A generation that has grown up with pop culture, instant access to media of all types and daily bombardment of “alternative lifestyle” messaging is struggling in more ways than one.
Millennials — those aged anywere form 18-29 in 2017 — have a shockingly low biblical worldview according to a new research study by the American Faith & Culture Institute. Only about 4% of Millennials have a truly biblical world vies, in contrast to 16% of their grandparents and 7% of their parents.
What makes this generation so secular – and will this trend continue?
Education in our public schools places a heavy emphasis on culture and entertainment that directly contradicts the biblical world view and influences outside of the family could be to blame, according to the study. About 90% of kids in the US go to public schools – where religion and religious expression is openly mocked, deplored or outright banned.
How the Study Worked
Researchers spoke with over 6,000 people during the course of the study, and included those from three different groups: conservative Protestant ministers, active and engaged conservative Christians, and the general public.
“Our research collected information about attitudes and behaviors related to practical matters like lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, the nature of God, and the consequences of unresolved sin,” researcher George Barna explained.
Topics covered were 20 “Christianity 101” questions that included information about basic spiritual beliefs and 20 questions assessing behavior. Researchers reviewed and complied answers, comparing the results of biblical knowledge and actual action and lifestyle.
Just 4 percent of young people aged between 18 and 29 years old scored 80 percent or better, which the study created as a bench march to qualify as an “integrated disciple” with a truly Biblical worldview. Integrate disciple is a term coined to identify how much ones stated beliefs regulate one’s actions and lifestyle; or how much the Bible guides your life.
“[I]n developing this instrument we discovered that someone may claim to believe something, but if their behavior does reflect those beliefs, it is doubtful that they really believe what they claimed to believe,” according to Barna.
“Jesus taught His disciples that the right beliefs are good, but the real measure of where you stand is what He labeled the fruit of a person’s life, referring to the product of applying one’s convictions. As a result, we created this measurement process with the intention of blending both core beliefs and core behaviors to estimate the biblical consistency of peoples’ worldview.” Barna, on the creation of the study and how results were measured.
Millennials in Crisis
A few troubling statistics about Millennials from the latest research shine a light on the issue, and portray an alarming crisis among this demographic:
• 33% or one out of every three older adults is a born again Christian, believing they will be in Heaven with God after death. They have accepted Jesus as Lord, confessed their sins and are among the righteous. Only 20% of Millennials have the same belief system.
• Only 2% of adults over 30 claim to be agnostic or atheist, but 28% of Millennials claim to be atheist, agnostic, or have no faith at all.
• 43% of adults over thirty support same sex marriage, but this controversial issue is supported by 65% of the Millennial population.
The American Culture and Faith Institute created the study; their leader, George Barna had this to say about Millennials and faith:
“Remember, a person’s worldview is typically developed between the ages of about 18 months and 13 years… There is usually very little movement in a worldview after that point. You could say with confidence that the worldview a person possesses at age 13 is probably the worldview they will die with. Unless pre-existing patterns radically change, we are not likely to ever see the Millennial generation reach even ten percent who have a biblical worldview…”
The study goes on to state that parents are the primary influences on the overall worldview of their kids – so the dearth of Millennials with a Biblical worldview could have dire consequences for the next generation. Since these young people do not have or embrace a Biblical approach, their own children are unlikely to do so either.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. “(Proverbs 22:6)
If you’re a parent, intentionally incorporating faith into your child’s worldview from an early age can help them avoid becoming part of the majority – and ensure they have access and support to the materials and teaching they need to grow into moral adults. Children as young as 5 are indoctrinated in the classroom today about everything from gay marriage to gender choice, so starting early and offering support at home is key to a good outcome for your own family.
~ 1776 Christian