The United States is feeling a seismic worldview shift driven by younger Americans, especially Millennials, far more likely to be among the "don't knows" if they believe or care whether God exists and prefer horoscopes to the Bible.
The findings are in a new study by Arizona Christian University's Cultural Research Center.
The discovery reflects a fundamental break with older Americans, most of whom view God as all-knowing, all-powerful, and just, and as the designer, creator, and sustainer of the Universe, a new report from the American Worldview Inventory 2021 has found.
George Barna, director of Research for the Cultural Research Center, says this radical spiritual revolution has created a generation seeking a reimagined world without God, the Bible, or churches.
"Gen X and the Millennials have solidified dramatic changes in the nation's central beliefs and lifestyles," explained Barna. "The result is a culture in which core institutions, including churches, are continually being radically redefined."
The 2021 report revealed more than two dozen examples of Millennials (ages 18 to 36) being substantially more likely than any other generation to reject biblical principles in favor of more worldly spiritual perspectives and practices.
"They are significantly more likely than older Americans to define success in terms of personal happiness, condone abortion if pregnancy inhibits personal happiness," it says.
They see premarital sex as morally acceptable, view reincarnation as possible, and embrace liberal positions on social and fiscal issues, as well as liberal theology.
"They are significantly less likely to embrace key traditional biblical teachings, including the nature of God, 'original sin,' salvation, creation, life after death, human purpose, and biblical morality."
The research shows that while four out of 10 people 55 or older (40 percent) in the U.S. can be classified as born-again Christians based on their beliefs about personal salvation, just one out of every six Millennials (16%) meets the criterion.
Instead, the research shows younger Americans are far more likely to embrace a counterfeit version of Christianity known as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism for worldview guidance.
Together, Gen Xers and Millennials (i.e., two generations currently in their late teens through mid-50s) emerged with many beliefs that stand in sharp contrast to those held by Boomers and Builders (the two generations in their mid-50s and older).
The younger pair of generations is substantially more likely than their elders to believe, for example, that horoscopes provide helpful guidance for their life and that getting even with those who offend or harm them is defensible.
They are likely to believe God is not involved in people's lives, allowing people to own property facilitates economic injustice, and that karma is a viable life principle.
Further, they are inclined to believe the Bible is ambiguous in what it teaches about abortion and that it is not the accurate and reliable (i.e., inerrant) word of God.
Their belief is also likely to be that human beings have developed over a long period from less advanced life forms to their current condition.