The worldview dilemma
The Cultural Research Center (CRC), led by renowned Christian researcher, Dr George Barna, conducted a survey early in 2022 to analyze just how many professing evangelical Christian parents of preteens (children under the age of 13), held and taught a biblical worldview to their children. Called The American Worldview Inventory 2022 (AWVI), it posed a number of questions to act as a litmus test with regard to worldview issues including a Christian’s beliefs and behaviors. It revealed that 9 out of 10 parents surveyed had a “muddled worldview”1 and that “two-thirds (67%) of pre-teen parents claimed to be Christian. However, the big picture result was that only 2% of all pre-teen parents actually possessed a biblical worldview.”
Worldviews act as lenses that people use to interpret the world in which they live. So, the million-dollar question is, ‘What is/are the biggest influences that shape a person’s worldview? There is no one-size-fits-all answer because there are often many contributing factors. But the survey revealed that it is one’s parents who have the greatest influence in developing a child’s worldview.
How can Christian parents teach their children a biblical worldview if they themselves are found wanting?
Dr Barna is spot on with his assessment of the problem we are facing. He says:
“Every parent teaches what they know and models what they believe. They can only give what they have, and what they have to give reflects their driving beliefs about life and spirituality.”
He goes on to state that “Parents are not the only agents of influence on their children’s worldview, but they remain both a primary influence and a gatekeeper to other influences.”1
Barna is saying that if they have a problematic worldview then how can they effectively minister to their children? In short, it revealed an ongoing generational problem.
Many people think they possess a ‘Christian’ worldview. But in our experience, this is not the same as a coherent and logical biblical worldview. In America, much of this presents itself as ‘cultural Christianity’ which is influenced by many factors—even political ones. But one cannot ‘cherry pick’ certain biblical texts, while ignoring others just to suit one’s own views. The correct basis or filter for our world must come through the Words of Scripture, and also being obedient to them. Barna’s results serve as further confirmation as to why teens continue to abandon the faith upon leaving home—something CMI has pointed out for years.
That only 2% of professing Christians hold a biblical worldview is obviously quite shocking. But one cannot ‘self-repair’ the problem and be proactive if one is not even aware of the problem to start with.
Getting saved does not come with an automatic download of biblical knowledge!
Here’s a rhetorical question. When you became a Christian did you have an impeccable worldview on all biblical and social issues? Of course not. Our worldviews at the time of salvation were a blend of what our parents taught us, what our education system taught us, and cultural conditioning. This blending of ideas most likely (and unwittingly) contains traces of secular humanism which has its roots in evolutionism, new age thinking, and even postmodernism. So, by God’s grace, as our understanding of the Bible grows it fortifies our worldview because we start to recognize the incompatibilities with these other ‘isms’. Unfortunately, if our starting point about the Bible is wrong, such as having doubts about God’s role as Creator; and that we have difficulty trusting His written account in the early chapters of the Bible, it leads to compromised interpretations. As such, one’s worldview will not grow in biblical conformity and will only become more muddled. For example, in discussions about Genesis we often hear “Well, I think that ….”, rather than an answer based upon Scripture.
CMI unashamedly teaches that one’s starting point of reasoning must be based upon God’s infallible Word. The Bible is His navigational guide through this turbulent world and its competing philosophies. The Apostle Peter conveyed this most beautifully in 2 Peter 1:3:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
And Paul confirms that God’s Word is indeed infallible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
One must first believe and trust the Bible before worldview surgery can begin
Barna’s research focused on parents with preteen children. This parental group are in the generational category called Millennials 1981–1996, with an age range of 26–41 years old. And according to CRC’s research “the younger the parent, the less likely they are to have a biblical worldview.”1 To break this generational cycle, children need to understand and trust what the Bible says from a very early age and from the very first verse. Failing to do this puts our children at a spiritual disadvantage and leaves them vulnerable to competing ideologies. You might ask, ‘why the very first verse; isn’t the most important thing in the Bible Jesus?’
Of course, and the Genesis Creation account is all about Jesus! John 1:1–4 confirms this.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
All is not lost. A generational change can and does happen
CMI serves over a thousand churches globally each year, and we do so without asking for speaking or travel fees. Also, normally our speakers travel alone and take care of all the event details themselves, working with volunteers the church provides. This is very hard work as you can imagine. Why is this our model, instead of some other type of outreach? It’s because from firsthand experience we have known all along what Barna’s research has also revealed.
Highlighting the FALLOUT!
Concerned that Christian parents were not recognizing these crucial worldview factors, a few years ago, Gary Bates, CMI-US’s former CEO, was compelled to put a ‘real’ face to the dire statistics we hear about youth leaving the church. With a film crew, he surveyed hundreds of youths on college campuses who were featured in a ground-shaking DVD called FALLOUT!.
The results are clear to see! These once-Christian youths openly confessed that their own families and churches failed to engage them with solid Creation apologetics. (They still did not even know there was good evidence for biblical Creation.) And it was the lack of this foundational teaching that was the major reason for students abandoning the faith that they were raised in.
We are no longer a Christian culture
For years, it sufficed to teach Bible stories and to say, “Just believe in Jesus”. However, that was in an environment where we were not being assaulted and brainwashed on every front that evolution is true and that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors millions of years ago—in other words, the message that the Bible cannot be trusted.
We are not saying here that the church is the problem. We’ve seen that Bible-believing churches that take a stand on origins and worldview issues are actually part of the solution. CMI has had a 40-plus year relationship with churches all over the world. Churches that desire to teach a comprehensive biblical worldview are also the ones that take a stand on teaching the book of Genesis as true history. Thus, they don’t shy away from inviting ministries like CMI to their church for in-depth creation teaching that really makes a difference. The FALLOUT survey showed that such churches produced disciples that still believed, in spite of the humanistic onslaught they received in higher education.
“Tonight, was truly amazing! I went to hear Dr. Jonathan Sarfati speak at a local church. God used him greatly in my life over 10 years ago when I was first saved… It was the work of Dr. Sarfati’s book (and the bestselling creationist book of all time Refuting Evolution) that I used to help give my grandfather, who was an atheist and evolutionist, solid evidences that countered evolution. [It] helped him see that the Bible was trustworthy and after 87 years he bent his knee and embraced Christ as Lord and Master shortly before he died.”—Devin P.
Therefore, our main objective is to minister to congregations on Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings are when most Christians attend church (including ‘cultural Christians’). They are not there because CMI is there but are just regularly attending because that is just what Christians do. Yet, any attending that have a worldview muddied up by unbiblical ideas, unexpectedly get to hear a CMI speaker powerfully proclaim that you can trust the Bible from the very first verse, and that real science has nothing to do with evolution! Creation is the ultimate game changer for a person’s worldview dilemma. CMI’s messages provide hope and biblical understanding in a confusing world. Of course, we can’t fight this fight alone. It takes solid churches making a stand and supporters like you praying and providing the financial support needed to send our speakers to the church.
Did you know that most of our scientists and staff members were once just like the people surveyed for the CRC’s study? Yet, after being exposed to the Creation message, a change took hold. Now those same people are impacting tens of thousands of believers each year. Thank you again for helping us in our mission to evoke change.