Aug 20, 2015
According to Barna Group’s The State of the Bible 2014, Americans are not ready to give up their Bibles. They just don’t read them much.
Is this rising illiteracy changing America? The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, yes and yes.
Frank Newport’s article, “Americans Continue to Shift Left on Key Moral Issues,” showcases a 2015 Gallup Poll on Values and Beliefs. When compared to a similar Gallup poll in 2001 the results suggest an increasing move away from Biblical morals.
- 68% believe sex between unmarried people is ok (53% in 2001)
- 61% believe having a baby outside of marriage is ok (45% in 2001)
- 71% believe divorce is acceptable (59% in 2001)
- 16% believe polygamy is acceptable (7% in 2001)
More people than ever before are identifying themselves as social liberals. But what does this mean to Americans in their daily lives? To family relationships and childhood?
Pew Research claims 41% of children are born to unmarried couples. Statistics indicate two thirds of these children are born to women under thirty. The same statistics report 49% of single moms never marry and 39.6% are poor and 51.9% are in extreme poverty. It concludes that 17.4 million children are fatherless.
Children in households with unmarried parents are not much better off. Data from the Census Bureau (childtrends.org) states that in 2014 there were 3.1 million such households compared to 1.2 million in 1996. These parents are less educated, have lower incomes and less stable employment compared to married parents.
The same source declares children from single/divorced households exhibit more behavior and emotional problems, lower grades, less self-control and experience “high levels of aggravated parenting.”
The Washington Times reported that crime is related to fatherlessness. Familyfacts.org not only backs up that claim with research but goes further to state that child abuse, adolescent delinquency, drug abuse and incarceration are all related to single parent homes. It adds that counties with large communities of single parents experience higher homicide rates.
I live in Michigan, a state that has three or four cities repeatedly on some most dangerous place to live list. These cities are not meccas for conservative Christians. These are liberal communities with liberal statistics.
You would think that all this liberty would breed happiness. But it brings poverty, crime, emotional distress and misery into the lives of young women, children, schools and the community.
And men are not off the hook either. In a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America– 70% of these deaths are white males. Most are between the ages of 15 and 34. For black males, the number of homicides is staggering:
- ages 15-19 47%
- ages 20-24 49.9%
- ages 25-34 33.5%
Is social liberalism producing moral decline? To answer, I would ask these questions: Is poverty, child abuse, child abandonment (fatherlessness) and murder moral? Is living life selfishly to the point of not thinking about consequences to other people moral?
It is generally believed that moral decline and the economic, health and family issues it produces has nothing to do with Biblical illiteracy. But statistics are pointing out that a lack of Biblical values do not culminate in successful lives. Concerned educators are scrambling to put together character lessons that equate to values education. For this to work, values cannot be defined by the individual. There has to be some authority where everyone is held to the same standard, not a shifting list of contrasting ideas.
And here is the divide. Skeptics would not promote the Bible as an authority. And here is where they are wrong. The Bible is not the record of a new religion started by a gifted teacher/prophet named Jesus. It is the words of the Creator to His people for living successful, abundant lives. It describes the starting point of all humanity, and it is an authority above all others.
How many people do not know that Jesus is present in Genesis– before man was created? That God hates divorce? What fornication is and what God says about it? That God said, “My people die for lack of knowledge?”
Too many it seems, and they pay a high price for it– rather Americans are paying a high price– in more taxes for social programs, unemployment and higher crime to name a few. Liberalism has its own trickle-down effect. In fact, poverty is rising right along with liberalism.
Barna Group’s State of the Bible 2014 also found that young people want to know the connection between the Bible and everyday matters like parenting, jobs and money. But knowing the connection and ignoring it or rejecting it bears a consequence. America is showing signs of the consequenses.
Proverbs 4:20-23 says, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen to my words. Never let them get away from you. Remember them and keep them in your heart. They will give life and health to anyone who understands them. Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (GNB)
Let us turn those thoughts to our Creator, God, dust off those Bibles and crack them open.
Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net: USA Written in Kid Letters by Stuart Miles
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