George Barna’s Worldview Inventory presents a concerning inventory cataloging the decline of Biblical faith in the United States. Only 6% of Americans hold a Biblical worldview, defined as believing that the purpose of life is to know, love and serve God, and that the measure of success in life is obedience to God. Disconcertingly, there has been a marked decline in the belief in God and His truth. There has been a 21% drop since 2000 in the proportion of adults who believe the Bible is the word of God (from 75% to 54%) and a 17 point drop in the number who believe the bible is without error (from 58% to 41%). Only four out of ten Americans believe that God is the basis of truth.
Even many of those identifying as Christians have beliefs that seem incompatible with that identity. For instance only 54% of those who call themselves Christians consider God to be the basis of truth. Only half of evangelicals consider unmarried sex to be immoral.
Barna suggests focusing more on the religious education of youth, since the most formative years are from 15 months to 13 years, and also teens and young adults. But how and where will this group be reached?
I posit that a parallel education effort should be make in the area of teaching sexual abstinence in preparation for marriage and successful family life.
I would like to also expand on Barna’s suggested categories of focus for education.
1. Human Nature, human character
Here, borrowing from the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, we can clarify the purpose of life. I too learned in 6th grade catechism, that the purpose of life is to “know, love and serve God”. That is a good foundation. But the Bible does not clarify how to do that. The Principle of Creation, chapter one of the Exposition of the Divine Principle expands on Genesis 1:28 to explain that forming a God-centered family is the very core of to “know, love and serve God”.
2. The Bible, truth and morality
Chapter two of the Divine Principle explains the fall of man. Furthermore, in The Family Rooted in Absolute Sexual Ethics, which is the Model for God’s Absoluteness and Peace and the Global Ideal, Rev. Moon clearly explains that abstinence before marriage blessed by God, and faithfulness in marriage is the very foundation of the Kingdom of Heaven
3. God, creation and history.
The Principle of Restoration, part two of the Divine Principle further expounds on God’s work in history as explained in the Bible. Through this, we can clearly see the hand of God in history.
4. Family and the value of life. Based on the understanding mentioned in numbers one and two above, we can see that a God-centered family is the very core of His creation. The understanding of absolute sexual ethics expounded by Rev. Moon gives great clarity to this topic.
5. Purpose and calling
As mentioned in number one above, we all have a specific calling to fulfill the purpose of Creation, Genesis 1:28, to be fruitful, multiply and subdue the earth. Beyond that, I agree with Barna that we need to make effort to apply our more specific calling to benefit society and build God’s Kingdom. We will do well to emphasize this calling to build the Kingdom to Emergent Followers (those who agree with many Biblical Principles) and others.
Again, I see a movement to teach good sexual ethics as a natural outgrowth of the morals and values that those who embrace Biblical principles have. This will also help youth to fulfill the success formula of graduating from high school, waiting until marriage and until age 21 to have children and also getting a full time job. This campaign (to teach good sexual ethics) can unify those of many denominations and faiths, something that is sorely lacking in today’s world.