Tim Throckmorton: By 13, your worldview is established

Published 8:14 am Saturday, September 19, 2020

In 1791, Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence wrote a lengthy piece providing a dozen or so reasons why America would continue teaching the Bible in our public schools.

His list of reasons included, “The memory is the first faculty which opens in the minds of children. Of how much consequence, then, must it be to impress it with the great truths of Christianity, before it is preoccupied with less interesting subjects.”

And he observed, “We are subject, by a general law of our natures, to what is called habit. Now, if the study of the Scriptures be necessary to our happiness at any time of our life, the sooner we begin to read them, the more we shall probably be attached to them; for it is peculiar to all the acts of habit, to become easy, strong, and agreeable by repetition.”

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For time immemorial, education was referred to and understood as “formation.”
It is a helpful term because it describes what is actually taking place when a student is in a classroom as their conscience, conception of justice, and worldview are being formed.

Here’s where this makes all the difference in the world… According to George Barna, an American’s worldview develops between 15-18 months and 13 years of age. So, by age 13, you develop lifelong characteristics: moral foundations, theological foundations, faith commitments and priorities and habits. Hold on to your hat here… he then states, with a few exceptions and modifications… you will die believing what you believed at age 13

Simply defined, a worldview is a comprehensive set of truth claims that purports to paint a picture of reality; the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world.

Author Os Guinness describes it this way “A Christian worldview involves believers thinking about anything and everything in a manner that is consistently shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Such a Christian worldview encompasses core issues and answers such questions as, who am I? Where did I come from? What’s my purpose?
Where am I going? Is there a Creator, or are we the products of blind chance? If there is a Creator, what, if anything, does He expect of me?”

This applies to everyone everywhere all the time. For example, people view pornography … because of their worldview, support open borders … because of their worldview, promote socialism … because of their worldview. They support LGBTQ lifestyles … because of their worldview, they get married, divorced … because of their worldview.

They give public funds to the poor … because of their worldview, choose an abortion … because of their worldview, or engage with a church … because of their worldview.

According to my friend David Barton, schools of education have been transformed into agencies of social change with mandates to achieve equality at all costs.

Colleges of education no longer believe that knowledge should be the center of the educational enterprise.

According to current studies, after twelve years of school, only a meager 26 percent of students have enough preparation in civics to make informed choices at the polls.
Imagine! American education currently is producing only one in four students capable of informed voting!

So today, we are comfortable with removing the word murder from the abortion conversation and focus only on women’s health issues.

And there is great care taken so as to never refer to the created being in the mother’s womb as anything other than tissue. Human beings are now only referred to as products of conception.

George Barna writes… “Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place—and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void.

It’s what many refer to as the “New Moral Code.”

As nominally Christian moral norms are discarded what, if anything, is taking their place?

The research also reveals the degree to which Americans pledge allegiance to the “morality of self-fulfillment,” a new moral code that, as David Kinnaman, president of

The Barna Group argues, has all but replaced Christianity as the culture’s moral norm.
It has been said… the fruit of our lives grows on the trees of others. Our actions certainly affect more than we can imagine.

The lives and the influence God has entrusted to us cast a shadow further than we can know.

I have the greatest confidence that Americans in this moment in history will make the difference.

It was the English Parliamentarian Sir Edmund Burke said it best “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”
I believe it was God’s word that says to every age, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”


Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council.