American Parents Lack Robust Faith to Share with Kids

New research from the American Worldview Inventory 2022, conducted by Dr. George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, reveals that not only are a majority of today’s parents Millennials (the adult generation in America least likely to possess a biblical worldview), but that 94% of parents of pre-teens possess 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. In fact, despite 67% of the parents of pre-teens claiming to be Christian, the research also revealed that only 2% of them actually possess a biblical worldview.

According to Barna, this means that most American children are beginning life at a spiritual disadvantage.

“A parent’s primary responsibility is to prepare a child for the life God intends for that child. A crucial element in that nurturing is helping the child develop a biblical worldview—the filter that causes a person to make their choices in harmony with biblical teachings and principles,” said Barna. Noting that the Bible assigns the worldview development process to the child’s family and community of faith, he reiterated that neither of those seem engaged in the task.

“Sadly, the research confirms that very few parents even have the worldview development of their children on their radar.”

Although no single reason is uniquely responsible for the low number of parents possessing a biblical worldview or their lack of engagement with their children on the matter, the ACU research identified a variety of conditions that are contributing to that reality. Chief among them, a dismissal of the Bible as a reliable and accurate source of God’s truth and a lack of deep commitment to practicing their faith (for the complete list of factors and the associated statistics, click here).

“It seems that most pre-teen parents are unaware—or certainly unfazed—by the contradiction between calling themselves ‘Christian’ but living in ways that repudiate the teachings of Jesus and the principles in the Bible,” Barna said.

“Shockingly few parents intentionally speak to their children about beliefs and behavior based upon a biblical worldview. Perhaps the most powerful worldview lesson parents provide is through their own behavior, yet our studies consistently indicate that parental choices generally do not reflect biblical principles or an intentionally Christian approach to life.”

Given the research, the data seems to point to a forthcoming virtual extinction of the biblical worldview in America, though Barna allowed that such an outcome was unrealistic.

“To expect the biblical worldview to disappear in America essentially posits that God has given up on America and that there is not a tribe of devoted followers whom He can rely upon to usher in an era of spiritual renewal,” the ACU researcher explained.

“The reality is that culture-changing movements can transform a nation with as little as 2% of the population on-board. Turning around the paucity of commitment to the biblical worldview cannot happen overnight, but it can happen.”

Barna continued, “A relevant question is whether there is sufficient concern among that remnant to get organized and wage an uncompromising, strategic, and tireless battle to recast the heart, mind, and soul of Americans.”