Dr. Fred Schab from the University of Georgia recently published the results of a 20-year study on America's changing attitudes regarding ethics. While not surprising, the data is revealing and can help us understand how far our nation's moral base has eroded since the social revolution of the 1960's. Some of the statistics are as follows:
1. Honesty is the best policy. - 1969-82% agreed 1989-60% agreed
2. Crime does not pay. - 1969-82% agreed 1989-65% agreed
3. People who cheat cannot be trusted. - 1969-61% agreed 1989-41% agreed
4. All people cheat sometimes. - 1969-23% agreed 1989-38% agreed
5. Most people in the
United States are honest. - 1969-49% agreed 1989-24% agreed
What this survey says about our society is that we are losing our standards of right and wrong. It says that we are more tolerant of previously unacceptable behavior. It says that we now expect people to break the rules and that doing so is not necessarily wrong, depending on the circumstances. Such a system of beliefs is called humanism and this "religion" embraces many other philosophies - liberalism, evolution, situational ethics, mysticism and astrology, to name a few. Humanism is taught in our schools. It is espoused on TV and in the movies. It pervades the religious world and it attacks Christianity in subtle ways we may not even recognize. It is an outlook on life and a pattern of behavior that places self and temporal gratification above all else. God, in His infinite wisdom, predicted such a society. Read II Timothy 3:1-7 and it will amaze you how closely Paul describes the United States of the 1990's.
Of course, we, as Christians, are not be to caught up in humanism and its' cleverly devised snares. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. (I John 2:15-16) But are we? Are we doing our part to combat declining ethical standards by the way we live our lives and the choices we make? When we buy expensive houses, fancy vehicles, boats, computers, the latest in electronic and video equipment, new clothes and shoes (just to stay in style when the ones we have look and fit just fine), pretty collectibles and gadgets (just to possess them), take cruises and expensive vacations, eat out rather than cook at home, and on and on and on, can we truly say that we are not "of the world"? Will we be able to face our Lord on judgment day and say we used our talents and resources to the best of our abilities to spread His gospel and enhance His kingdom? I fear that some of the choices I have made have been as self-serving as those of any non-Christian. I fear that I profess to abhor humanism and its' accompanying belief-systems, but my actions may speak differently. I John 1:6 says, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." How many times do we "walk in the darkness" with our choices over how to spend our money and our time? It is a thought that bothers me and should bother any Christian living in present-day America.