I used to live a block away from a Blockbuster video store. In 2008, I moved away to another city while that Blockbuster seemed to be doing fine. But just two years later, the retail chain—along with thousands of other rent-a-video stores around that same time—filed for bankruptcy.
In hindsight, Blockbuster’s demise appears blindingly obvious. Didn’t everyone know that internet speeds would get faster and faster? The trend was clear, wasn’t it? Competent internet competition always wins, right?
You would think we learned our lesson. But no. The last year has seen a similar phenomenon with many retail stores. Publicly traded retail companies have been walloped. Mass layoffs, stores shutterings, and people left scratching their heads. Traditional retailers like JC Penny, Macy’s, and Sears have suffered due to… drumroll, internet competition! (Think amazon.com.) The below cartoon illustrates what has been happening in board rooms across the country.
Credit: New Yorker
Why didn’t the public markets see it coming? Why didn’t hundreds of bright CEOs and management teams see the trend 5-10 years ago? Wasn’t it obvious?
The reality is that most of us aren’t paying attention. We’re living in the moment and not spending enough time thinking about broader trends. Trends that are painfully obvious. So obvious that we feel like fools when we didn’t see it coming.
There is another trend in motion that is even more powerful, but people aren’t paying attention. This trend will have far greater implications for the fate of our world than the demise of video stores or clothing retailers. This trend is extremely disturbing. It’s been nicely captured by the Barna Group, a respected polling organization:
One pattern emerged loud and clear: young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview. The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of adults in the Mosaic generation— i.e., those aged 18 to 23— have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults. (George Barna, “Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians Over the Past 13 Years,” Barna Group, March 6, 2009.)
I want you to read the above quote again, because it’s easy to not pay attention to numbers. But you need to slowly re-read it.
Now, let’s digest this.
A biblical worldview was defined as: “believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”
More than 10% of older adults hold a biblical worldview, but less than 0.5% of younger adults. That kind of shift should stun us. A more than twenty-fold reduction in biblical worldviews across generations. While many people call themselves Christians without holding a biblical worldview, this should only heighten our need for diligence.
As the older generation passes away, and the younger generation gains in power, our world is going to be radically different. Being a genuine Christian will be much more difficult and rare.
There can be no doubt: something very wrong is afoot. While the problem is certainly multifactorial, college is the time that people’s worldviews are developed and cemented. We’ll cover in a later post why worldviews are so powerfully shaped during the college years (for good or bad).
The trend is clear and you (or your son or daughter) need to intentionally and carefully move in the opposite direction. It takes a fighter to challenge such a juggernaut of a trend. Choosing a college with a deeply biblical (not merely nominally Christian) worldview will help you fight the good fight.