Welcome To The 'New Morality' - Dramatic Worldview Shift In Americans

News Image By Sarah Holliday/Washington Stand June 06, 2024
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In the "American Worldview Inventory 2024" (AWVI), George Barna, the director of Research at Arizona Christian University's Cultural Research Center, explained our country's "40-year drop in biblical worldview." He described an increasingly prominent shift in society, which Barna attributes to "the new morality" sweeping over all sectors of life. 

Barna, who also serves as a senior fellow at Family Research Council, highlighted that within five generations, "the national incidence of adults holding a biblical worldview has plummeted from 12% to today's 4% level" -- a number expected to drop to 2% within the next 15 years.

According to the inventory data, 2024 shows "a dramatic shift in morals." For instance, the majority of adults hold that issues such as lying, abortion, gay marriage, "and the rejection of absolute moral truth" are "morally acceptable." Additionally, "Less than half of all adults embrace the Bible as their primary guide to morality." As the study made clear, "Millennials have proven to be social disruptors, reshaping the moral belief and behavior norms established by Boomers and Busters [Gen X]." And Gen Z has merely followed in their footsteps.

The research also revealed "young adults tend to form their worldview primarily through feelings and personal experiences, rather than logic and facts." And over the years, AWVI noted, there have been notable increases of divorce, crime, war, terrorism, bullying, pedophilia, and child trafficking, which inevitably affects younger generations who have lived with these things as a "part of their life's narrative" shaping the way they view right and wrong.

Drawing his own conclusions from the report on Friday's episode of "Washington Watch," David Closson, FRC's director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, agreed with Barna that the term "new morality" is an "appropriate way" to describe current societal circumstances. "There really is a new morality that is guiding the American public," he said, "and I think what we can trace this to is that there has been a tectonic shift in the animating worldview that drives American adults."

He went on to explain that what these studies show is "that increasingly ... Generation Z holds to beliefs and attitudes that are more out of step with Scripture than even the previous generation." Closson compared some statistics to better convey this idea. "When you look at the Baby Boomer generation today," he said, "60% ... broadly accept abortion. And when you look at the millennial and Gen Z generations, it goes up to over 70%." Additionally, 60% of Baby Boomers and 70% of Gen Z believe it's "morally acceptable" to have "consensual sex amongst unmarried adults."

Evidently, "the shift in worldview is affecting our morality, and it's ultimately showing up in how we look at policy and politics," Closson stated. Guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice agreed. He added that "politics is just a reflection of the society and the culture as a whole," pointing out the same is true for individual members of Congress.

"They literally represent every single district across the country," Hice explained. And so, "you look at the way that they act, the way they vote, the things they say, the things they do, the backstabbing ... and you understand this is just a reflection of our country." He lamented, "It seems like in every category there's a decline ... in biblical worldview." Why is this the case?

According to Closson, the culture being both historically and biblically "illiterate" plays a major role. He said the low number of people with a biblical worldview, the 4%, is not something that "happens overnight." He further emphasized that the last few decades have "seen Christianity lose ... the respectability that it once had -- the influence that it once had. We've seen that previous adult generations have really dropped the ball when it comes to discipleship and catechizing their children."

A noteworthy statistic Closson highlighted to help elaborate the root of this issue is that 55% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z believe "it's morally acceptable to engage in any behavior so long as it doesn't harm anybody." And what exactly does this reveal? According to Closson, "It shows that there's no understanding of absolute moral truth. There's no understanding that there really is an objective right and an objective wrong."

Considering this, Hice asked how those who do hold a biblical worldview can combat these statistics -- a question first tackled by Barna's report.

Ultimately, the report concluded these results "can be a source of both hope and despair." While America is "witnessing the destruction of biblical morality," Barna, who directed the research project, emphasized there's still hope "to form a nation of people who are kinder, more compassionate and understanding, generous, and have reasonable hope for the future." This hope, he asserted, is fueled by what he referred to as "Integrated Disciples."

Closson explained that an Integrated Disciple describes someone "who takes the Bible seriously." He continued, "They not only believe the teachings of Scripture, but ... they live those out. When the Bible gives us teachings and principles, an Integrated Disciple ... is one who has internalized that, and their values, their lifestyles, and their decision making consistently goes through that biblical filter." Notably, Closson urged, "these Integrated Disciples ... are the most happy and most fulfilled people in our society."

And as such, Barna concluded, "Their attitudes, values, lifestyles, and level of hope is unlike anything else I see on the national landscape. We learn best by modeling ourselves after those who have figured out what we are questioning. Integrated Disciples appear to be viable role models for the life that millions of Americans have found elusive."

Originally published at The Washington Stand

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