Release date: October 18, 2018
Survey Reveals That Fewer Adults Have a Biblical
Worldview Now Than Two Years Ago
(Ventura, CA) – Everyone has a worldview. That worldview is hugely important because “you do what you believe” and “your worldview is the central data bank of your significant beliefs.”
That’s how researcher and best-selling author George Barna, who serves as the President of Metaformation, explained the focal point of his latest research. The objective of the study, which was part of a multi-year tracking study he has conducted, was to determine how many people have a worldview that is based primarily upon biblical principles, i.e., a biblical worldview.
“There is an integral connection between what you believe to be true, right and appropriate, and how you act,” Barna commented. “We all work hard to make sense of life that many challenges and opportunities we face from moment to moment. Your worldview is your response to how you understanding all of those situations and their implications, based on your core beliefs, values, morals, assumptions, and expectations.
“Behavior is not random,” the researcher continued. “It is an outgrowth of our understanding and interpretation of reality and its consequences. Identifying the prevailing worldview held by people enables us to better comprehend their life choices, and even to predict what is likely to happen in our society. Knowing which worldviews dominate a society – and thus the behaviors we can expect as a result – enables us to either reinforce that worldview or to create a process to alter it.”
Barna was presenting the findings from his 2018 research on how many Americans possess a biblical worldview. The research was a continuation of research he initiated in 1995 at the Barna Group (a company he founded in 1984 and sold in 2009) and reignited with the American Culture and Faith Institute in 2016.
2018 Worldview Results
The 2018 data, based on surveys conducted among a national sample of 6,000 adults, age 18 or older, revealed that the proportion of adults who have a biblical worldview dropped from 10% in 2016 to 9% in 2017 and 7% in 2018.
Among the demographic correlations noted by Barna were the following:
· Adults under the age of 35 are just half as likely as older adults to have a biblical worldview. Among Millennials, 4% have one, compared to 8% among Gen Xers, 9% among Baby Boomers, and 9% among Elders.
· Non-Hispanic whites are the ethnic segment most likely to embrace a biblical worldview. Overall, 9% of them had one, compared to 3% among Hispanics, 6% of blacks, and 5% of Asians.
· In total, just 10% of adults who identify themselves as Christian have a biblical worldview. Among people whose beliefs about salvation qualify them as born again Christians, less than one out of every four (23%) has a biblical worldview.
· More than nine out of every ten adults who have a biblical worldview are associated with a Protestant church. Among people aligned with a Protestant church one-eighth (12%) have a biblical worldview, compared to 1% aligned with the Catholic Church and less than 1% of those associated with the Mormon faith.
· Among those who are registered to vote as Republicans, 15% have a biblical worldview. That is double the proportion found among Independents (7%) and more than seven times the proportion among Democrats (2%). Seven percent of adults who are not registered to vote have a biblical worldview.
· Only one out of every twenty parents of children under 18 in their home (5%) has a biblical worldview.
· While education showed no discernible relationship with having a biblical worldview, the study showed that the less household income a person had, the more likely they are to have a biblical worldview. Eight percent of adults from homes earning under $60,000 had a biblical worldview, compared to 6% among those from homes earning $60,000 to $100,000 and 5% among those from households making more than $100,000.
· Married adults are twice as likely as those who have never been married to have a biblical worldview (10% versus 5%, respectively). Ten percent of adults who are currently divorced have such a worldview, while only 2% of those currently cohabiting have one.
The survey also discovered that one-sixth of adults (17%) who have an on-going connection with a Christian ministry, other than a church, that regularly addresses how Christians, the Bible or the Christian faith relate to the nation's culture, morals, and values, have a biblical worldview. In contrast, just 4% of adults who are not connected to such a parachurch ministry have a biblical worldview.
Change Must Be Intentional
Barna believes that the proportion of people with a biblical worldview will continue to decline unless churches and families prioritize worldview development, especially among young children.
“The secular worldviews most common in the United States are constantly reinforced by the entertainment media to which people are consistently exposed,” he stated. “To counteract that continual reinforcement of non-biblical principles will require an intentional and strategic effort on the part of Christians – through family, churches, schools, entertainment, and laws – to shift the way Americans think and behave.”
A Comparison of Biblical Worldview Data by
Selected Population Segments, 2016-2018
Percentage that has
a Biblical Worldview
Population Segment 2016 2018
All adults, 18 or older 10% 7%
Born again Christians 31% 23%
Protestant 19 12
Catholic 2 1
Millennials 4% 4%
Gen. X 9 8
Baby Boomers 15 9
Elders 18 9
Males 9% 7%
Women 11 8
White adults 12% 9%
Hispanic adults 7 3
Black adults 9 6
Asian adults 6 5
Married 12% 10%
Never been married 8 5
Source: Metaformation Inc. and American Culture & Faith Institute, 2018. Samples sizes: 2016 = 6,000; 2018 = 6,000.
About the Research
This research is based on interviews conducted among 6,000 adults across the United States, age 18 or older, in surveys that included 40 questions related to the respondent’s worldview. Half of those questions focused on their religious beliefs and the other 20 were about their behavior related to their beliefs. The questionnaire included additional questions pertaining to demographics and other matters. The surveys were conducted online using a national panel.
The research and analysis was conducted by Metaformation, Inc. and the American Culture & Faith Institute. (Note: ACFI closed its operations on August 1 of this year.) The data for this research was collected between February 2 and June 28, 2018.
For a person to “qualify” as having a biblical worldview they needed to answer at least 80% of the 40 worldview questions in a manner consistent with biblical principles. Individuals who reached that standard were labeled “Integrated Disciples” – people who have integrated their faith into their lifestyle as a reflection of their determination to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Millennials: people born between 1984 and 2002.
Gen X: people born between 1965 and 1983.
Boomers: people born between 1946 and 1964.
Elders: people born before 1946.
Born again Christians are people who consider themselves as Christian and believe that when they die they will go to Heaven only because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Being born again is NOT based on describing oneself as “born again” and it is not based on church attendance. In our surveys, born again Christians represent 30% of the adult population.
Metaformation Inc. is a research and communications company devoted to helping people optimize their life, using public opinion research as a vehicle to understanding conditions, challenges, and opportunities. It was founded in 1984 by George Barna, who serves as its President. It is not affiliated with the American Culture and Faith Institute, the Barna Group, or other organizations. For more information about this and other research conducted by George Barna, visit his website at www.georgebarna.com. To contact Metaformation use the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.