Morality in the modern age is shifting and most Americans see cause for concern. In a recent LifeWay Research survey, eight out of ten people said America is in a state of moral decline.
However, there is also a division about what it means to be moral on a personal level.
When asked what helps them personally decide between right and wrong, about 52% say there is an objective standard, a right and wrong never change. 32% say morality is mostly about “whether or not someone gets hurt,” while 24% of people say it’s most important whether an action is legal or not. About 20% look to whether the benefits outweigh the costs when thinking about morality. (LifeWay Research data)
In the midst of these varied definitions of morality, apologist Alex McFarland says the most important question is often unasked: What does God say about right and wrong?
“Willingness to accept God’s take on truth matters for time and eternity. Our survival as a country, and the state of our soul in the afterlife, depends on trusting what God says.”
McFarland says there are two levels at which morality matters: to individuals, and to whole cultures. Each of us is first accountable for the state of our own personal morality.
“To everyone reading this: God loves you. To go to heaven, you must be born again; then we’re forgiven of our sin and we’re given a fresh start, where we’re spiritually born by putting our faith in Jesus…and the Bible promises Christ will accept you. So on a personal level, we need to be saved, and we can only do that if we accept what God has said about truth and sin and salvation.”
The collective effect of individuals in tune with God, and looking to His definition of right and wrong to guide them, shapes the character of whole nations. McFarland says it’s the absence of this understanding that is leading Americans into an uncertain future.
“I’m a Christian first, I’m a patriot second. I love America! I travel all around the world, but I love to get home.”
“Still, as a culture, our very survival as a country, the preservation of the Constitution, the perpetuation of this great nation, hangs in the balance. The tipping point is going to be whether or not we return to belief in morality. Otherwise, we’ll continue down this path of relativism and rejecting natural law. We need to pray for this country; if you’re a believer, we really need to pray for a revival of morality because the future of the country depends on it.”
With so many Americans recognizing and concerned that the society is in moral decline, what can we do to begin righting the ship? McFarland urges Americans to get back to basics:
“First, pray. Be a part of a church, be a disciple. Champion the family. But (most importantly) role model good, godly behavior. Remember, not only are we to defend the faith, our lives are to be part of the evidence.”
Thankfully, we’re not left alone in the world to stumble into right and wrong decisions by accident or chance. God loves us enough to teach us, preserving an ultimate guide in His word. And when we get it wrong, which we all do, He stands ready to forgive.
Why morality matters
“This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:5-9