I usually don’t trust polls. But this Gallup one, if at all accurate, is concerning. Here’s the opening paragraph . . .
“Americans continue to express an increasingly liberal outlook on what is morally acceptable, as their views on 10 of 19 moral issues that Gallup measures are the most left-leaning or permissive they have been to date. The percentages of U.S. adults who believe birth control, divorce, sex between unmarried people, gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, pornography and polygamy are morally acceptable practices have tied record highs or set new ones this year. At the same time, record lows say the death penalty and medical testing on animals are morally acceptable.”
You can find details at http://www.gallup.com/poll/210542/americans-hold-record-liberal-views-moral-issues.aspx. It’s worth reading, even if rather discouraging.
For example, 69% of Americans say sex between an unmarried man and woman is acceptable. An all-time high. 63% say gay or lesbian relations are acceptable–also an all-time high. Polygamy is acceptable for 17%.
“Some of the largest changes in opinion reflect a transformation in Americans’ views about the institution of marriage and intimate relationships.” Those changes are toward a moral liberal view. Of the 19 issues questioned, none reveal a more conservative shift.
Gallup concludes these changes reflect a more “tolerant” view by older Americans and the younger, more liberal generations in our country.
The poll results don’t surprise. The unbiblical worldview that pervades America (at least among the media, entertainers, and educators) spreads more easily than a biblical one. Sin is like metastasizing cancer. And (it seems to me) immorality increases like an uncontrolled truck racing downhill.
Poll results bring to mind Jesus’ words to us disciples . . .
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
Doesn’t Jesus mean we’re to have a “salty”, enlightening influence for morality in our country? One would think. And maybe we are. Maybe the morally liberal (not a political statement) permissive view is so pervasive we are holding back the tide from sweeping higher.
On the other hand, a December 2015 Gallup poll reveals 75% of Americans “identify with a Christian religion.” I know that doesn’t mean that many are what the Bible calls Christian. Still, I can’t shake this sobering thought: how many Christians were among the leftward, morally permissible respondents? Instead of being “salt” and “light” to counter the moral decay and darkness, are some Christians being morally decayed and dark in their moral worldview? Are we allowing “the world” into the church more than we’re taking the church into the world? Is our younger generation “moving left” too?
Another poll (!) might give answers. It’s not necessary. We should assume that our children are being morally misled. And we must keep them (or get them back) on track. That means parents and church teaching them what Jesus taught is morally right. And that teaching shouldn’t be a one-way lecture. What do they see and hear? What do they think–and why? What “moral sense” lies behind biblical morality?
And, of course, we must hedge our children around with prayer. The battle is spiritual and demands spiritual weapons.
I hope I’m not fear-mongering. But I think the most dangerous reaction to the nation’s increasing immorality is this: “My child could never think that way.”