This week we will take a look at morality and worldview within our today’s society. Much of this information is disturbing but unfortunately not surprising. (Barna Group, “Frames Wave 2” and “OmniPoll 1-14; also “New Record Highs in Moral Acceptability” by Riffkin). Much of the public beliefs related to moral behavior is a direct outgrowth of the doubts, confusion, and resistance people have to the truth of the Bible and the clear moral precepts it lays out. Most people, regardless of their perspective on the validity of the Bible, believe that the Bible does provide understandable teaching on most moral issues of today. Pornography? Two-thirds say the Bible discourages its creation and exposure. Gambling? Three-quarters believe that the Bible discourages humans from engaging in it. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage? Again, three-quarters contend that the Bible warns people not to go there.
Knowing this, then why does such a large proportion of American adults believe that many specific behaviors are morally acceptable?
* 69 % – getting a divorce
* 67% – an unmarried woman having a baby
* 66% – a sexual relationship between an unmarried man and woman
* 65% – medical research on stem cells obtained from human embryos
* 64% – gambling
* 63% – enjoying sexual thoughts or fantasies about someone you are not married to
* 63% – living with someone you are not married to
* 61% – death penalty
* 58% – gay or lesbian relation
* 52% – doctor assisted suicide
* 47% – using marijuana for recreational purposes
* 44% – using profanity
* 43% – looking at pictures that display explicit sexual behavior
* 42% – having an abortion
* 34% – getting drunk
* 32% – sex between teenagers
* 19% – committing suicide
(Data from a 2013 Gallup study in addition to the above references)
While this data bears no resemblance to what the Bible teaches, it is a natural extension of the fact that only 34% of adults believe there is any absolute moral truth (Barna Group, “OmniPoll May-08”, national survey of 1,003 adults eighteen or older, May 2008). When pressed as to where such truth can be found, only one in ten Americans believe there is absolute moral truth and that it can be found in the Bible (Ibid). Of the above percentages, over the past decade, most have increased. Only gambling, doctor-assisted suicide, and abortion have shown a decrease.
When most Americans are pursuing their life goals they do not worry about moral acceptability. Less than three out of ten adults say that when they make a moral choice they are striving to be consistent with Biblical standards. Four out of ten adults say that “feeling right” helps them make their moral choices. The remainder do not worry about morality but just try to do the best they can in a given situation. In a nation where half the population reports that belief in God is not necessary to be moral (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years”, section 6/ Pew Research Center, “Worldwide Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality”, March 13, 2014) is it any wonder that our society is in the shape it is in? It could almost be compared to Rome or Athens in their final days of glory. It is a massive problem for the church…God’s people…to take on. Strength and dedication is going to be required. Modifying the Word of God to fit the current situation will lead to ultimate failure. We need to pray daily for our pastors and congregations that they may be up to the challenge.
Next week we will look at the beliefs of our young adults and their flow of beliefs. Keep in mind, they are the future of this nation!
– Bob Munsey