George Barna has been doing an extensive inventory of the worldviews of Americans through the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. He was on my radio program last week to talk about two of his most recent surveys dealing with truth and morality.
Past generations of Americans viewed God as the basis for truth. Not only has that changed for the general population, it has also changed significantly within the church. He found that there were certain groups that rejected the idea of absolute truth. That would be members of the LGBTQ community, political liberals, spiritual skeptics, Democrats, and young people under the age of 50.
By contrast, those most likely to see God as the basis of truth are the group called SAGECons. That stands for Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians. Nearly nine out of ten (87%) point to God as the source of truth and more than six in ten (62%) recognize the existence of absolute moral standards.
In his next report, he decided to see how we apply moral principles in real life situations. The questions ranged from telling a “white lie” to failing to pay back a loan to speeding to abortion. It was troubling to see what percentage of Americans felt that some of these behaviors were not even a moral issue. In some cases, a significant percentage might have believed it was a moral issue but that it was morally acceptable in today’s society.
Another troubling finding was what Barna calls a “seismic shift” in Christian views about morality. For example, born-again Christians in the survey were three times as likely to say they rely on the Bible for primary moral guidance. But less than half (48%) actually do so.