Study: Only 4 Percent of Millennials Hold a “Biblical Worldview”

What does that mean for future generations?

By Liberty McArtor Published on March 31, 2017

Four percent of millennials hold a biblical worldview, according to a recent study.

The American Culture and Faith Institute (ACFI) published results of a survey earlier this month. The survey measured the core beliefs of millennials compared to older generations.

The study shows that millennials hold more liberal views of things like socialism and same-sex marriage than older generations. But there’s another big difference. Millennials are much less likely to become conservative in the future.

It’s unlikely that even 10% of millennials will ever hold a biblical worldview.

While it’s normal for younger generations to hold liberal views, they drift to the right over time. Not so for millennials. 

“Millennials are so far to the left-of-center” that “even a typical amount of repositioning” will leave them very liberal, says George Barna. It’s unlikely that even 10 percent will ever hold a biblical worldview, he says. Barna is the Executive Director of the ACFI and is cited in the study. 

Millennials vs. Older Generations: Major Differences

ACFI conducted the study in February 2017. It measured responses from 1,000 millennials, that is, those under age 30.

Notable findings include:

  • Only 59 percent of millennials identify as Christian. This compares to 72 percent of adults from older generations.
  • Only 33 percent of millennials (one in three) are born again Christians.
  • Only twelve percent of millennials identify as conservative. Twenty-six percent are liberal. For adults older than 30, conservatives outnumber liberals two to one.
  • Almost have (44 percent) of millennials prefer socialism over capitalism.
  • As many as 15 percent of millennials identify as LGBT. Only six percent of those over 30 identify as LGBT.

The only question more millennials than older adults held a biblical worldview on? Whether all people are good. Millennials are less likely to believe this than adults over 30. This lines up with the biblical concept of original sin and man’s fallen nature.

Worldview Development: Christians, Get Busy

What exactly is a worldview, anyway? “A comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint.” That’s according to Merriam-Webster.

Dictionary.com defines the the original German word, weltanschauung. “A comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.”

Christians must take action if they want future generations to embrace a biblical worldview.

So how do people develop their worldviews? Barna says that parents are the most powerful influencers of worldview. And most often, a person’s worldview develops between 18 months and 13-years-old.

There will of course be exceptions to this rule. But in general, “the worldview a person possesses at age 13 is … the worldview they will die with.”

What does this mean for future Americans? “Millennials entering their prime childbearing years,” Barna notes. They will likely pass their current worldview to their children. Christians must take action if they want future generations to embrace a biblical worldview.

Christians will need to “step in and impact the spiritual well-being of our future adults,” he says.

Growing Trends

ACFI’s study on millennials’ worldview isn’t the first to reach these conclusions. Recently The Atlantic noted that people are leaving the church in large numbers. The Pew Research Center also noted the trend among millennials.

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  • stan schmunk

    I’ve heard the term over the years and have asked those who use it to define it but none have. Would you like to try?

  • Gary

    59 percent identify as “Christian”, but only 4 percent have a Biblical worldview?? That means that at least 55 percent are either mistaken about being Christians, or some are lying about it.

    If this is accurate, then America will only exist as it is today for a few more years. The parents of the millennials have miserably failed their children, and laid the foundation for their destruction, and the destruction of the USA. The form of government used now will not work with future generations. The children of the millennials will be even more wicked than the millennials are. The US Constitution will either be repealed, or ignored, as it already is by the courts. The party is just about over.

    • Jimothy Jones

      It means 59 percent claim they have christian values while not wanting to be caught up with the rest of the ignorant flat earth crowd trying to claim the earth is 6000 years old and telling everyone they just need to take their word for it.

  • Jeff

    It seems to me that the issues discussed in the article (general faith identity, LGBT, economics) are looking at the symptoms, not the causes, or, put another way, examining the shoots, not the roots. If someone wants to do a worldview analysis that gets to the core of what millennials believe about Christianity, ask questions like: Who or what is God? How did the universe and life come to be? What, if anything is wrong with it and us? Who is Jesus? Did Jesus rise from the dead? What does Jesus’ resurrection mean? Why should anyone believe in Jesus? Get answers to these questions first, then perhaps study their implications.

    • Sandra Alexander

      Many of the millenials who claim to be Christians will agree with most biblical teaching until they are confronted with “Jesus is the only way”…They’ve bought into a type of “universalism” which allows for “many paths to God”…This way they don’t have to take a stand, but can just get along with everybody….Life is definitely ‘easier’ (in the short term) this way when they don’t feel they’re responsible for the soul of another….They believe that ‘sincere'(sincerely wrong!) worshippers all worship the same God…etc….

      • Jeff

        Thank you for your comments, Sandra. Yes, all the Sunday School affirmations do become a struggle when people have to choose whether Jesus is the only way. But I think their universalism is at least sometimes based on ignorance or naivete. Not all religions believe in a specific beginning when God created the heavens and earth. There are different views among religions about what is wrong with us. And most religions certainly don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead to validate His claims about Himself and to offer forgiveness of sins. Universalism thus fails the coherence test, as Ravi Zacharias would say. As the world is shrinking and we and our children and grandchildren interact constantly with others from different cultures, all the church, young and old, need to be at least aware that there are worldview apologetics answers.

  • Karen Shackelford

    I BELIEVE THERE IS A REVIVAL. GOD WILL REDEEM THIS GENERATION. REVIVAL IS IN THE AIR! I LVOE THIS GENERATION, SO DOES GOD.

    • Nels

      God loved the Israelites, but He eventually sent Tiglath-Pileser to deal with the Northern Kingdom.

    • Jimothy Jones

      Keep repeating your favorite superstitions. Eventually, you will come across someone else dumb enough to believe in it.

      • Karen Shackelford

        I’ll be praying for you Jimothy.

        • Jimothy Jones

          You are too kind! I’ll eat a steak for you on Saturday to reciprocate the good will gesture.

  • 4freedom

    All this shows me is the liberal indoctrination camps, know as schools, are indeed doing their job in transforming this country into something unrecognizable.

    • Jimothy Jones

      What people who grow up and enjoy a life devoid of superstitions that they are told they have to believe in because a 1000 year old book full of refutable fables said so? If what we get is children trained to view things through the lens of scrutiny and commons sense, then I’m all for it. The less people we have trained at the superstition factory the better off the country will be.

  • Nels

    Send your children to public school and this is what you get.

  • Christian Cowboy

    Parents contribute to this – at least when it comes to men and sons. You can have a super bowl party and 50 or so fathers and sons will show up. Lead a Bible Study on how to be Men and live Pure lives – 6 fathers – with no sons will attend.

  • This, in part, because probably only 4% of today’s churches hold a biblical worldview–they hardly have a worldview at all, let alone biblical.

    What used to be Christendom (Christians dominionizing all aspects of society on behalf of their King) in 17th-century America has devolved into mere 4-walled Christianity, aka Christendumb.

    Today’s Christians are best depicted by Christ in Matthew 5:13 as salt that’s lost its savor, good for nothing but to be trampled under the foot of man. But all is not bad news in this because a good foot stomping tends to bring back some of the saltiness.

    For more, see blog article “Self-Inflicted Impotence.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Blog and search on title.

    Then “10 Reasons the Kingdom Here on Earth Isn’t Mission Impossible.”

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