Barna has released a fascinating study on Americans’ moral beliefs. Eighty percent are worried about the nation’s moral condition, and yet there is little consensus about what morality is and how we can know the difference between right and wrong.
A majority believe that this knowledge is a matter of personal experience. Three-quarters of Millennials believe “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know.” (I don’t understand how you can get from experience or “what works” to moral truth, given the difference between what “is” and what “ought to be.” And how do you know “whatever is right for your life”? Isn’t that the question we are trying to figure out?)
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. New research from Barna reveals growing concern about the moral condition of the nation, even as many American adults admit they are uncertain about how to determine right from wrong. So what do Americans believe? Is truth relative or absolute? And do Christians see truth and morality in radically different ways from the broader public, or are they equally influenced by the growing tide of secularism and religious skepticism?
A majority of American adults across age group, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and political ideology expresses concern about the nation’s moral condition—eight in 10 overall (80%). The proportion is closer to nine in 10 among Elders (89%) and Boomers (87%), while about three-quarters of Gen-Xers (75%) and Millennials (74%) report concern. Similarly, practicing Christians (90%) are more likely than adults of no faith (67%) or those who identify with a religious faith other than Christianity (72%) to say they are concerned about the moral condition of the nation. Though measurable differences exist between population segments, moral concern is widespread across the demographic board.Much less widespread, however, is consensus on morality itself. What is it based on? Where does it come from? How can someone know what to do when making moral decisions? According to a majority of American adults (57%), knowing what is right or wrong is a matter of personal experience. This view is much more prevalent among younger generations than among older adults. Three-quarters of Millennials (74%) agree strongly or somewhat with the statement, “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know,” compared to only 38 percent of Elders. And Millennials (31%) are three times more likely than Elders (10%) and twice as likely as Boomers (16%) and Gen-Xers (16%) to strongly agree with the statement.
From Source: Barna Group – Knowledge to navigate a changing world
Follow the link to some very telling charts, especially the one about “The Morality of Self-Fulfillment.” Notice how many Christians are just as subjective and self-absorbed as the general public.