A new Barna Group study says that moral absolutes are being replaced with a confused morality in America -- one which is not rooted in right or wrong, but swaying with changing norms and perceptions of society.
The group interviewed 1,000 participants around the country, and found that most Americans are concerned about the declining moral standards.
About 80 percent of all people surveyed were worried about new moral lows becoming pervasive in society. Practicing Christians (90 percent) were more concerned about the declining moral conditions than people of no faith (67 percent), and people of other faiths (72 percent).
However, many people were not aware of what comprises of an absolute morality, what it is based on, and what its origin is.
About 57 percent of Americans thought that morality is a matter of personal experience. Some 74 percent of Millennials agreed that "what works best for [them] is the only truth [they] can know." But only 31 percent strongly agreed to that idea. Almost 38 percent of elders agreed and 10 percent strongly agreed with it. Boomers (16 percent) and Gen-Xers (16 percent) were also less likely than Millennials to strongly agree with this perception of truth.
About 21 percent of the people said that they had not thought about this issue.
Christians (59 percent) were more likely than non-Christians (22 percent) to believe that there is a perfect morality.
Some 47 percent of Americans somewhat agreed that "every culture must determine what is acceptable morality for its people," but only 18 percent strongly agreed with it. This view (strong agreement) was more prevalent among Millennials (25 percent), than among Elders (16 percent), Boomers (14 percent), and Gen-Xers (16 percent).
Most Americans thought that culture is a determinant in setting moral norms, and a sizeable number (59 percent) also believes that the Bible guides individuals in the knowledge of perfect morality, without exception. As many as 83 percent of Christians agreed with this statement, a stark contrast to 28 percent of those with no faith who also agreed.
Barna President David Kinnaman writes in his book titled, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You're Irrelevant and Extreme, that both Christian and non-Christian Americans have become used to the ideology of self-gratification and self-satisfaction as the light to view the world.
"The highest good, according to our society, is 'finding yourself' and then living by 'what's right for you,'" Kinnaman notes. "There is a tremendous amount of individualism in today's society, and that's reflected in the Church, too."
He says that secular humanism that does not know or adhere to principles of God has penetrated the lives of Americans who do not spiritually abide by the Bible as their moral guide.
"Millions of Christians have grafted New Age dogma onto their spiritual person," Kinnaman added. "When we peel back the layers, we find that many Christians are using the way of Jesus to pursue the way of self ... While we wring our hands about secularism spreading through culture, a majority of churchgoing Christians have embraced corrupt, me-centered theology."