DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Americans are becoming less Christian, with only one in 25 Millennials possessing a "biblical worldview," according to a recent survey conducted by the American Culture and Faith Institute.
The survey showed historically low rates of belief in dogma, even among professed Christians. Among Millennials, or those born between 1987 and 1999, only 4 percent ascribe to a biblical worldview, compared to the 16 percent of Americans born before 1966 and 7 percent of those born between 1967 and 1987.
Millennials underperformed their elders on 19 of the 20 questions evaluating spiritual beliefs. The one question to which they showed greater adherence to biblical teaching than their elders: Millennials are less likely to believe that all people are basically good.
The breakdown of biblical beliefs is also seen in the young generation's political beliefs and behavior. While only 43 percent of Americans over the age of 30 support gay "marriage," the number is 65 percent among Millennials. And while only 6 percent of Americans over 30 identify as LGBT, more than double that number claim to be so: 15 percent. Those under 30 are more likely to call themselves atheists and show more sympathy for socialism than previous generations.
The Institute gave the survey to 6,000 people throughout February 2017. The survey contained 20 questions assessing behavior and 20 questions about spiritual belief, including whether moral absolutes which are unchanging, and whether everyone is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness. Respondents were said to have a biblical worldview if they answered 80 percent or more of the questions in accordance with biblical principles.
Aside from the belief gap between old and young, the survey laid bare other trends among American Christians, showing a chasm between Americans professing Christian beliefs and those who act on those beliefs. The authors note that while 112 million Americans consider themselves followers of a biblical worldview, the survey predicts that only 24 million Americans have opinions that actually comport with such a view — a gap of 88 million.
The survey also reports a gap between Catholics and Protestants, with only 2 percent of Catholics reporting having a biblical worldview compared to 19 percent of Protestants. The survey displays a Protestant tilt, and includes questions to which faithful Catholics might disagree. For example, to the statement "The Bible is the most reliable source for moral truth," a Catholic might respond that the Church is the most reliable source of moral truth.
But a gap between Catholic belief and practice has been noted elsewhere. Catholic author John Zmirak has written that while there are about 51 million self-identifying Catholics in the country, market researchers found that the number "who go to Mass more than once a week, or spend a single dollar on Catholic books or other media, or volunteer for any parish activity, the grand total for the United States of America is no higher than 1.2 million."
The Institute's Executive Director, George Barna, emphasized the need to pass the Faith on to succeeding generations.
"You cannot give what you don't have," he said. "In other words, if today's children are going to eventually embrace a biblical worldview, people with such a perspective must exert substantial influence on the nation's children to supply what their parents are unable to give them."
"The United States goes to great lengths to assist in the economic welfare of millions of people," he continued. "It appears that we now need those who possess a biblical worldview to step in and impact the spiritual well-being of our future adults as well."