Values in America are on the decline according to a recent survey conducted by the Culture and Media Institute (CMI). Of the 2,000 Americans who took part, 74% felt that moral values are weaker than 20 years ago. In the words of the director of CMI, the study is, for better or worse, a “snapshot of America.”
The report reveals an America that, “no longer enjoys cultural consensus on God, religion and what constitutes right and wrong.” The result is a moral subjectivity that is unparalleled in the history of our nation. Yesterday’s standards have been lost to today’s relativism.
With 87% of Americans claiming to believe in God, one would assume that there would be a nationwide consensus about our values as a nation but a deeper look at the results exposes some revealing insights. Not everyone who claims to believe in God (87%) believes that the Bible is the authoritative word of God (only 52% hold to such a belief) and even fewer (36%) believe people should live by principles as set forth in the Bible. Since the founding of America, the Bible has been the key standard of measurement for moral absolutes in this nation. As of late, a trend has emerged whereby individuals create a self-made standard of morality and the result is unequivocal…we are slipping.
Various factors are noted in the study that shed light on why we find ourselves in this precarious position. The primary influencer in our society is the family yet latchkey kids are growing up without the benefit of nurturing parents. The media that is the second biggest influence on our families often promotes an agenda that is contrary to the values of mainstream America. Those who have increased exposure to TV show a decreased level of personal responsibility and increased levels of moral relativism.
As America claims to believe in God, while ignoring His precepts, it finds itself in moral decline. The need of the hour is to return to God and embrace the teachings of the Bible. It is not too late to recognize that a change of course is not only possible, it is imperative.
Rev. Bill Shuler is pastor of Capital Life Church in Arlington, Virginia.
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