By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16
Everyone has a worldview, but we do not all share the same worldview. A worldview simply is the intellectual and emotional filter through which we experience, interpret, and respond to the world. Our worldview begins developing before we are two years old and is almost fully formed before we reach our teenage years. That worldview helps us to identify who we want to be, how we want to live, and what we consider to be right and good. We feel good about ourselves when we live in concert with that worldview; we feel uncomfortable when we make choices or engage in behaviors that conflict with our worldview. ACFI
The Worldview Measurement Project was the biggest national worldview survey ever conducted, by American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI). It found a huge gap between the number of Americans claiming to be Christian and the number that live biblically. The survey found many Americans that profess Christianity could not pass Christianity 101.
The ACFI survey was three surveys that divided people into public, Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians (SAGE Cons), and theologically conservative pastors. In the results is a group labeled “Integrated Disciples”, who answered 80% or more of the questions in accordance with biblical principles – “that is, people who are designated as having a biblical worldview based on integrating their beliefs and behavior into a lifestyle that reflects foundational biblical principles.”
The survey was divided between 20 “Christianity 101” questions about basic spiritual beliefs and 20 questions on behavior that is addressed in the Bible – cheating, lying, cheating, pornography, stealing, the nature of God and the consequences of unresolved sin.
Barna noted. “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. Because that process involves both beliefs and behavior, with the intention of being an imitator of Christ, we chose to call such people Integrated Disciples. They are effectively blending their beliefs and behavior into a Christ-like lifestyle.”
The results were dismal.
There was a disconnect in the survey of those claiming to have a “Biblical worldview” (46 percent) and those that actually did – 10 percent.
Only 4 percent of people aged 18-29 scored 80 percent or better, those aged 30-49 scored 7 percent,
while those aged 50-64 scored 15 percent and the over 65’s scored 17 percent as integrated disciples.
Religious groups – 19% of Protestants fit into the classification of integrated disciples while only 2% of Catholics do.
There was a disconnect between the perception and action of survey participants identifying as theologically conservatives (32 percent) with only about a quarter falling into the category of integrated disciples.
Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians (SAGE Cons) scored 90% as integrated disciples, scoring higher than the theologically conservative Protestant pastors.
Importance Of The Survey Results
A LifeWay Research survey exposed a troubling aspect of the biblical worldview held by many Christians, many are fuzzy on biblical details.
It matters a lot when belief doesn’t correspond to action because belief without action is dead. It matters because a confusing contradiction of beliefs, comfortable heresies and half-remembered opinions leads to division, sin and a falling away from the church. ProphecyNewsWatch
Barna reminds us, “Everyone has a worldview. The critical question is which one people have embraced. If we want to transform our culture then we will need to change the choices people make that produce that culture. And in order to change those choices, we must identify the beliefs that led to those choices.”…
“The implications of the choices that we, as a society, have made since the mid-Sixties, in terms of parenting, education, media exposure, religious training, and political influence, are now inescapable. Because a person’s worldview is developed before their teen years, it takes a while for that process to bear its fruit. But the divisiveness we have in the United States today did not emerge overnight. It is the outgrowth of the principles and values that were taught to our children over the last 50 years. Now that they are adults, we are seeing the impact of those choices.
“And in the same way that it took a long time for those choices to produce results,” Barna concluded, “it will take several decades of intentional development of children to alter the direction in which America is moving these days.”
The Worldview Measurement Project-Research findings