The Problem  

The American Worldview Inventory 2020 Survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, found that fewer and fewer Americans look to Biblical Christianity as an authoritative source for moral, spiritual, and/or salvific revelation. 

Notable findings from the 2020 Survey include: 

Americans See Many Sources of Truth and Reject Moral Absolutes

God is Absent from Most People’s Views of Purpose and Success

America’s Traditional Moral Pillars are Fading Away

Americans No Longer See Human Life as Sacred

Americans Continue to Redefine and Reject God

Americans Believe Salvation Can Be Earned

Americans Distrust the Bible 

Furthermore, Barna partnered with World Vision to compile The Connected Generation Study based on a survey of 15,369 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Nearly half of those surveyed, who have a connection to Christianity, said  they feel the Church cannot adequately answer their questions and doubts.  

Discouraging trends like these, together with more positive trends (like these and like these), motivate our team and inform our mission, vision, and values. It’s time to ReThink our approach to reaching, training, and retaining young people. Will you HELP US


Study Findings: Researchers surveyed religious “nones” (78%) who said they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood, and asked them to explain, in their own words, why they no longer identified with a religious group. They discovered the following themes: About 50% said a “lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention ‘science’ as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said ‘I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.’ Others reference ‘common sense,’ ‘logic’ or a ‘lack of evidence’ – or simply say they do not believe in God.” About 20% said they were in “opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.” About 18% said they were “religiously unsure. This include(d) people who (said) they (were) religious in some way despite being unaffiliated (e.g., ‘I believe in God, but in my own way’), others who describe(d) themselves as ‘seeking enlightenment’ or ‘open-minded,’ and several who (said) they are ‘spiritual’ if not religious.” About 10% said they “may hold certain religious beliefs, but they (were) not currently taking part in religious practices. And most of them simply (said) they (didn’t) go to church or engage in other religious rituals, while others (said) they (were) too busy for religion.”  Source: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship / Pew Research Center (2015) 

Study Findings: Taunton interviewed members of atheist college groups (the Secular Student Alliance and Freethought Societies). “These college groups are the atheist equivalents to Campus Crusade: They meet regularly for fellowship, encourage one another in their (un)belief, and even proselytize. They are people who are not merely irreligious; they are actively, determinedly irreligious.” Taunton eventually recognized an emerging pattern in those he interviewed, and he identified several characteristics of young “determinedly irreligious” college students: 1. They had attended church at one time, 2. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions, 3. Ages 14-17 were decisive, and 4. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism. Source: Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity / Larry Taunton, Fixed Point Foundation (2013) 

Study Findings: 70% will leave the faith in college. 7 in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23. Source: LifeWay Research Study / LifeWay Research and Ministry Development (2007) 

Study Findings: A majority of twenty-somethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged. Source: Barna Study: Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on theShelf / Barna Group (2006)

Study Findings: 88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18. Source: Southern Baptist Council on Family Life Report to Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (2002)


Book Findings: Among American adults, emerging adults are significantly less religious.
No more than 15% of the total emerging adult population, embrace a strong religious faith. Source: Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of EmergingAdults / Christian Smith, Patricia Snell (2009) 

Book Findings: 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity. Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home. Source: The Last Christian Generation / Josh McDowell,  David H. Bellis (2006)  

Book Findings: Students leave faith behind primarily because of intellectual doubt and skepticism (page 89). “Why did they fall away from the faith in which they were raised?” This was an open-ended question there were no multiple-choice answers. (“It didn’t make any sense anymore.” “Some stuff is too far-fetched for me to believe.” “I think scientifically and there is no real proof.” “Too many questions that can’t be answered.”) Source: Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers / Christian Smith, Melinda Lundquist Denton (2005) 

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