A new survey by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University found that fewer people are taking their traditional moral values from biblical principles.
“The America’s Values Study” found that 71 percent of American adults claim to support traditional moral values today, including integrity, justice, kindness, non-discrimination, trustworthiness, free expression, property ownership, individual growth and self-control.
However, less than half of adults who hold to those values consider biblical morality a core value.
Another finding is that 42 percent of Americans say that “what you feel in your heart” is their absolute moral guide to life instead of the Bible. Among those who rely on their feelings are 53 percent of people with no religious affiliation who say that their emotions are the arbiter of right and wrong, 51 percent whose core values are happiness, comfort and equality and half of self-identified LGBTQ adults.
The subgroups who claim the Bible as their primary source of determining right and wrong were typically amongst those who are spiritually or politically conservative. Those prioritizing God’s Word were SAGE Cons (66 percent of adults who are Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians), adults who possess a biblical worldview (66 percent), people who attend an evangelical church (62 percent), Republican conservatives (58 percent) and theologically defined born-again Christians (54 percent).
CRC’s director of research, Dr. George Barna, who authored the survey, said the findings highlight a shift in where Americans derive their source of morality.
“Three-quarters of Americans maintain that people are basically good, and less than half of all
Americans believing in God or that the Bible is God’s true, relevant and reliable words to humanity,” the veteran researcher explained.
“Consequently, Americans have become comfortable with the idea of being the arbiters of morality,” he added. “In the same way that most Americans contend that there is no absolute moral truth, they now believe that there is no divine guidance required or even available to define right and wrong.” Barna also pointed out that people nowadays are “more likely to take their moral cues from government laws and policies than from church teachings about biblical principles.”
“Americans have historically said that when they elect a president, they are choosing a chief executive, not a pastor-in-chief, but that distinction appears to be passé. One could reasonably argue that the nation’s ideas about right and wrong are now more likely to come from the White House and the halls of Congress, than from our houses of worship,” he said. “The laws of the land are replacing the laws of God in determining good and evil in America.”
The results were taken from two national surveys commissioned by AmericasOne and was conducted on July 22, 2022.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.