Our Moral Decline Concerns Most Americans but What Is Right and Wrong?

Sign with "truth" pointing in one direction and "lie" pointing in the otherDoes the increasing moral decline in America concern you? If it does, you are not alone. Most Americans are concerned about our moral decline. That’s the finding of a recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research. According to the findings, 81 percent of Americans agreed with the statement: “I am concerned about declining moral behavior in our nation.”

According to the findings, this concern for the state of our nation’s morality differs across demographic lines. But it remains high across the board. Researchers found that 85% of those over 65 years old expressed concern. On the other end, 71 percent of those between 18 and 24 years old expressed concern about our moral decline.

Since so many Americans are in agreement, it would appear that we have common ground on which to move forward to reverse the trend. But not necessarily. As we sometimes say, the devil is in the details. Based on the findings of the survey, the concern for our moral decline is about the only thing we do agree on.

Those surveyed were asked how they personally decide between right and wrong. Some of the responses were as follows:

  • What’s right and wrong never changes (52 percent)
  • Whether or not someone gets hurt plays a determining role (32 percent)
  • Whether or not something is legal is a consideration (24 percent)
  • Whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs is a consideration (20 percent)

As for the dominant influence for shaping their moral views, most Americans named their parents (39 percent) followed by their religious beliefs (26 percent). By contrast, most evangelicals named their faith (64 percent) followed by their parents (22 percent).

Based on Lifeway’s findings, the moral decline of our nation concerns most of us. But this means something different to different people in America. The bright side, if there is one, is that as we view the moral behavior of our nation through our respective lens, most of us agree that it’s declining and the decline concerns us. That is the basis upon which the Christian community must move forward.

God is the ultimate standard of truth and morality. One of the divinely sanctioned missions of the Christian church is to positively impact the moral fabric of our nation. I believe our country needs that impact from the church more now than ever before. But we have no silver bullet: “For Americans there is no most influential source of morality embraced by a majority.”1

Copyright 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.

 

1.       Quote from the report of the referenced survey attributed to Mr. Scott McDonnell, executive director, Lifeway Research.

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2 thoughts on “Our Moral Decline Concerns Most Americans but What Is Right and Wrong?

    • You are so right. A serious blurring of the line has occurred in our society. And to think that the young adults of our day will be our business leaders and church leaders of tomorrow. I certainly don’t like where things are currently headed. We need a serious stemming of the tide.

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