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A comparative analysis of factors influencing the development of a biblical worldview in Christian middle-school students

Dissertation
Author: Cherie Elder Brickhill
Abstract:
One of the important goals of Christian education is to train students to see the world through the lens of scripture. However, Christian schools are regularly graduating students who do not think from a distinctively biblical worldview. This study utilized comparative data analysis (Kruskal-Wallis test) to investigate the relationship between four independent variables and the biblical worldview of middle-school students as measured by the PEERS worldview test. The study examined the influence of type of elementary education, frequency of church attendance, personal faith commitment, and parent Christian belief on the PEERS test scores and religion subcategory scores of students enrolled in Christian middle-school. Results suggested significant relationships between frequency of church attendance and personal faith commitment and the PEERS composite scores and religion subcategory scores. Many of the students in this study demonstrated a commitment to faith-based practices, but their worldview was strongly secular humanist. The results suggest a gap between religion-based knowledge and practices and application of scripture to real life issues. The study concludes with implications for Christian educators including an outline of a curriculum strategy for biblical worldview development and suggestions for further research.

Table of Contents Acknowledgements ………………………………………………..,…………………….ii List of Tables …………………………………………………………………………...viii List of Figures ……………………………………………………………………………ix CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………….1 Background of Study ……………………………………………………………..2 Research Problem …………………………………………………………….5 Research Questions …………………………………………………………..6 Null Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………...7 Significance of the Study ………………………………………………………...8 Assumptions of the Study ……………………………………………………9 Overview of the Design ………………………………………………………….9 Study Sample and Population ………………………………………………..9 Definitions …………………………………………………………………...10 Summary ………………………………………………………………………...12 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW ……………………………………………14 State of Worldview in America ………………………………………………....15 Biblical Theism ……………………………………………………………...16 Secular Humanism …………………………………………………………..17 Cosmic Humanism ………………………………………………………….17 Post-Modernism …………………………………………………………….17 Islamic Worldview ………………………………………………………….18

iv Marxism-Leninism ………………………………………………………..…18 Socialism …………………………………………………………………….18 Biblical Framework of Worldview ……………………………………………...19 The Significance of the Christian Mind ……………………………………..19 The Relevance of Christ’s Example ………………………………………...20 The Enticement of Opposing Views ………………………………………...22 The Necessity of Diligence ………………………………………………….23 Model of Biblical Worldview Development ………………………………...23 Religiosity and Religious Influences among Adolescents ………………………24 Influence of Religion on Adolescents ……………………………………….25 Predictors of Religiosity in Adolescents …………………………………….26 Religious Thinking and Moral Reasoning in Adolescents ………………….27 Empirical Studies of Biblical Worldview ……………………………………….30 Research on the Influence of Christian Education on Worldview …………..30 Research on Teacher and School Leader Worldview………………………..32 Summary ………………………………………………………………………...33 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY………………………………………………...35 Research Design …………………………………………………………………35 Research Questions ………………………………………………………….36 Null Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………..37 Designation of Variables …………………………………………………….38 Site …………………………………………………………………………..39

v Population and Sample ………………………………………………...……39 Data Collection and Methodology …………………………………….…..……39 Procedure ………………………………………………………….…..…….40 The PEERS Instrument …………………………………………….…..……41 Data Analysis ……………………………………………………………..……..42 Summary ……………………………………………………………….………..43 CHAPTER FOUR DATA ANALYSIS …………..……………………………………..45 Analysis of Null Hypotheses ……………………………………………………46 Null Hypothesis One ………………..……………………………………… 47 Null Hypothesis Two ………………………………………………………..48 Null Hypothesis Three ………………………………………………………50 Null Hypothesis Four ………………………………………………………..53 Null Hypothesis Five ………………………………………………………..54 Null Hypothesis Six …………………………………………………………56 Null Hypothesis Seven ………………………………………………………57 Null Hypothesis Eight ……………………………………………………….59 PEERS Subcategory Score Analysis ……………………………………………60 Descriptive Analysis of Subcategory Scores ………………………………..61 Summary …………...……………………………………………………………62 Null Hypothesis One ………………………………………………………...62 Null Hypothesis Two ………………………………………………………..62 Null Hypothesis Three ………………………………………………………63

vi Null Hypothesis Four …………………………………………………….….63 Null Hypothesis Five ………………………………………………………..63 Null Hypothesis Six ………………………………………………………....64 Null Hypothesis Seven ………………………………………………….…...64 Null Hypothesis Eight …………………………………………………….…64 Subcategories ………………………………………………………….…….64 Conclusion …………………………………………………………………..64 CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION …………………………………..65 Research Problem ……………………………………………………………….65 Review of the Methodology …………………………………………………….66 Summary of Results …………..…………………………………………………68 Null Hypothesis One ………...………………………………………………69 Null Hypothesis Two ……..…………………………………………………69 Null Hypothesis Three ………………………………………………………70 Null Hypothesis Four ……….……………………………………………….70 Null Hypothesis Five …………..……………………………………………70 Null Hypothesis Six …………………………………………………………70 Null Hypothesis Seven ………………………………………………………71 Null Hypothesis Eight ……………………….………………………………71 Descriptive Profile of Christian Middle-School Students …...……………...71 Discussion of Results ……………………………………………………………71 Relationship of the Current Study to Previous Research ……………………74

vii Explanation of Unanticipated Findings ………………………………………....75 Problem with Research Design ………………………………………….…..75 Defects in Instrument ………………………………………………….…….75 Implications for Christian Education …………………………………………....76 Worldview-Based Instruction ……………………………………………….77 Application of Scripture in Curriculum ……………………………………..77 Parent Training ……………………………………….……………….……..78 Teacher Training …………………………………………………………….78 Development of Critical Thinking …………………………………………..79 A Curriculum Strategy for Biblical Worldview Development ………...……80 Recommendations for Further Research …………...……………………………82 Summary …………………...……………………………………………………84 REFERENCES ………………………………………………………………………….88 APPENDIX A …….……………………………………………………………………..94 APPENDIX B ……………...……………………………………………………………96 APPENDIX C …………………………………………………………………………...97 APPENDIX D ………………………………………………………………………….. 98

viii

List of Tables Table Page 2.1 Beliefs of Major Worldviews ……………………………………………………16 3.1 PEERS Worldview Assessment Scale …………………………………………..42 4.1 Comparison of PEERS Composite Mean Scores and School Type ……………48 4.2 Comparison of PEERS Scores and School Type using Kruskal-Wallis…………48 4.3 Comparison of PEERS Composite Mean Scores and Church Attendance .……. 49 4.4 Comparison of PEERS Scores and Church Attendance using Kruskal-Wallis …50 4.5 Comparison of PEERS Composite Mean Scores and Prayer and Bible Study ….51 4.6 Comparison of PEERS Scores and Prayer/Bible Study using Kruskal-Wallis . . 52 4.7 Comparison of PEERS Composite Mean Scores and Parent Christian Belief ….53 4.8 Comparison of PEERS Scores and Parent Christian Belief using Kruskal-Wallis . .54 4.9 Comparison of Religion Scores and School Type ………………………………55 4.10 Comparison of Religion Scores and School Type using Kruskal-Wallis ………55 4.11 Comparison of Religion Scores and Church Attendance ……………………….56 4.12 Comparison of Religion Scores and Church Attendance using Kruskal-Wallis . 58 4.13 Comparison of Religion Scores and Prayer and Bible Study ………………...…58 4.14 Comparison of Religion Scores and Prayer/Bible Study using Kruskal-Wallis . .58 4.15 Comparison of Religion Scores and Parent Christian Belief …..……………….59 4.16 Comparison of Religion Scores and Parent Christian Belief using Kruskal-Wallis. .60 4.17 Comparison of PEERS Subcategory Scores ……………………………………61 5.1 PEERS Worldview Assessment Scoring ……………………………………….68

ix List of Figures Figure Page 2.1 Model of Biblical Worldview Development …………………………….……25 4.1 PEERS Test Scores and Frequency of Church Attendance ………………….49 4.2 PEERS Test Scores and Frequency of Prayer and Bible Study ………………51 4.3 PEERS Test Scores and Parent Christian Belief …………….………………..54 4.4 Comparison of PEERS Mean Subcategory Scores ……………………………62

1

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

A startling ninety percent of youth from Christian homes are abandoning a biblical worldview (Smithwick, 2008) and being ‘taken captive’ by hollow and deceptive philosophies “which depend on the human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8, NIV). The Nehemiah Institute predicts that the next generation of Christian adults will be committed secular humanists with leanings toward socialism between 2014 and 2018 (Smithwick, 2008). Worldview is the framework of beliefs that helps individuals interpret what they see and experience, and it gives them direction for the choices that they make (Dewitt, Deckard, Berndt, Filakouridis, & Iverson, 2003). Despite its importance in living out the Christian faith, only four percent of American adults and nine percent of born again believers have a biblical worldview as the basis of their decision-making (Barna, 2003). As a result of this lack of commitment to absolute truth and inconsistency in applying God’s Word, the influence of Christianity on society has been replaced by the bold humanist agenda (Noebel, 1991). The future of this tumultuous nation will be determined by its young people. Since moral and ethical perspectives develop in most people by the age of nine, and spiritual beliefs and habits begin to solidify by age 13 (Barna, 2008), children and adolescents must be equipped with a biblical worldview at a young age. Research suggests that the church and Christian parents are failing at this task primarily because parents, teachers, and pastors lack a biblical worldview themselves or are unintentional in their efforts to influence young minds. Meanwhile, these impressionable minds are being

2 molded by the non-biblical messages of their peers, television, movies, books, and the internet (Barna, 2008). Background of Study “Worldview refers to any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world, and man’s relationship to God” (Noebel, 1991, p. 16 ). Everyone has a worldview even though they may not consistently live it (Bahnsen, 1991). In recent years, the Christian community, especially educators, have become more interested in worldview formation. In particular, Christian educators want to know what can be done to reverse the lack of impact made by Christian schools and how much of one’s biblical worldview is determined by personal faith practices. And, are Christian schools fighting a losing battle in their efforts to shape worldview if there is lack of support at home? Much attention has been placed on the worldview development of high school and college students, but middle-school students have been overlooked in the research despite the fact that this is such a critical age of moral development and decision-making (Regnerus, 2003). Worldview is not a new concept nor is the Christian community’s concern over society’s movement toward humanism. For 125 years following American independence, a biblical worldview was the prominent ideological framework in the United States (Autio, 2005). In fact, Christianity was a major influence on the first educational systems in the United States whose purpose was to produce literate, law-abiding citizens with an emphasis on Bible reading (Gutek, 2005). Writing over 150 years ago, Alexis de Tocquevlle described America as a Christian nation, “There is no country in the whole world, in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men

3 than in America . . .” (as cited in Noebel, 1991, p.18). Entering into the 21 st Century, however, America found itself firmly planted in a humanist system of thought not only in the public schools, but also in nearly all power centers of society (Noebel, 1991). In 1981, author and philosopher Francis Schaeffer blamed the rise of secular humanism on Christian educators, Christian theologians, and Christian lawyers who he believed were quietly watching the demise from the sidelines. Schaeffer concluded that one of the basic problems of Christians in America was that they saw everything in “bits and pieces” rather than in totals. Even though Americans had become concerned over specific areas of immorality such as homosexuality, pornography, and gambling, they failed to attribute this demise to the bigger picture, a shift in the worldview of the people. A decade later, Dr. James Dobson and Gary Bauer (1990) weighed in on the discussion concluding, “Nothing short of a great Civil War of Values rages today throughout North America. Two sides with vastly differing and incompatible worldviews are locked in a bitter conflict that permeates every level of society” (p. 14). The battle for the minds of America’s young people has escalated, and Christians are currently on the losing side (Dobson & Bauer, 1990). Humanism is the enemy, and it has successfully infiltrated America’s public schools and has covertly engaged the Christian school by way of apathy and ignorance. In 1988, the Nehemiah Institute reported that 90% of youth from Christian homes were consistently abandoning a biblical worldview and were comfortably aligned with secular humanism. Barna (2003) reports that only 2% of born again teenagers have a biblical worldview. With an additional 20 years of data, the Nehemiah Institute (2008) added several thousand more test results and now projects that students from traditional Christian schools will score in the “socialist”

4 category by the year 2016. Using similar data, the Nehemiah Institute (2008) also measured the scores of students in public schools, traditional Christian schools, and worldview Christian schools over a twelve year period beginning in 1988. A worldview school is one that is deliberate in its efforts to incorporate biblical worldview in all subjects and provides worldview training to teachers. From 1988-2000, Christian school students' average scores dropped by 30.3%, and scores of children from evangelical homes who attend public schools dropped 36.8% (Smithwick, 2008). Worldview schools typically held steady or showed slight increases in test scores. However, there are less than 500 worldview schools in the United States out of the 12,000 Christian and parochial schools in existence. These school results should not be shocking considering the results of Barna’s adult studies. Only four percent of American adults have a biblical worldview as a basis for their decision-making, and only nine percent of born-again believers view the world through the lens of God’s Word (Barna Group, 2003). In fact, the outcomes of a post modern society are prevalent in both adults and youth. George Barna (2008) summarizes the practical path to this moral anarchy that Americans seem to be pursuing, Moral and spiritual contradictions can exist because there are no absolutes—and there is little concern over reconciling logical conflicts. Change is desirable because nothing is pure or right, and relevance is constantly morphing. . . . Rules may make life more pleasant and productive, but rules can be ignored when they hinder the feeling a person has of what is right to him or her. Entertainment is a way of escaping reality and perfecting advanced technique rather than a way of

5 expressing beauty, creativity, and truth (p. 4). The battle is not really over highly charged political and social issues like abortion and homosexuality as many people believe; rather, it is a culture war that must be fought in the minds of our young people. Christian leaders, educators, and families must understand this battlefield if there is any hope to reverse the anti-Christian trend that is so adversely affecting the American culture. C.S. Lewis (2002) warned that Christians too easily “make unnecessary concessions to those outside the Faith.” He encouraged, “We must show our Christian colours, if we are to be true to Jesus Christ. We cannot remain silent and concede everything away” (p. 262). Research Problem The problem is that the Christian school movement of the past 40 years has had only a marginal impact on the formation of a biblical worldview in the next generation (Smithwick, 2008). As a result, Christian schools are regularly graduating students who do not think from a distinctively biblical worldview (Smithwick, 2008). The concern is that these students will graduate from Christian high schools without the solid foundation to hold to biblical truths outside of the classroom. Christian educators and families need a better understanding of factors that influence the development of a biblical worldview in adolescence, so that they can equip the next generation to transform and evangelize the world. The purpose of this research project was to examine the relationship of four faith- based factors to the development of a biblical worldview in Christian middle-school students. These factors include type of elementary school attended, church involvement, personal faith commitment, and parent profession of faith.

6 By examining these four factors in relation to the student’s worldview, it is hoped that Christian school educators and parents can gain greater insight into the development of a biblical mindset at this crucial age of development. Another goal of this project was to contribute to the growing body of research which will help Christian parents, teachers and administrators make decisions and implement strategies that will most likely facilitate a biblical worldview in middle-school students. Research Questions The following questions guided the writer in this research project: 1. Does the type of elementary school attended affect a student’s biblical worldview in middle-school? 2. Does frequency of church participation affect a student’s biblical worldview in middle-school? 3. Does time spent in personal prayer and Bible study affect a student’s biblical worldview in middle-school? 4. Does a parent’s Christian belief identification affect a student’s biblical worldview in middle-school? 5. Does the type of elementary school attended affect a student’s biblical worldview of religious-based issues? 6. Does the frequency of church participation affect a student’s biblical worldview of religious-based issues? 7. Does time spent in personal prayer and Bible study affect a student’s biblical worldview of religious-based issues? 8. Does a parent’s Christian belief identification affect a student’s biblical

7 worldview of religious-based issues? Null Hypotheses There are eight null hypotheses that guided this research: 1. The biblical worldview (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who attended the following types of schools: 1. Christian schools, 2. private secular schools, 3. public schools, 4. home schools. 2. The biblical worldview (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who attend church two or more times per week, one time per week and not at all. 3. The biblical worldview (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who read their Bibles and pray frequently, occasionally, and not at all. 4. The biblical worldview (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who live with at least one Christian parent and those that do not live with a Christian parent. 5. The biblical worldview of religion sub-scores (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who attended the following types of schools: 1. Christian schools, 2. private secular schools, 3. public schools, 4. home schools. 6. The biblical worldview of religion sub-scores (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who attend church two or more times per week, one time per week and not at all.

8 7. The biblical worldview or religion sub-scores (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who read their Bibles and pray frequently, occasionally, and not at all. 8. The biblical worldview of religion sub-scores (as measured by the PEERS instrument) will not be significantly different for middle school students who live with at least one Christian parent and those that do not live with a Christian parent. Significance of the Study Developing a biblical worldview is at the core of Christian education. The Christian school exists to help parents teach children to love the Lord their God with all their mind; however, many Christian schools are graduating students who lack the scriptural foundation to be able to apply God’s Word to all aspects of life. The majority of Christian school students are becoming “intellectually schizophrenic” in their worldview because of this failure (Wilson, 1991). The result is Christian young people who act one way in church or Christian school settings and then behave quite differently in the world. In order to bring the corporate worldview of the nation’s Christian young people back into focus, there is an urgent need to assess the worldview of Christian school students and begin to understand the most significant influences contributing to the formation of a biblical framework of thought. Research has been conducted by other doctoral students investigating the relationship between teacher worldview and personal faith on the development of a biblical worldview in high school students. In addition, college students’ worldview development has been investigated, and various worldview seminars and curricula have been examined. However, no one has studied the influences on biblical worldview

9 development among students in middle-school, a crucial time of maturity, decision- making, and moral reasoning. Although some worldview topics may appear too sophisticated for adolescent thinking, it is important that Christian schools begin laying the foundation for applying God’s Word to real-life situations and issues. This study is significant because it will help Christian educators redefine their curriculum priorities by suggesting the factors which most significantly affect biblical worldview formation. It is hoped that the results of the study will serve as a catalyst for encouraging Christian schools to implement strategies for biblical worldview development in middle-school students and encourage a more effective partnership between Christian schools and parents in formulating scripture-based thinking in students. Assumptions of the Study There are three assumptions that the researcher made for the purposes of this study. The first assumption was that middle-school students have a worldview or a belief system that guides their decision-making. The study also assumed that the Christian school students in the sample will honestly and accurately report survey responses and will complete the worldview assessment to the best of their ability. It is also assumed that the two Christian schools involved in the study philosophically and practically desire to graduate students with a sound biblical worldview. As such, the faculty, curriculum and values are all in line with a biblical worldview. Overview of Design This study utilized the Kruskal-Wallis (K-W) test to analyze the relationship between the PEERS scores and each of the four independent variables. The investigation examined the influence of type of elementary education, frequency of church attendance,

10 personal faith commitment, and parent Christian belief on the composite PEERS test scores and religion subcategory scores of students enrolled in Christian middle-school. Study Sample and Population The population of interest for this study was middle-school students from Christian schools in the Southeast United States. The study utilized a convenience sample of all eighth grade students from two selected Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Christian middle-schools in the state of Virginia. One hundred ninety-two students comprised this sample which represented various social, economic, denominational, and cultural backgrounds. Definitions The review of the literature in Chapter 2 will include a thorough discussion of the construct of worldview and biblical worldview, and the PEERS survey tool will be fully discussed in Chapter 3. The following definitions provide a brief overview of these terms and the major worldviews of the 21 st century. Operational definitions are also provided for the study’s four independent variables. Worldview. Worldview generally refers to the overall perspective by which one sees and interprets the world and how he applies that knowledge to life. Specifically, it is how one understands God, the world, and man’s relations to God and the world (Noebel, 1991). Biblical worldview. A biblical worldview is a set of beliefs and assumptions about worldview questions that are consistent with an evangelical understanding of the Bible. These assumptions include a belief that absolute moral truths exist as defined by the Bible and that the Bible is accurate and authoritative in all its teachings (Nehemiah

11 Institue, n.d.). Moderate Christian worldview. The Nehemiah Institute (n.d.) defines a moderate Christian worldview as one in which the individual sees God as supreme in religious matters but irrelevant in other areas of life. Man controls “temporal issues,” while God is concerned with spiritual matters. Secular humanism or humanist worldview. This is the belief that humans are the highest of all beings. Truth and knowledge rest in human reason and science (Nehemiah Institute, n.d.). Postmodern worldview. Postmodernism is an atheist view of the world in which there is no absolute truth or morality. The postmodernist is tolerant of all religious beliefs because no one religion can be true (Noebel, 1991). Socialist. Mankind, not able to prosper acting alone, needs a ruling body to ensure that all areas of life are conducted fairly. The elite of society serve as leaders who determine the good of all (Nehemiah Institute, n.d.). Type of school attended. The type of school attended for grades kindergarten through five was reported as Christian school, private/secular school, public school or home-school. This data was measured using a multiple choice question. Frequency of church attendance. Frequency of church attendance was measured by asking each of the students to report whether he or she attends church activities two or more times per week, one or more times per week, or not at all. The data was reported using a multiple choice question. Personal prayer and Bible study. Personal prayer and Bible study was measured by asking the students to report how often they spend time in prayer and Bible

12 study apart from school and church activities. The multiple choice answers were daily, occasionally, rarely and never. Parent belief identification. Parent belief identification was measured by asking the students to report whether or not at least one parent is a born-again believer. This was a “yes” or “no” response. PEERS. The PEERS worldview test was designed and published by the Nehemiah Institute in 1986. The instrument was developed to measure an individual’s basic worldview assumptions in five areas: politics, economics, education, religion, and social issues. The 70-item assessment utilizes a scale ranging from -100 to +100 to indicate a person’s basic worldview. An individual’s score is ranked into one of four categories: biblical theistic (70-100); moderate Christian (30-69); secular humanist (0- 29); and socialist (less than 0). The PEERS has been through extensive validity and reliability testing which will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3 (Smithwick, 2008). Summary In 2 Chronicles 12: 32, the men of Issachar understood the times and knew what to do. Christian educators and parents must understand that there is a battle waging for the minds of today’s youth. As they prepare to defend their children and students from the mental and spiritual assault of competing worldviews, parents and educators must be armed with reliable information and tools to do battle. This study contributes to the arsenal of information by investigating the effect of four factors on the biblical worldview of middle-school students. In Chapter 2, the literature review will examine the current state of worldviews in America. The Bible will provide the theoretical framework for this research project with support

13 from the field of developmental and cognitive psychology. Empirical studies concerning religiosity and moral reasoning in adolescence as well as relevant worldview studies will be discussed.

14

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW

Human beings have a need to give meaning to their fragmented lives (Nash, 1992), and this meaning arises from a framework of beliefs. Everything from a casual thought to a profound question runs through a mental filter that has become known as one’s worldview. Although the definitions of worldview range in depth and sophistication, it is widely accepted that worldview is the way one sees the world and his place in it. Sire (2004) contends, however, that worldview is more than the mind alone; it is also a spiritual orientation and a matter of the soul. Theologians and philosophers also disagree slightly on the questions that define one’s worldview. Nash (1992) lays out three philosophical foundations for worldview formation including metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology. Simply stated, the key questions are (a) what exists, (b) how humans should live, and (c) how human beings know. The lists of Noebel (1991), Sire (2004), and Barna (2003) differ slightly, but there is general agreement that worldview encompasses beliefs about God, reality, knowledge, morality, and humankind. This chapter will review the literature with respect to the current state of worldview in America including the most prevalent worldviews, and it will lay out a biblical framework for the importance of worldview formation. The chapter will also examine psychological theory and empirical studies related to religiosity and moral development in adolescence. Chapter 2 concludes with a review of pertinent worldview studies.

15 State of Worldview in America Although everyone has a worldview, most Americans are somewhat unsound in their belief system. For example, 44% of Americans agree that the Bible, Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same truth, and 30% of all teenagers believe that all religions pray to the same god (Barna, 2003). This inadequate worldview is like wearing improper eyeglasses in which everything is out of focus (Nash, 1992). Moreland (1997) states it plainly contending that most people have little or no understanding of a Christian way of viewing the world. As a result, there has been a noticeable and inarguable shift from a Judeo-Christian worldview to a post-Christian understanding of reality. Americans have failed to connect the breakdown in morality to this shift in worldview. In fact, secular humanists would argue that by replacing Christian values, America is on a more pro-social, pro-human path to success (Noebel, 1991). Post modernist, Richard Rorty, brags that fundamentalist Christian students are lucky to be under his teaching in which he entices them to read Darwin and Freud without disgust. Rorty’s goal, along with many other college professors, is that Christian students will leave college with more humanistic views of reality (1991). The preceding paragraphs will provide the basic tenets of each of the major worldviews in America. The intent is not to discuss the pros and cons of each system of beliefs or provide an exhaustive summary; rather, it is to show the wide disparity of ideals that exist in America today and to lay the foundation for this research project. Table 2.1 summarizes the four most prevalent worldviews in America with an emphasis on key worldview topics including God, truth, government and man. The table reflects information obtained from the Nehemiah Institute (n.d.) and Understanding the Times

Full document contains 115 pages
Abstract: One of the important goals of Christian education is to train students to see the world through the lens of scripture. However, Christian schools are regularly graduating students who do not think from a distinctively biblical worldview. This study utilized comparative data analysis (Kruskal-Wallis test) to investigate the relationship between four independent variables and the biblical worldview of middle-school students as measured by the PEERS worldview test. The study examined the influence of type of elementary education, frequency of church attendance, personal faith commitment, and parent Christian belief on the PEERS test scores and religion subcategory scores of students enrolled in Christian middle-school. Results suggested significant relationships between frequency of church attendance and personal faith commitment and the PEERS composite scores and religion subcategory scores. Many of the students in this study demonstrated a commitment to faith-based practices, but their worldview was strongly secular humanist. The results suggest a gap between religion-based knowledge and practices and application of scripture to real life issues. The study concludes with implications for Christian educators including an outline of a curriculum strategy for biblical worldview development and suggestions for further research.