ACU In The News

Faulty Understanding – Majority of Americans Reject Human Life as ‘Sacred,’ See Humanity as ‘Basically Good’

Faulty Understanding – Majority of Americans Reject Human Life as ‘Sacred,’ See Humanity as ‘Basically Good’

By Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director | Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

The majority of Americans no longer believe that human life has intrinsic value—with six out of ten rejecting the fundamental idea that human life is sacred. Stunningly, only 39% of Americans today agree that human life is sacred, or that it has unconditional, intrinsic worth.

New research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University also shows that almost seven out of ten—a whopping 69%—of Americans see human beings as “basically good.” This view is so pervasive that a majority of every subgroup of Americans studied in the American Worldview Inventory 2020 adopted it. The segment least likely to say “people are basically good” are people with a biblical worldview (52%).

The notion of the essential goodness of humanity runs counter to the foundational biblical teaching that human beings are created by God and made in His image, but are fallen and in need of redemption. This faulty view of humanity as basically good has increasingly permeated American culture to all but the most conservative, deeply religious segments of our society. Only a slight majority of Americans—56%—hold the biblical view that human beings were originally created Imago Dei, but are fallen and in need of a Savior.

The latest release from the AWVI 2020, conducted by CRC Director of Research Dr. George Barna, powerfully demonstrates that as our nation continues to drift from its biblical foundations, we’re losing our most basic understanding of what it means to be human. Central to that understanding is the uniquely Christian belief in the dignity and worth of every human life.

“As we reject the biblical worldview for what we might think are more enlightened human values, ironically we are rejecting the source of the very things that make us human,” explained ACU President Len Munsil. “When we no longer value life, when we no longer acknowledge our sin nature, when we no longer see our need for a Savior, things become incredibly dire for our nation.”

“Our nation was founded on fundamental ideas that come directly from God and the Bible—that we have natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and these rights come from God, not the government. But because we are flawed, we have never perfectly lived up to these ideals, most notably with the horrific sin of slavery and its aftermath. But the principles are true and correct,” Munsil said.

“These ideas are embedded in our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, in our national DNA. The goal now should be reform, not revolution. But reform will be impossible if our people reject the foundation of biblical truth that has undergirded commitment to liberty and virtue,” he said.

“It’s no accident that the right to life is the first among these foundational American values. When we experience an erosion of the deference and protections we give to human life, this constitutes a profoundly dangerous shift in American values,” Munsil said.

For Barna, the findings point to the need for a recommitment to teach foundational biblical principles to the next generation. “Logically, given that a person’s worldview is largely in place by the age of 13 and then is refined and expanded during a person’s teens and twenties, focusing on the moral development of young people and college students will be an effective, lasting strategy,” Barna continued. “Raising our future leaders to experience and understand love, compassion, mercy, truth, and goodness will make a massive difference.”

“From a biblical perspective, the problem is that we have a sin nature, pure and simple. We can deny it, but it still exists. Every society can benefit from specific systemic changes, present-day America included. But any systemic changes designed to transform the culture will be short-lived and of limited impact unless the hearts and minds of the people who populate that system are transformed first,” Barna explained.

Here are a few other key AWVI 2020 findings:

    • Only a few conservative, deeply religious groups continue to claim a majority who view human life to be “sacred.” These include adults with a biblical worldview (93%); those attending an evangelical church (60%); born-again Christians (60%); political conservatives (57%); people 50 or older (53%); and Republicans (53%). Some religious groups had only a minority who viewed life as sacred, including those attending Pentecostal (46%), mainline Protestant (45%), or Catholic (43%) churches.
    • One-third of Americans possess alternative views about humanity. For instance, one out of eight (12%) claims that people are simply “material substance – biological machines.” Another one-eighth (12%) argues that people are “part of the mind of the universe.” Smaller numbers describe humans as “an illusion,” claim we do not exist; or as “sleeping gods, part of the soul of the universe.”
    • The shifting view of the value of life is reflected in the public’s views about abortion. Only four out of ten adults (41%) believe that the Bible gives an unambiguous perspective on the morality of aborting a child. The fact that nearly one-quarter of adults do not know (22%) suggests that the Bible is not the arbiter of appropriate action for tens of millions of adults regarding abortion.
    • When asked about the value of human life, a substantially large share of the population—approximately 60%—combined to offer views such as “life is what you make it, but it has no absolute value” (37%); “life does not attain its full value until we reach our highest point of evolution and expression” (11%); or other, less popular points of view that concurred that life has no infinite, unconditional value. One out of ten adults admitted they did not know how to appraise the value of human life.
    • One possible bright spot in this latest study is the marked decline in the optimistic view of humanity as “basically good”—down 14 percentage points from 83% of Americans in the past 30 years, based on findings from the AWVI 2020 and other worldview research conducted by Dr. Barna in the last three decades.

The full results of the seventh installment of the American Worldview Inventory 2020 release, are available here.

Arizona Christian University Welcomes Dr. Jason Hubbard as Campus Pastor

Arizona Christian University is excited to announce the selection of Dr. Jason Hubbard as the University’s new campus pastor!

“We are thrilled that Dr. Hubbard has accepted God’s call to join ACU,” said President Len Munsil. “His contagious passion for Jesus, along with his demonstrated commitment to prayer and discipleship, will make him a blessing to students and the broader ACU community.”

Dr. Hubbard succeeds Pastor Tim Reed, who served at ACU for 30 years. Pastor Tim will remain with the University and is transitioning to a new role as Director of Alumni Engagement.

“I’m grateful that the Lord has called Jason to ACU, and know that his heart for prayer and investing in the lives of college students make him a great choice as campus pastor here,” said Pastor Tim. “I look forward to watching and supporting him as he gets to know and serve the amazing members of our Firestorm family.”

Prior to joining ACU, Dr. Hubbard served as the Executive Director of Light of the World Prayer Center in Bellingham, Washington. He also spent nine years as the Associate Pastor of Prayer at Christ the King Church where he was a teaching pastor and worked closely with the church’s large college ministry.

Dr. Hubbard studied spiritual theology as an undergraduate, then went on to receive a master’s degree in Christian Studies from Regent College and a Doctorate of Ministry (Discipleship Track) from Talbot School of Theology. He has been married 27 years and has three children and three grandchildren.

US Moral Freefall – Survey Finds America’s Traditional Moral Pillars are Fading Away

US Moral Freefall – Survey Finds America’s Traditional Moral Pillars are Fading Away

By Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director | Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

Our nation is facing a potential moral freefall unthinkable to earlier generations—with a majority of Americans today no longer embracing values of honesty, respect for the rule of law, the sanctity of life, and traditional sexual morality when facing moral issues.

Ongoing research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University paints a bleak picture of our nation’s radically shifting moral landscape, with Americans no longer looking to biblical truth for moral guidance and increasingly rejecting traditional values that have defined us as a nation since our founding.

The latest release from CRC’s American Worldview Inventory 2020 finds that less than one-third of American adults rely on religious faith (29%) when making moral choices. They are just as likely to rely on either other people (30%) or their own personal beliefs, feelings or experiences (31%).

As a result, as a nation we are radically redrawing moral boundaries. For example, those surveyed were more likely to say it is morally unacceptable to renege on repaying a small debt to a relative (61%) than to have an abortion (44%). Less than half (47%) said it was morally unacceptable to tell a lie to protect their personal interest or reputation, with 19% saying it was morally acceptable and 13% saying it was not a moral issue.

According to ACU President Len Munsil, “The consequences of rejecting God’s truth are undeniable. We know that what we believe dictates how we behave. Today we are seeing the moral breakdown permeating the culture around us, and it is playing out with devastating consequences in our culture.”

The research shows this seismic shift occurring even among people of faith. Although born-again Christians in the survey were three times as likely to rely on the Bible for primary moral guidance, less than half (48%) do so. Those most likely to rely upon a religious resource, usually the Bible, were those aligned with either an evangelical (58%) or Pentecostal church (62%). People associated with a mainline Protestant congregation were most likely to rely upon themselves for moral wisdom (34%). Catholics were most likely to turn to others (34%).

The latest findings of the American Worldview Inventory 2020 show that political ideology dramatically affects Americans’ sources of moral guidance. Political conservatives were most likely to rely upon the Bible (40%), while moderates (17%) and liberals (11%) were least likely, instead relying on their own feelings, beliefs, and knowledge for moral direction.

Perhaps most troubling, the findings regarding the moral views of the youngest generation indicate this downward moral trajectory is likely to continue. Americans age 18 to 29 are least likely—only 15%—to turn to the Bible for moral guidance and instead look to themselves (29%) or to family (25%). This compares with about one-quarter of older Americans, including 23% of those ages 30 to 49, 25% of those 50 to 64, and 26% of those over 64.

Even though young people reject the Bible as a source of moral guidance, hidden within the study’s findings may be some encouraging news. As Munsil explained. “A sizeable percentage of young people still look to their family for moral guidance. It’s important for parents and other family members to look for opportunities to share moral truth because the next generation wants to hear from them.”

According to Dr. George Barna, CRC Director of Research, “Americans have been aggressively redefining the nation’s morality for the past several decades. That shift is still in progress. Our research provides a compelling context for such a moral recalibration.”

“The percentage of adults with a biblical worldview has been sliced in half since 1995,” the veteran researcher explained. “The historic foundation of biblical truth and its impacts on family, faith, education, arts and entertainment, and public policy is mostly a distant memory,” Barna said. “Unless Christian churches return to the basics to restore the foundations of the Christian faith, and parents train their children to embrace those foundations, there is little reason to believe that the coming quarter-century in America will include our historical levels of freedom.”

The study asks those surveyed to respond to five moral issues, including questions about repaying a debt, lying to protect one’s reputation, abortion, following the speed limit, and engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage. Here are key findings from these questions:

    • The obligation to repay a debt was the most clear-cut in the minds of survey respondents, with six out of ten adults (61%) stated that the intentional failure to repay the loan was morally unacceptable.
    • Slightly less than half of adults (47%) described what is popularly known as a “white lie” or a “fib” as morally unacceptable, while one-third (32%) said such an act is either morally acceptable (19%) or not a moral issue (13%).
    • Abortion was indisputably the most polarizing of the five moral issues tested, with 44% saying having an abortion is morally unacceptable while 33% said it is either morally acceptable (22%) or not a moral issue (11%). Nine out of ten adults with a biblical worldview (92%) and eight out of ten SAGE Cons (83%) defined it as an immoral action. At the other end of the continuum—indicating that having an abortion is not immoral—were spiritual skeptics (17%), political liberals (22%), and adults connected to a non-Christian faith (29%).
    • Surprisingly few of those surveyed portrayed speeding as immoral. About four out of ten adults (39%) believe that breaking the speed limit is not morally acceptable.
    • When asked their view on engaging in “sexual relations with someone that they love and expect to marry in the future,” a majority (56%) of Americans perceive this behavior to be either morally acceptable (38%) or not a moral issue (18%). Just half as many (27%) say this is morally unacceptable.

The results of this latest CRC research continue to focus attention on the need to restore biblical truth in American culture. As Barna explained, “The restoration of biblical truth can facilitate the turnaround of a declining society.”

The latest AWVI 2020 release, “Perceptions of Morality & Moral Choices,” are available here.

A Nation Unmoored – CRC Study Shows Americans Reject Moral Truth Rooted in God’s Word

A Nation Unmoored – CRC Study Shows Americans Reject Moral Truth Rooted in God’s Word

By Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director | Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

Belief in absolute moral truth rooted in God’s word is rapidly eroding among all American adults. This includes those who are both churched and unchurched, those belonging to every political segment, and from every age group. Even among those who do identify God as the source of truth, there is substantial rejection of any absolute standard of morality in American culture.

“We’re living in an America increasingly unmoored from its founding in biblical truth,” said Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil. “Even in the most basic questions of life, like how we make moral choices, we’re choosing to lean completely on our own understanding to decide what’s right and wrong.”

“We are created by God to live according to His unchanging moral standards,” Munsil explained. “He created these boundaries for our good and we ignore them at our peril. There’s no way as individuals, or as a nation, that we can live life well, that we can flourish, that we can live with hope, without God’s moral framework for our lives.”

According to the latest findings from Dr. George Barna, Director for the Cultural Research Center at ACU, most Americans reject any absolute boundaries regarding their morality. A majority of adults surveyed—58%—instead believe that moral truth is up to the individual to decide.

This latest study shows that secular views of morality are flooding American culture, including the Christian church. Perhaps most stunning, the survey found that those attending evangelical churches, which believe the Bible to be the true, reliable word of God, are just as likely to reject absolute moral truth (46%) as to accept its existence (48%). And only a minority of born-again Christians—43%—still embrace absolute moral truth.

The pull of secularism is especially strong among younger Americans. Those under age 30 were much less likely than older adults to select God as the basis of truth (31% compared to 45%) and more likely to say that moral standards are decided by the individual (60%).

Munsil said, “At ACU we’re committed to the vision of transforming culture with God’s truth. Our students are trained to understand and defend biblical truth, and to take that truth to a world that, according to this research, desperately needs it.”

So where are Americans finding “truth”? The survey found that the most common notion is that God is the basis of truth—but only for a minority of four out of ten adults (42%). Another four out of ten rely on inner certainty (16%), scientific proof (15%), tradition (5%), or public consensus (4%) to know truth. The remaining two out of every ten adults said that either there is no such thing as truth (5%) or that they do not know the basis of truth (13%).

Barna, who directed the study, noted that the research suggests Americans are radically redefining how life works. “Americans have historically held the biblical view that God created our world and the life within it, and He provided specific guidelines that would provide for our well-being when we stay within those boundaries. But things are changing.”

According to Barna, this seismic shift shows that most Americans are defining their life purpose apart from the intent of God. “Now we see that the majority of Americans have rejected the idea that God is truth and that the principles He has given for our good are reliable and relevant. As a nation we are becoming increasingly self-reliant. We trust ourselves or our discoveries rather than the truth God provides,” he said.

The implications of these findings are staggering, especially for young people and college students, according to Dr. Tracy Munsil, CRC Executive Director. “Like every generation before them, this next generation is seeking guidance for how to live, how to understand truth and morality, how to live their lives in a way that brings success and meaning. They look to the older generation, to parents, mentors, professors. But even these groups are rejecting absolute moral truth rooted in God’s word.”

She continued, “Increasingly, they find themselves in a culture that, from top to bottom, rejects God’s truth and says to them, ‘You are free to determine your own morality. Look to yourselves, to science, to whatever you can find, for guidance on how to live your lives.’”

Dr. Munsil, also an associate professor of political science at ACU, said these findings point to a desperate need for greater engagement by older, grounded Christians. “We are seeing an untethered generation, the next generation of young people completely adrift, with no foundation in God, biblical truth, or standards of morality—the very things that enabled generations before them to live well and flourish.” She explained, “Those who still recognize and embrace the truth of God and His standards have a responsibility to share these with the next generation. Or they will be lost to this next generation, and maybe to our nation forever.”

Other key findings from the latest release from the American Worldview Inventory 2020:

    • Unsurprisingly, almost nine out of ten adults (85%) who have a biblical worldview reject the idea that moral absolutes do not exist, and they are two-and-a-half times more likely than other people to say that God is the basis of truth (96% compared to 38%).
    • Those mostly likely to see God as the basis of truth are SAGECons, defined as Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians, with nearly nine out of ten (87%) pointing to God as the source of absolute truth and 62% of whom recognize the existence of absolute moral standards.
    • Within the Christian community, there are substantial fissure lines. Merely half of those who call themselves Christian (54%) identify God as the basis of truth. Those most likely to identify God as the basis of truth are: Evangelicals (72%), Pentecostals (70%) and born-again Christians (69%). Those least likely are Catholics (43%) and mainline Protestants (37%).
    • But recognition of God as the source of truth doesn’t necessarily translate into recognizing an absolute moral standard for everyday life. Despite 72% of Evangelicals identifying God as the source of truth, 46% reject absolute moral truth while 48% accept it. Similarly, 69% of born-again Christians point to God as the source of truth, but only 43% embrace a standard of absolute moral truth. Among Pentecostals, 70% point to God as the source of truth, but only 31% recognize absolute moral truth.
    • Mostly likely to embrace absolute moral truth are political conservatives (42%), Republicans (42%), college graduates (39%) and people 50 and older (37%). Conversely, rejection of absolute moral truth is most seen among LGTBQ adults (73%), political liberals (67%), Hispanics (65%), blacks (63%), Democrats (63%) and people under 50 (62%).
    • Unexpectedly, although those who describe themselves as part of the LGBTQ community reject the idea of absolute moral truth (73%), they were twice as likely to identify God as the basis of truth (34%) as they were to list either scientific proof (17%) or inner certainty (15%).
    • There was no region in the country where a majority of people chose the same basis of truth. However, almost half of the residents of the southern states (48%) said God is the source of truth, compared to an average of 38% in the other three regions of the U.S.

The Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University exists to advance the Kingdom of God by conducting cultural and biblical worldview studies that will provide research and resources to inform and mobilize strategic engagement in cultural transformation. CRC’s biblical worldview research is used in developing resources for ACU’s CORE curriculum and supports the University’s vision of transforming culture with truth.

This latest CRC report, “Survey Finds Americans See Many Sources of Truth—and Reject Moral Absolutes,” is the fifth of 12 biweekly releases from the American Worldview Inventory 2020. The full results of this recent release are available here.

Commencement FAQ

Will ACU hold a Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020?

Yes! We are not canceling Commencement, and it will not be virtual – the point of Commencement is to gather together in person and celebrate what our graduating seniors have accomplished. Our Commencement activities and events will occur at the end of the fall semester, from Dec. 17-19, and – as is fitting for our first graduating class after the move to Glendale – we intend to hold those ceremonies on our new campus.

Do I need to participate in a ceremony to graduate, and am I not considered a college graduate until December?

No. If university academic requirements are met, students will be considered college graduates for the purpose of graduate school and employment on schedule in May, and will receive their physical diplomas by mail approximately six to eight weeks after the degree conferral date.

I will be leaving the area after graduating in May and don’t think I will be able to make it back for Commencement in December. Why can’t we do a graduation ceremony later this summer rather than waiting until December?

We completely understand this concern and are so sorry that we were not able hold Commencement this May as previously scheduled, because we know that any alternate date is unlikely to work for all students.

Our senior leadership team spent considerable time in discussion, consultation, and prayer when deciding when to hold Commencement for the Class of 2020. Our goal was to find a date that offered the best chance for as many graduates as possible to participate.

The uncertainty around the timeline for a resolution of the current public health crisis, including when large group gatherings will once again be possible, forced us to consider dates beyond this summer.

We settled on December (as opposed to a random date during the fall), as the most likely opportunity for graduates who leave the Phoenix area to have the flexibility to travel during the holiday season, recognizing also that there would be many who were already planning to come back during that time to visit friends and family for Christmas.

Our goal is for as many Spring 2020 graduates to be able to participate as possible, and it became clear that December provided the best opportunity for the most students to participate.

Will there be a Senior Awards Ceremony?

Yes! The Senior Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 2020.

How do I pick up my cap and gown?

Caps and gowns are here! Your cap and gown will be available for pickup on campus on the following date and time:

    • Thursday, May 7 Time: 4 – 6 p.m.

Details for the process of on-campus pickup will be emailed to senior students soon.

In order to pick up your cap and gown the following items must be completed before the scheduled pick-up date:

If you are not available to pick up your cap and gown at the time listed, please email [email protected] for further instructions.

How do I get my honor cords?

If you earned honor cords they will be placed in the package with your cap and gown.

How do I get my stole of gratitude?

Your stole of gratitude will be placed in the package with your cap and gown.

What if I lose my tassel or honor cords or damage my cap and gown before the Commencement ceremony in December?

You will be responsible to keep all pieces of your cap and gown safe until the ceremony. If any items are lost, you will be able to purchase replacements directly from ACU at an additional cost.

Where can I purchase Graduation announcements?

If you would like to order graduation announcements, please follow the link below:
https://www.jostens.com/apps/store/packageBrowse/1001257/Arizona-Christian-University/Graduation-Announcements/colpga_1001257_20/CATALOG_COLLEGE/

Why do we need to pay a graduation fee?

It’s common for universities to have a fee associated with graduation. The graduation fee pays for items such as the degree audit, diploma, diploma case, cap and gown, honor cords, stole of gratitude and all related Commencement activities.

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

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

By Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director | Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

An increasingly secular America insists that life has purpose and meaning—terms commonly associated with the historic Christian faith and biblical understanding—but doggedly refuses to include God as a possible route to finding either.

Ironically, our culture’s insistence on self-reliance and self-righteousness—to the exclusion of God—may make it impossible to fulfill our deepest longings to live a life of purpose and to experience success.

“The very thing that makes life fulfilling—knowing, loving and serving God—is no longer part of the cultural framework for how we live our lives,” explains ACU President Len Munsil. “We are running on the fumes of the biblical worldview, the framework that animated our nation’s founding, and provided meaning and purpose for generations of Americans before us.”

“As a nation, we have no hope of fulfilling our deepest yearnings for meaning and purpose without God,” Munsil explained. “This should fill us with compassion as the Body of Christ—because we see so clearly our nation’s great need for God’s truth.”

According to the latest study from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, a whopping majority of 86% of Americans (six out of seven adults) believe there is a universal, shared purpose for human life, and two out of every three believe they have “unique, God-given calling or purpose.”

Yet few Americans make any reference to God or the Christian faith in defining what these terms mean. Even among the 71% of respondents who consider themselves to be Christians, fewer than 20% adopt the biblical view that our purpose is to know, love and serve God.

“The disconnect is staggering,” said Dr. George Barna, CRC Director of Research and author of the American Worldview Inventory 2020. “As a nation we long to understand our purpose and calling, ideas deeply rooted within our nation’s historical Christian faith and biblical understanding of God. Americans hold on to these basic biblical ideas of what makes human existence meaningful, yet, at the same time, we refuse to recognize reliance on God or His existence when talking about human success or purpose.”

Barna noted that most people pursue a life devoted to achievement, happiness, productivity, and striving for goodness. As he explained, “Those are not evil outcomes, but when they become the ultimate objective of life, you miss out on the greatest possibilities.”

Barna explained, “People who prioritize such outcomes miss the point that life flourishes when we become God-reliant rather than self-reliant. Being self-centered rather than dependent on God typically produces emptiness and disappointments, which in turn may lead to self-defeating choices such as substance abuse, broken relationships, loneliness, and even suicide.”

By rejecting God, said Barna, Americans today may be missing their opportunity to achieve the very things they long for most. “Millions of Americans misinterpret obedience to God to mean a life of limits, misery, and monotony. Yet those who pursue godly obedience report just the opposite. In fact, they are more likely to experience the very outcomes that most people are unsuccessfully pursuing through self-reliance and self-righteousness,” he said.

“Ironically, those who invest themselves in godly obedience are more likely than others to have lives that are healthy, safe, joyful, and free from oppressive burdens,” Barna explained. “Obedience does introduce boundaries, but those are limitations that God designed specifically for our success and well-being – boundaries that have proven to generate the life that most Americans have been looking for.”

Here are key findings from the latest AWVI 2020 report:

  • The survey finds little consensus in how Americans define the purpose of life. The most widespread view, held by nearly one-quarter of adults (23%), identified “experiencing happiness and fulfillment” as the ultimate reason for living. Followed by “evolving to our full potential physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually” (18%); “knowing, loving, and serving God” (18%); “furthering the development of humanity” (10%) or “living a long, healthy life” (10%).
  • The top definition of success was “living a healthy, productive, and safe life” (25%). One out of five adults selected either “being a good person” (22%) or “consistent obedience to God” (21%); 18% said “experiencing personal happiness or freedom.”
  • Whether God is included as part of one’s life purpose differs sharply by age and political views. The older a person, the more likely they are to adopt a biblical view of life’s purpose. Conversely, the youngest (18 to 29) are least likely to include God. Political conservatives are three times as likely as political liberals to identify God as giving purpose to life.
  • Among churchgoing adults, no Christian church affiliation claimed a majority who believed that success involved “consistent obedience to God.” Evangelicals came closest (47%), followed by those attending Pentecostal churches (42%), but only 23% attending mainline Protestant church and just 16% of Catholics include obedience to God in the definition of success.

The Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University exists to advance the Kingdom of God by conducting cultural and biblical worldview studies that will provide research and resources to inform and mobilize strategic engagement in cultural transformation. CRC’s biblical worldview research is used in developing resources for ACU’s CORE curriculum and supports the University’s vision of transforming culture with truth.

CRC’s latest AWVI 2020 report, “God is Absent from Most People’s Views of Purpose and Success,” is available here.

COVID-19 Crisis Shifts Perceptions of the Most Important National Issues

COVID-19 Crisis Shifts Perceptions of the Most Important National Issues

By Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director | Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

The COVID-19 crisis will change many aspects of American life—especially during an election year. A pair of surveys conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University – one completed in early February (pre-pandemic) and the other in mid-April (amidst pandemic responses) – offers some insights into how the global health crisis has affected Americans’ views of the nation’s most critical issues.

The CRC surveys show that while the respondents’ core concerns have not substantially changed, a few issues—especially concerns about healthcare, jobs and the view of President Trump—have undergone noteworthy levels of change. In addition, in the midst of the pandemic, those surveyed were decreasingly concerned about topics such as gun policy, foreign policy and immigration.

“Peoples’ focus has turned homeward,” according to Dr. George Barna, CRC Director of Research. “Domestic policy and performance transcend global concerns at the moment. The research strongly suggests that we should expect the November election to emphasize domestic policy platforms as people wrestle with personal finances, jobs, and the new ways of life that will define the post-pandemic United States.”

How might the COVID-19 crisis affect the upcoming 2020 elections? According to Barna, who conducted the surveys, “What we’re seeing, in the midst of the pandemic, is American adults first and foremost want a leader who will restore the economy to strength and address our healthcare needs.”

As the veteran researcher explained, “More than half of adults surveyed named some type of economic concern, such as economic growth and stability, taxes, unemployment, entitlement programs, and government spending. Given what has happened to both the national economy and to household finances, Americans prioritizing those matters is not surprising.”

“Issues related to overseas activity – such as foreign policy, the military, national security, terrorism, and national defense – were suddenly seen as less important as a result of the virus,” Barna said.

The surveys tracked more than forty issues and their significance to American adults. Here are key findings:

  • A plurality of Americans sees healthcare as the top issue. In mid-April, 42% of American adults named healthcare as the top issue, up five points from the pre-pandemic finding of 37%.
  • Concern about jobs moves into the top 3. After weeks of pandemic lifestyle changes, financial challenges, and political maneuvering, the mid-April survey found that the importance of jobs/unemployment jumped five percentage points, from 21% pre-pandemic to 26%. Recent economic challenges bumped jobs to the 3rd highest concern, up from 4th before the shutdown.
  • President Trump. Overall, Mr. Trump was listed as one of the most important issues by just 5% of voters in the February survey. By mid-April, Mr. Trump was deemed one of the most important issues facing the nation by 9% of adults. The President ranked as the 15th highest-ranked issue (tied with two other issues). This corresponds to the sense that many Americans deem the President’s handling of the crisis – for better or worse – to have become a significant issue for people to consider during this election season.
  • Three key issues dropped in importance: Foreign policy plummeted from double figures in February (10%), to only 4% by mid-April, dropping it from 16th to 23nd Gun policies dropped from 18% in February to just 13% seven weeks later (8th to 10th place). Immigration experienced a four-point decline from 20% to 16%, moving it from the 5th to 7th most important issue.

The studies measure a wide range of issues of concern to Americans, including economic policies, religious liberty, government programs and performance, and social issues. The full report, “COVID-19 Crisis Shifts Perceptions of the Most Important National Issues,” is available here.

The mission of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University is to advance the Kingdom of God by conducting cultural and biblical worldview studies that will provide research and resources to inform and mobilize strategic engagement in cultural transformation. The American Worldview Inventory 2020 is one of the CRC’s foundational research projects and can be found on our website https://www.arizonachristian.edu/culturalresearchcenter/research/.

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