to search for their food and flowers' colors are built-in.

    Can anyone find in the Bible some glorification of wealth accumulation that is comparable to Francisco d'Anconia's "money speech" in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"? In it, that novel's character argues that money is the root of all good.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    That site has "American Worldview Inventory 2020", and I looked in the documents there for results.

    CRC-AWVI-2020-Release_01-Worldview-in-America.pdf
    "CRC Survey Shows Dangerously Low Percentage of Americans Hold Biblical Worldview"
    • Only one-fifth of those attending evangelical Protestant churches (21%) have a biblical worldview, as compared to one-sixth of those attending charismatic or Pentecostal churches (16%). The study finds even smaller proportions in mainline Protestant (8%) or Catholic (1%) churches.
    • The number of American adults holding a biblical worldview has declined by 50% over the past quarter century.
    • Regarding the youngest adult generation the numbers are even more startling. A mere 2% of those 18 to 29 years old possess a biblical worldview


    ...
    As might be expected, church alignments were directly related to worldview. People associated with Christian churches that have a “high view” of the Bible – i.e., believing that the Bible is the inspired, true word of God and is a reliable guide for life – were much more likely to have a biblical worldview than were people attending other types of churches. One-fifth of those attending evangelical Protestant churches (21%) have a biblical worldview, as do one-sixth of those attending charismatic or Pentecostal churches (16%). In contrast, much smaller proportions of people associated with mainline Protestant (8%) or Catholic (1%) churches – segments that typically place less trust in the reliability of the Bible – have a biblical worldview.

    Born again Christians–a segment defined in part by their acceptance of scriptural exhortations regarding sin, grace, and salvation – were three times more likely than average to have a biblical worldview (19%). However, the fact that not quite one out of five born again adults holds a biblical worldview highlights the extensive decline of core Christian principles in America over the last several decades. Born again adults currently constitute about one-third of the national adult population.

    The largest segment of people who describe themselves as Christian is Notional Christians – those who self-identify as Christian and who do not embrace eternal salvation through a personal confession of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Notional Christians constitute 54% of U.S. adults who describe themselves as Christian. Very few Notional Christians – only one-tenth of one percent – have a biblical worldview.
    That is honesty. Very commendable honesty. Much better than bragging about how everybody supposedly agrees with them on the size of God's beard.
    There are geographic differences of note, as well. Only 4% of adults in the Northeastern and Western states have a biblical worldview compared totwice as many who live in the Midwest and South (8%). ...

    Not surprisingly, political leanings were related to peoples’ worldview. Among adults who are politically conservative, 16% have a biblical worldview. That far exceeded the proportion among political moderates (3%) and liberals (1%).

    Another hybrid segment is SAGE Cons – an acronym for Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians, who represent about 9% of the population. A group that is active in both politics and faith, they are credited with playing a pivotal role in putting Donald Trump in the White House in 2016. The survey revealed that nearly half of that group (44%) has a biblical worldview.

    Some demographic qualities – such as gender, presence of young children in the home, and military experience – showed no relationship to whether or not a person has a biblical worldview.
    So GB found what others have found, that a lot of Trump's more hardcore supporters are scriptural percussionists. One might expect such people to go for Mitt Romney, but he wasn't even running in 2020. They'd say "Sure, he's a heretic who wants to be the god of his own planet, but aside from that, he's good. Very very good. Family values, free enterprise, the works. He's everything we need except for his theological beliefs."

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