Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Truth Project

I had set up a "Truth 'versus' Love Project" about five years ago to decry the fact that so many Christians tell us we have to choose between theological orthodoxy and compassion, that a theology of the cross and a bleeding heart are incompatible.

Some conservative evangelicals have now set up The Truth Project to decry the fact that only nine percent of Christians have a biblical worldview. Interestingly, this statistic comes from a Barna Group Study, A Biblical Worldview has a Radical Effect on a Person's Life". It says that a half percent of Catholics hold to this view while still only 13% of evangelicals do. The article makes a fascinating read. The Barna Group study defines a biblical worldview:

For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

Hey, I got no problem with that! Interestingly the article goes on to mention a very strong correlation between the biblical worldview and positions on some touchstone conservative issues like abortion and gambling. (And as they are stated in the poll, I have no problem with either).

I've been very bothered by reports that evangelicals are more likely than the average American to oppose the moral positions of the human rights and humanitarian groups. Things like torture-- evangelicals are more in favor of it. They supported the war. Ronald Sider even wrote a whole book about this-- entitled Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. Sider pointed out how evangelicals did everything from getting divorced more often to being less likely to give to effective AIDS relief programs. This blog is full of "let me off the bus" stories about how the evangelical movement as a whole is not nice (but at the same time that you should be an evangelical).

Here's where it gets really interesting. I would LOVE to see the Barna group ask some more questions, like on torture. Who are these evangelicals that are more likely to support torture-- are they also the 8% of Baptists who have a biblical worldview? My earnest prayer, and sociological hunch, is that they are not. I bet that the small fraction who believe in the bible to Barna's degree are not the Sean Hannity and Glen Beck fans. That's because I think those pundits tap in to a nationalistic spirit that is very carnal and antinomian. I always wondered with The New York Post, with staunchly conservative political coverage, always had to have a bikini shot somewhere within the first three pages.

Barna, please do another poll. I'd love to meet and organize with Christians with a biblical worldview who are also nice people.

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