Historically non-Christian beliefs heavily influencing practicing Christians, Barna finds

If there ever was a time when Christians shared a single, unified worldview rooted in Scriptures and church, it’s over now.

The Barna Group announced in early May that it found only 17 percent of practicing Christians have an actual biblical worldview.

Its new research “found strong agreement with ideas unique to nonbiblical worldviews among practicing Christians,” Barna said in a study titled “Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians,” which it released May 9 in partnership with Summit Ministries.

“This widespread influence upon Christian thinking is evident not only among competing worldviews but even among competing religions,” Barna said.

Example: Thirty-eight percent of Christians said they are sympathetic to some Muslim teachings.

‘New Spirituality’

One of the biggest influences Barna said it found in Christians’ outlooks is that of “New Spirituality.” Sixty-one percent of Christians said they agree with ideas generated there.

“For instance, almost 3 in 10 … practicing Christians strongly agree that ‘all people pray to the same god or spirit no matter what name they use for that spiritual being,’” Barna reported.

Another 27 percent say that “becoming one with all that is” provides meaning and purpose to their lives.

Postmodernism — defined here as an abandonment of objectivity — is another significant influence. Barna said 19 percent of those surveyed agreed that there is no way to determine the meaning and purpose of life.

Even among those who did not embrace that viewpoint there were those who did accept other tenets of postmodernism, Barna found.

“As a whole, more than half (54 percent) of practicing Christians embrace at least one of the postmodern statements assessed in the research.”

A large number of Christians also embrace secularism in their worldviews. One of its component beliefs, materialism, holds that the material world is all that exists.

Those respondents told Barna that the purpose of life is “to earn as much as possible so you can make the most of life.” That attitude was shared by 20 percent of Christians, including by 24 percent of African-Americans, 27 percent of Hispanics and 31 percent of Catholics.

The research group added that the results of its study were heavily swayed by generation.

Younger generations

“First millennials and Gen Xers, who came of age in a less Christianized context, are in some cases up to eight times more likely to accept these views than boomers and elders,” Barna said. “The same is true of gender — males are generally more open to these worldviews than women, often at a 2 to 1 ratio.” (BNG)