2021 CRC Worldview Survey Release #2: Counterfeit Christianity in America

2021 CRC Worldview Survey Release #02: Introducing America’s Most Popular Worldview – Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

GLENDALE, AZ – The Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University has released the second of its Worldview Inventory Survey reports for 2021. “Release #02: Introducing America’s Most Popular Worldview – Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

Keep in mind that the first CRC report for 2021 revealed that an overwhelming 94% of Americans reject a Biblical worldview. If that is the case, then what do so many people go to church or claim to be Christians even if they don’t attend church regularly.

Someone has said that “Sleeping in your garage doesn’t make you a car any more than going to church makes you a Christian.” That quote and the CRC worldview report help to clarify what is going on in “Christian” America.

Matthew 7:21-23 clearly teaches that we are not Christians just because we choose to label ourselves as such.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Those verses present a problem for an entire new generation of Americans who equate a form of self-defined moralism with Christianity. If asked, they will tell you they are Christians, but their core beliefs and their lifestyles define them as Moralistic Therapeutic Deists.

What Is a Moralistic Therapeutic Deist?

The term “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” (MTD) was coined by Christian Smith and Melinda Denton in their book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.” It is just as unlikely that a person who can be properly defined as an MTD will know what a Moralist Therapeutic Deist is or that they are one.

They believe they are Christians. And therein lies the danger. They are,

  • Moralistic in that they believe that people should do good as defined by current culture,
  • Therapeutic in that our primary purpose is to feel good about ourselves, and
  • Deist because, although they believe that God is our Creator but that He is neither sovereign nor personally and actively involved in our lives. Unless, of course, they are in trouble. In which case, they may cry out to Him for help.

Some have called MTD America’s “civic religion.” George Barna, the Director of the American World View Inventory, classifies MTD as “a culturally adulterated version of the Christian faith” and “a twisted version of genuine Christianity.”

What Do Moralistic Therapeutic Deists Believe?

The teenagers upon whom Smith and Denton focused their work are now in their early to mid-thirties. Having reached an age of leadership and responsibility, these claim-to-be Christians advocate whatever is culturally acceptable, not only as permissible but also as morally good. Based on their theology and worldview, the CRC survey found that fewer than 17% are truly born again.

That is truly unnerving for the 74% of American adults who claim to be Christians but whose beliefs and worldview conflict with the Word of God.

Taken directly from the CRC Worldview Report, here is a list of 10 things that these in-name-only Christians believe, and the astronomical percentage of people in the survey who ascribe to each issue.

  • 95% do not consider success in life to be described as consistent obedience to God.
  • 92% do not believe that the wealth they have has been given to them by God to manage for His purposes.
  • 91% do not believe that people are born into sin and need to be saved by Jesus Christ.
  • 88% say they get their primary moral guidance from various sources other than the Bible.
  • 87% do not believe that the ultimate purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God with all of their heart, mind, strength, and soul.
  • 76% contend that good people earn a place in Heaven through their good behavior.
  • 75% do not believe that God is the basis of all truth.
  • 74% believe in Karma.
  • 73% say that having some type of religious faith is more important than which faith is embraced.
  • 71% do not believe that the Bible is the true and reliable communication from God.

Wake Up, America!

The fact that “a greater percentage of people who call themselves Christian draw from Moralistic Therapeutic Deism than (those who) draw from the Bible says a lot about the state of the Christian church in America.” Dr. Barna describes our plight, “Simply and objectively . . . Christianity in this nation is rotting from the inside out.”


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