Renowned worldview researcher George Barna of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University released the third of twelve groundbreaking, bi-weekly reports regarding the worldview of Americans on Tuesday and the research continues to reveal startling, if not disheartening, results.
The latest revelations from Barna’s American Worldview Inventory include the finding that only half of American adults (51%) still believe in a traditional, biblical view of God as the “all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules the world today.” In fact, faith in a deity fitting that description has plummeted from three-quarters of adults just thirty years ago (73% in 1991) to the present-day statistic.
As for other basic tenets of Christian faith:
- 44% of those surveyed agreed that “when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ was fully divine and also fully human, and therefore committed sins, like other people.” Slightly fewer—41%—disagreed, embracing the biblical teaching that while Jesus was both fully deity and fully human, He did not commit sins during His time on earth.
- Over half of all adults—52%—contend that “the Holy Spirit is not a living entity, but merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity.”
- Perhaps most shockingly, most Americans—56%—believe that “Satan is not merely a symbol of evil but is a real spiritual being and influences human lives,” meaning that there is more confidence about the existence of Satan than there is of God (51%). Furthermore, a significant share—49%—of those that claim to believe in a God who is an influential spiritual being are not even fully confident that He exists at all.
“The spiritual noise in our culture over the last few decades has confused and misled hundreds of millions of people,” Barna remarked. “The message to churches, Christian leaders, and Christian educators is clear: we can no longer assume that people have a solid grasp of even the most basic biblical principles.”
The veteran researcher and bestselling author continued, perhaps referencing a culture that has for some time been dominated by rampant individualism, as well as technology and social media, “Thirty years ago, people spent time learning and thinking about God. But, as our culture has become more self-absorbed, less time is invested reflecting on authority and truth. We’ve transitioned from a people who upheld the existence of absolute moral truth to a nation that rejects moral absolutes. The result has been a seminal shift in our collective focus, from other to self, and from absolute truths to conditional truths. That helps to explain why the ‘doesn’t/don’t know/don’t care’ population, regarding the existence of God, has mushroomed from 8 percent to 32 percent in just 30 years. That’s one-third of the nation’s adults who have chosen to dismiss traditional teachings about God, the importance of personally determining whether a powerful, holy, Creator God exists, and the implications of their conclusion for their present and future.”