CRC Staff | April 30, 2024 |
From the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

Glendale, AZ  — Amid growing dissatisfaction with the state of the nation, the latest report from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University is shedding new light on the underlying cause behind growing social turbulence and the ongoing decline of American culture.

The American Worldview Inventory 2024, conducted by CRC Director of Research Dr. George Barna, reveals that the typical American adult adopts beliefs and behaviors from an average of nine distinct worldviews, resulting in a hodgepodge of often-contradictory philosophies known as Syncretism.

The AWVI 2024 research shows that Syncretism represents 92% of American adults’ dominant philosophy of life, up from 88% in 2021.

According to Barna, “The range of ideas adopted from worldviews other than Biblical Theism is staggering.” And his latest research shows that this worldview blending is profoundly affecting the way Americans think and how they live their lives.

Americans today more or less absorb philosophies and practices that feel good, work well, or seem popular in order to help them make choices throughout the day.

As Barna explains, “We are an unsettled nation—relying on personal worldviews that are often internally inconsistent, but on the surface feel emotionally comfortable. And these worldview inconsistencies invariably lead to confusion and cultural turbulence.”

The research shows that in this mixing of worldview options, millions of Americans simultaneous hold beliefs from philosophies that are diametrically opposed—for example, expressing beliefs from both the Bible and Christian-loathing Marxism, or a pantheistic worldview like Eastern Mysticism at the same time they embrace Secular Humanism, which rejects all supernatural explanations.

And with the rise of Syncretism, the research shows a continued erosion of biblical thinking among Christian adults. Although 66% of adults consider themselves to be Christian, just 4% of all adults—and only 6% of the self-identified Christians—actually possess a biblical worldview.

Specifically, the research identified 10 unbiblical views, drawn from nine worldviews other than the biblical worldview, that are becoming commonplace in our culture:

  • About half of all adults firmly believe that it is possible for a couple married on earth to be bonded to each other for eternity (influenced by Mormonism).
  • Nearly half of all adults claim that people are neither good nor bad when they are born, but become either good or bad on the basis of the decisions they make over the course of their life (influenced by Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, Secular Humanism, and Animism).
  • Roughly one-third of all adults say they depend mostly on their reason and emotions to distinguish right from wrong (influenced by Secular Humanism, Postmodernism, and Satanism).
  • One out of three adults strongly believe humans are supposed to live in harmony and interdependence with animals, plants, and nature, and have no right to dominate them; and the same proportion also strongly believes all animals, plants, the wind, and water have a unique spirit, just like human beings do (influenced by Pantheism, Animism, Mormonism, and Wicca).
  • Approximately one-quarter of the adult population firmly believes a messiah has been promised and will make His initial visit to earth to save His people (influenced by Judaism).
  • One out of every four Americans says that nobody really knows for certain whether or higher power or God exists (influenced by Postmodernism).
  • One-fourth of adults also argue that the best indicator of a successful life is being a good person (influenced by Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and Mormonism).
  • One out of every five adults stated that scientific, verifiable proof is the only viable basis of truth (influenced by Secular Humanism).
  • One-fifth of adults also claim the universe came into existence in ways humans are unlikely to ever understand or discover (influenced by Postmodernism and Secular Humanism).

In addition to the 10 increasingly common unbiblical beliefs, the report also identified other significant but somewhat less widely held beliefs.

  • “As long as you do no harm, do whatever you want.” A core tenet Secular Humanism and other worldviews, including of Wicca and Satanism, is held by a projected 40 million American adults. It clashes with the biblical concepts of obedience to law and order and betrays selfishness rather than a commitment to harmony and service.
  • “A successful life is best described as one that creates a more humane society, through the application of reason, dialogue, and good will.” This notion, a hallmark of Secular Humanism, is a foundational philosophy for about 50 million adults. It directly conflicts with the biblical notion that a successful life is best characterized by consistent obedience to God.
  • “Success is best achieved by doing whatever provides a person with happiness and fulfillment.” This is a popular alternative to the Secular Humanist ideal above and is seen as the pinnacle of success by roughly 45 million Americans.

According to Barna, “These three beliefs alone go a long way toward explaining the social turbulence and widespread distrust and anger that characterizes America today. Doing whatever you want as long as you don’t harm others, succeeding by persuading yourself that you are good, and investing heavily in facilitating your own happiness are all hallmarks of a terminally self-centered society.”

As the veteran research notes, “Without our foundational social institutions, such as family, church, school, and government aggressively pushing back on the me-first mentality, there is little that will keep our society from continuing to deteriorate.”

AWVI 2024 is a national survey of American adults that measures the influence of more than a dozen worldviews, including: Biblical Theism (the biblical worldview), Secular Humanism, Marxism, Eastern Mysticism (pantheism), Nihilism, Wicca (witchcraft), Satanism, Animism (the belief that all creation, including animals, plants, and rocks, possess a unique spirit as human beings do), Mormonism, Islam, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, Judaism, and Postmodernism.

The full report, American Worldview Inventory 2024: Report #2: Millions of Americans Embrace Common Unbiblical Perspectives, Survey Shows,” is available here.


George Barna is a veteran researcher of 40 years and author of 60 books, including his most recent Amazon #1 bestseller, Raising Spiritual Champions: Nurturing Your Child’s Heart, Mind and Soul. Published by Arizona Christian University Press, Raising Spiritual Champions is a practical, research-based worldview resource that offers strategies to guide today’s children to develop a biblical worldview. For more information about Raising Spiritual Champions—including discounts for quantity orders—visit