The time is past to assume people have a basic knowledge of the Bible.
George Barna of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University released the third of 12 groundbreaking, biweekly reports regarding the worldview of Americans on Tuesday and the research continues to reveal startling, if not disheartening, results.
The latest revelations from Barna’s American Worldview Inventory include the finding that only half of American adults (51%) still believe in a traditional, biblical view of God as the “all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules the world today.” In fact, faith in a deity fitting that description has plummeted from three-quarters of adults just thirty years ago (73% in 1991) to the present-day statistic.
As for other basic tenets of Christian faith:
• 44% of those surveyed agreed that “when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ was fully divine and also fully human, and therefore committed sins, like other people.” Slightly fewer—41%—disagreed, embracing the biblical teaching that while Jesus was both fully deity and fully human, He did not commit sins during His time on earth.
• Over half of all adults—52%—contend that “the Holy Spirit is not a living entity, but merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity.”
• Perhaps most shockingly, most Americans—56%—believe that “Satan is not merely a symbol of evil but is a real spiritual being and influences human lives,” meaning that there is more confidence about the existence of Satan than there is of God (51%). Furthermore, a significant share—49%—of those that claim to believe in a God who is an influential spiritual being are not even fully confident that he exists at all.
“The spiritual noise in our culture over the last few decades has confused and misled hundreds of millions of people,” Barna remarked. “The message to churches, Christian leaders and Christian educators is clear: We can no longer assume that people have a solid grasp of even the most basic biblical principles.”
Read more about this report here.