Even though 67% of parents of American preteens identify as Christians, only 2% of all preteen parents hold a Biblical worldview. Among those identifying as Christians, the number isn’t much better: 4% hold a Biblical worldview. Instead, most of these parents are subscribing to a hodgepodge of ideas and philosophies. This is among the latest findings of the American Worldview Inventory, a project of pollster George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University in Glendale, Arizona.
“Shockingly few parents intentionally speak to their children about beliefs and behavior based upon a Biblical worldview,” Barna said. “Perhaps the most powerful worldview lesson parents provide is though their own behavior, yet our studies consistently indicate that parental choices generally do not reflect Biblical principles or an intentionally Christian approach to life.”
As the study notes, a Biblical worldview emerges from a high view of the Bible as a “relevant and authoritative guide for life,” yet only 40% of parents of preteens say the Bible is trustworthy and accurate. And of those, only 45% say they read the Bible at least once a week.
Instead, syncretism—a blending of multiple and often contradictory belief systems—is the dominant way parents of preteens view the world, with some 94% falling into that category. Millennials are the predominant generational group for parents of preteens, yet they are the least likely adult generation to esteem the Bible.
Among other findings:
—Only 19% of parents of preteens attend a Bible-believing church (independent or nondenominational Protestant, Pentecostal/charismatic, or evangelical).
—The younger the parent, the less likely they are to hold a Biblical worldview.
—Only 52% of preteen parents claim to be “deeply committed” to their faith, a notable drop from previous generations.
—Of the parents who embrace a Biblical worldview, half of those have household family incomes of between $40,000 and $75,000. In households earning more than $100,000, only one-half of 1% of parents hold a Biblical worldview.
Additionally, these groups are more likely to hold a Biblical worldview:
—Parents over age 45
—Parents in the South and West
—Both political and theological conservatives
“A parent’s primary responsibility is to prepare a child for the life God intends for that child,” said Barna, noting that a person’s worldview is mostly set before adolescence. “A crucial element in that nurturing is helping the child develop a Biblical worldview—a filter that causes a person to make their choices in harmony with Biblical teachings and principles.
“It seems that most preteen parents are unaware—or certainly unfazed—by the contradiction between calling themselves ‘Christian’ but living in ways that repudiate the teachings of Jesus and the principles of the Bible.”
Still, Barna says there is reason to hope and pray for a renewal of Biblical Christianity.
“The reality is that culture-changing movements can transform a nation with as little as 2% of the population onboard. Turning around the paucity of commitment to the Biblical worldview cannot happen overnight, in the United States, but it can happen.
“While the percentage of American adults with a Biblical worldview is small, it transcends the lower size limit of movements that have successfully transformed aspects of American culture. We estimate that there are perhaps 10 to 15 million adults in the country who have a Biblical worldview and therefore might be engaged in such a worldview transformation effort.”
This was the first of four such studies planned for release this year from Arizona Christian University’s Cultural Research Center as part of the American Worldview Inventory 2022, an annual survey that evaluates the worldviews of the U.S. adult population.
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