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US is Deeply Fragmented

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By: CRC Staff, Tracy Munsil – arizonachristian.edu –  February 20, 2024

From the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University Glendale, AZ — Many Americans hope the next president will unite our divided nation. A new survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, however, confirms that to be highly unlikely. Regardless of who wins the November election, the survey underscores that the foundational beliefs of Americans are so fragmented that the nation is incapable of developing a united perspective on who America is and how we will move forward together, according to veteran researcher Dr. George Barna.

The United States has thrived and endured over time due in part to a shared understanding and common pursuit of core characteristics such as truth, purpose, success, responsibility, and community. The American Worldview Inventory 2024, an annual survey conducted by Barna at the Cultural Research Center, reveals a startling degree of disunity in foundational perspectives among the American public.

In fact, most adults share similar perspectives on less than a third of the more than 50 worldview indicators evaluated in the AWVI 2024. And of those shared values, only nine are actually beneficial in fostering national unity and progress. Those majority-held beliefs and behaviors are:

  • Never worshipping a supernatural authority other than the God of Israel
  • Believing the Bible is an authoritative and trustworthy guidebook for life
  • Deeming Jesus Christ to be an important guide for your life
  • Contending that hatred and aggression are not necessary for personal survival
  • Choosing to repay any money that you borrow from someone else
  • Rejecting the philosophy that you can do whatever you want to do as long as it does not harm other people
  • Choosing not to personally participate in an abortion, regardless of their belief about the permissibility of other people having an abortion
  • Not attempting to cast a spell on other people
  • Taking time to thank, praise, and worship God at least once during the week

The American Worldview Inventory 2024 also identified a number of perspectives about which a majority of Americans disagree. Among the points of view that most adults cannot seem to agree upon are:

  • Basis of truth
  • Whether other people deserve to be respected
  • Importance of the God of Israel as an authority source/guide for life
  • Belief about the value of human life
  • Acceptance of the existence of absolute moral truths
  • Existence of Satan
  • Means to happiness in life
  • Morality of intentionally deceiving other people
  • Morality of consensual pre-marital sexual relations
  • Personal commitment to discerning and doing God’s will
  • Appropriate relationship to/treatment of animals

According to Barna, while the survey data reveals a nation yearning for guidance and hope, it also suggests that people are seeking those things from sources that can’t provide it.

“It is disheartening to see how out of whack people’s expectations have become during these chaotic and confusing times,” Barna commented. “Just as the Jews misunderstood the nature of Jesus’s messiahship some 2,000 years ago, expecting a warrior king who would raise Judaism to power, millions of Americans are deceived enough to think that electing the ‘right’ president will bring stability, security, unity, and sanity to America.”

Barna continued, “Yet it is not a political awakening that the United States desperately needs but a spiritual awakening that will foster a deeper understanding of self and society in light of our shared spiritual condition.”

After examining the data patterns from numerous national studies he has led in the past decade, Barna lamented the increased short-sightedness—and selfishness—that has, in his estimation, led people astray.

“Every American adult has a worldview, and every American relies on their worldview every day to make each decision in their life. That’s the function of a worldview,” he explained. “It helps us make decisions that are consistent with what we believe and what we desire.”

The survey asked 53 questions to a sample of 2,000 individuals, focusing on their worldview in an effort to determine its influence on the thinking of American adults. In light of the rise of Syncretism, the research further sought to evaluate how elements of seemingly fringe worldviews might be creeping into American thinking. In addition to the biblical worldview, the American Worldview Inventory 2024 included: Syncretism, Secular Humanism, Marxism, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, Eastern Mysticism, Nihilism, Postmodernism, Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Satanism, Wicca (Witchcraft), and Animism.

“Sadly, people have become so self-focused and their beliefs so self-serving that no politician elected in 2024 can reasonably be expected to restore common purpose and shared vision to the nation without a serious reshaping of people’s worldviews,” Barna said.

“The only true hope for America at this point,” he continued, “is a period of spiritual renewal that restores a widespread understanding and basis of truth, individual purpose, and personal responsibility within a community context.”

According to Barna, “Placing the burden of uniting this divided a country on the shoulders of a president or political party is unrealistic. Only a spiritual awakening can usher in the required tidal wave of spiritual wisdom and commitment, and that kind of renewal does not happen overnight or randomly. It must become an intentional and long-term commitment.”

The full report, American Worldview Inventory 2024: Report #1: “America Needs Spiritual Renewal More than a Political Majority,” is available here.

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George Barna is a veteran researcher of 40 years and author of 60 books, including his most recent, Raising Spiritual Champions: Nurturing Your Child’s Heart, Mind and Soul, which immediately became a bestseller on Amazon when it was released in late 2023.

Raising Spiritual Champions, published by Arizona Christian University Press in collaboration with Texas-based Fedd Books, covers a variety of topics helpful to parents and Christian leaders, including research-based descriptions of how a child’s worldview develops; the relationships between worldview and discipleship; how parents can develop a simple plan to guide their child to a biblical worldview, and to become a disciple of Jesus Christ; the role churches and godly church leaders can play in that process; measuring the worldview of children; and more.

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Source: CRC Research Shows Deep Fragmentation in America; ‘Future Hinges on Spiritual Renewal’ – Arizona Christian University