THE TAKE AWAY
Barna's Worldview Study
Do Christians really have a biblical worldview?
By Kersley Fitzgerald
Barna Worldview Study Barna Group is a research organization that specializes in tracking cultural beliefs about religion and spirituality. Their scope is tremendous, and I encourage you to get lost in their site.
They recently released a report labeled "Competing Worldviews Influence Today's Christians." It used a poll to ask people if they agreed with worldviews that were consistent with philosophies other than Christianity. The report found that of those polled who claim to be believers who regularly go to church only 17 percent actually held a biblical worldview.
It's easy to get caught up in what the culture teaches or what looks right in the world instead of delving into the Bible and determining if writings from 2000-4000 years ago still apply today. But it's important to realize that if we believe what the Bible says about Jesus, we have to believe what it says about us, our culture, and how we should see the world. The mission of GotQuestions.org is to help people do just that, and GotQuestions.org and Blogos.org have articles on many of these issues.
The Barna article lists three questions each for the philosophies of New Spirituality, Secularism, Post-Modernism, and Marxism. Here are the questions listed and our responses.
New Spirituality is a mix of Christianity with beliefs and practices more commonly seen in Eastern religions with a dollop of pseudo-quantum mechanics thrown in (think Doctor Strange). Some use it as another term for "New Age." Its emphasis on the spirit world draws in Christians who like the feel of Buddhism, occult practices such as Tarot cards and palm reading, or are attracted to angel worship and "sacred geometries." Of the practicing Christians Barna interviewed, 61 percent agreed with one or more of the following New Spirituality philosophies:
"All people ultimately pray to the same god or spirit." (28 percent agree)
"Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?"
"How is Jesus different from other religious leaders?"
"Why All Roads Do Lead to God"
"Meaning and purpose come from becoming one with all that is." (27 percent agree)
"What is the concept of Nirvana in Buddhism?"
"What does the Bible say about how to find purpose in life?"
"If you do good, you will receive good. If you do bad, you will receive bad." (32 percent agree)
"What does the Bible say about karma?"
"Is 'you reap what you sow' biblical?"
"What does the Bible say about sowing and reaping?"
Secularism is an attempt to explain the world and our role in it using science and logic, completely rejecting religion and spirituality. Its exclusive focus on the physical world — right here and right now — is counter to what the Bible teaches about God and the part of us that is spirit. Twenty-nine percent of Christians polled held one or more of the following secularist views:
"A belief has to be proven by science to know it is true." (10 percent agree)
"If I Only was a Brain"
"When the Natural Meets the Supernatural"
"A person's life is valuable only if society sees it as valuable." (13 percent agree)
"What does it mean to believe in the sanctity of life?"
"Life Matters: Remembering the worth of lives in a violent world"
"Meaning and purpose come from working hard to earn as much as possible so you can make the most of life." (20 percent agree)
"How should a Christian view materialism?"
"The Love of Money"
Postmodernism was a reaction to the failure of modernism to use reason to explain the purpose of life. Instead of relying on science, it sticks more with feelings, and rejects the idea of objective and absolute truths. Postmodernism is the philosophy behind the concept of "find your truth," as each person has their own, and no one is allowed to judge another's belief system. Of Christians polled, 54 percent had at least one of the following postmodern beliefs:
"No one can know for certain what meaning and purpose there is to life." (19 percent agree)
"What is the meaning of life?"
"Purpose in Life"
"What is morally right or wrong depends on what an individual believes." (23 percent agree)
"What is moral relativism?"
"What is ethical relativism?"
"What is cultural relativism?"
"The Problems with Moral Relativism"
"If your beliefs offend someone or hurt their feelings, it is wrong." (15 percent agree)
"What does the Bible say about political correctness? Should a Christian be politically correct?"
"Should Christians be tolerant of other people's religious beliefs?"
Marxism teaches that, historically, ruling classes have oppressed those they rule. An ideal society is one in which everyone shares everything, no one owns anything, and the purpose of the government is to keep the utopia going. Marxism is the philosophy that drives socialism and communism. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot on Marxism.* Perhaps due to the recent election and Marxism's proximity to socialism, 36 percent of practicing believers held one or more of the following views:
"Private property encourages greed and envy." (11 percent agree)
"The government, rather than individuals, should control as much of the resources as necessary to ensure that everyone gets their fair share." (14 percent agree)
"If the government leaves them alone, business will mostly do what's right." (15 percent agree)
"Is Marxism compatible with the Christian faith?"
"How should a Christian view socialism?"
"What does the Bible say about capitalism?"
When we fill our time with the pervading culture, we can't help but to absorb some of those beliefs. Some are subtle. Some are half-truths that Satan uses to convince us of half-lies. That's why GotQuestions.org is here — to research the Scriptures and present with the whole truths. And that's why we encourage everyone to look through our articles, stay away from questionable sites, and — most importantly! — read your Bible.
"Why is understanding the Bible important?"
"What is a Christian worldview?"
"With all of the different religions, how can I know which one is correct?"
"How can we know what parts of the Bible apply to us today?"
* Yeah, funny story about that. Back in 2010, NPR interviewed the boss about our Christian-worldview search engine SeekFind.org. As the homepage says, "The mission of SeekFind.org is to provide God-honoring, biblically based, and theologically sound Christian search engine results in a highly accurate and well-organized format." To that end, SeekFind only looks through a select list of websites. The point of the NPR report was to show that religion-based search engines gave "censored" results that were (Gasp!) mostly consistent with the worldview of the website's owner. Well, back in 2010, we didn't have as many articles as we do now, so when NPR entered "Democratic Party" in SeekFind, the first hit was an article on Marxism. The audience of the radio show was so aghast, they ran to their computers to confirm — and wound up crashing the site.
Our servers have been upgraded since then. If NPR's interested in another interview, we should be fine.
Image Credit: StockSnap; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Controversial-Issues | Current-Issues | False-Teaching | Theological-Beliefs
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