April 07, 2004

The Importance of Worldview TrainingInstilling a Christian Mindset

Note: The article below was the first Truth & Consequences launched by Summit Ministries. It outlines our concerns for our present culture, a concern shared by many Christians today. Summit's vision incorporates a solution to this growing problem. This free monthly article is a means to that ultimate vision. Every month Summit will launch a new issue, exploring current worldview topics using our unique worldview analysis, discussion tips, and the best resources available in order to equip you to champion the Christian faith. You can sign up for the T&C here.

Recent surveys of worldview thinking have illustrated that even students raised in Christian homes, who attend church regularly, and who are enrolled at Christian schools, nevertheless tend to think like humanists rather than like believers in biblical revelation. Christians are rejecting the biblical notions of absolute truth and an alarming number are even turning away from Christianity. Worldview training has never been more important.

Christians Renouncing Their Faith in College

According to findings published in a UCLA dissertation, Dr. Gary Railsback notes that between 30% and 51% of Christians renounce their faith before graduating from college. Shockingly, there wasn't any statistical difference whether these students were enrolled at secular or Christian institutions of higher learning.[1]

Christians Thinking More and More like Humanists

Showing that this trend has continued in more recent years is the work of the Nehemiah Institute. Their P.E.E.R.S. Test [2] is scored along a spectrum from "Biblical Christian" (100–70) to "Moderate Christian" (69–30) to "Secular Humanist" (29–0) to "Marxist" (anything below a 0 score). From 1988 until 2000 it was found that students enrolled in Christian schools moved from an average in the low 50s (meaning they scored at the lower end of "Moderate Christian") to an average in 2000 of about 20 (meaning they responded to key social, political, and religious issues the same as a "Secular Humanist"). [3] In addition, Christian students in public schools scored considerably lower, with an average last year of 8.2!

Rejection of Moral Absolutes among Christian Teens and Adults

As if that trend was not disconcerting enough, consider the recent figures reported by George Barna. Among adults, only 32% of those who claimed to be "born again" said they believe in moral absolutes compared to just half as many (15%) among the non-born again contingent. Among teenagers, a mere 9% of "born again" teens believe in moral absolutes versus 4% of the non-born again teens. [4]

Liberalism among College Freshman

More college freshmen today describe themselves as politically liberal than at any time since the Vietnam War, according to a nationwide survey taken last fall. [5] The researchers measured liberalism by asking students to describe their political views and take positions on certain benchmark issues. Results indicated that . . .

  • 57.9% think gay couples should have the legal right to marry
  • 36.5% say marijuana should be legalized
  • 32.2%, the highest score since 1980, advocate ending capital punishment
  • 29.9% say they are liberal or "far left," the highest figure since 1975

These trends are indeed alarming. We must remember, however, that truth is more powerful than the false ideas that have captured the minds of our culture. Join us at the battle front with thousands of others who are standing firm, engaging their culture in the arena of ideas, and who are equipping themselves to "understand the times so that they may know what they should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32). You, too, can stand firm in the faith, championing the cause of Christ.

  1. Gary Lyle Railsback, "An Exploratory Study of the Religiosity and Related Outcomes Among College Students," Doctoral dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 1994.
  2. The acronym P.E.E.R.S is short for Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues.
  3. Nehemiah Institute.
  4. Barna Research Group, "Americans Are Most Likely to Base Truth on Feelings," accessed 03/152004.
  5. The CIRP Freshman Survey, based this year (2001) on responses from 281,064 students at 421 four-year colleges and universities, is the nation's oldest and most comprehensive assessment of student attitudes. It is a joint project of UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute and the American Council on Education, based in Washington, D.C.

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