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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 25: Christians (but just the evangelical ones) 'R' Us

WorldNetDaily promotes the idea that only evangelical Christians hold a "biblical worldview."

By Terry Krepel
Posted 12/24/2003

WorldNetDaily is slowly creeping from declaring what people should watch on TV to the proper definition of Christianity -- while somehow neglecting that the person selling that view is, indeed, selling something.

A Dec. 3 story reports on a poll that claims "only 4 percent of the general population have a biblical worldview." The story (unbylined, because it's essentially a rewrite of a press release) goes on to equate a "biblical worldview" with "thinking like Jesus," then goes on to define what it means:

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 still 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.

Not being theologians, ConWebWatch doesn't want to get into a theological discussion here, but a wander through the Web site of Barna Research Group, which conducted the research -- it calls itself "an independent marketing research company" but given that its leader, George Barna, has also written a book that tells people how to "Think Like Jesus," which he calls "the most practical ministry book I have ever written ... I am certain that this is one of those books that really ticks off Satan," the whole point of all this is ministry -- uncovers some interesting things.

In another Barna survey (titled "Morality Continues to Decay," which found among other things that a majority of Americans found gambling, cohabitation and "sexual fantasies" "morally acceptable), he broke responses down by group, one of which was "evangelicals." Here's Barma's definition:

"Evangelicals" are a subset of born again Christians in Barna surveys. In addition to meeting the born again criteria, evangelicals also meet seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; contending that they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; stating that Satan exists; maintaining that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; asserting that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; saying that the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Further, respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "evangelical." Being "evangelical" is not dependent upon any church or denominational affiliation or involvement.

Interesting how someone's particular view of Christianity is presented as the Christian ideal. Again, without delving into theological discussion, it sounds like somebody has an agenda here -- namely, that if you're not evangelical, you're not a real Christian (even though only 9 percent of born-again Christians and 13 percent of non-denominational Protestants measured up in Barma's survey as "thinking like Jesus").

We suspect people might argue with that. But we'll leave that to others.

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