Only two percent of Americans who are parents of preteens actually have a biblical worldview, according to new data from Dr. George Barna and the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University. This number, which Barna says puts children at a “spiritual disadvantage,” is particularly shocking given that 67 percent of parents of preteens self-identify as Christians.
“Every parent teaches what they know and models what they believe,” says Dr. George Barna, Director of Research at the CRC. “They can only give what they have, and what they have to give reflects their driving beliefs about life and spirituality. Parents are not the only agents of influence on their children’s worldview, but they remain both a primary influence and a gatekeeper to other influences.”
Biblical Worldview—Or Any Worldview at All?
The new report is part of the American Worldview Inventory 2022, an ongoing project evaluating the worldview of American pastors and parents. The study states that most of the current parents in the U.S. are Millennials. In addition to the sobering news that so few Millennial parents have a biblical worldview, there is another surprising finding: less than one percent of parents of preteens have a coherent worldview of any kind. “None of the six alternative worldviews tested is embraced by even one percent of parents,” says the report, which goes on to say:
These alternative worldviews include: Secular Humanism, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, Nihilism, Marxism/Critical Theory, Postmodernism, and Eastern Mysticism/New Age. That leaves more than 9 out of 10 parents of preteens—a full 94 percent—having a worldview known as Syncretism, a blending of multiple worldviews in which no single life philosophy is dominant, producing a worldview that is diverse and often self-contradictory.
The researchers noted that within this conglomeration of beliefs, parents of pre-teens tend to emphasize three worldviews more than the others: “Eastern Mysticism/New Age thinking, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and Biblical Theism (i.e., the biblical worldview).”
Among several reasons why so many parents of preteens lack a Christian worldview is they tend not to trust the Bible as authoritative or spend much time in it. The report also found a connection between worldview and income. Middle-income parents were the most likely to have a biblical worldview, while less than one-half of one percent of parents in households where the income exceeds $100,000 have a biblical worldview.
Notably, the study found a tie between church denominations and the likelihood of a Christian worldview:
There are only three groups of churches boasting an above-average proportion of preteen parents who possess a biblical worldview: non-denomination or independent Protestant churches, Pentecostal or charismatic churches, and evangelical churches. Parents associated with congregations that are non-denominational or independent Protestant were about eight times more likely than the national norm to have a biblical worldview, while those aligned with either evangelical or charismatic Protestant churches were about three times more likely. However, fewer than one out of every five parents of children under 13 (19 percent) attend those types of churches.