Research from recent years shows concern from a majority of Americans about moral decline in our nation. Of course, we cannot address issues of morality without defining right and wrong. Those of us who believe that truth is absolute have a different view of morality than those who think truth is relative. But my biggest concern is the growing generational divide confirmed by the research.
For instance, you’re more likely to say that right and wrong never change if you’re older than 45, even if you’re not a professing Christian. If you’re younger than 35, however, then making that claim definitely lands you in the minority. “That’s a huge shift between generations,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. He went on to say, “Older Americans grew up at time when ideas about morality were more stable. That’s no longer true for younger Americans.”
Regarding truth as relative affects everything.
By denying absolute truth, societal perceptions of individual rights and identity morph over time. Once a new perception becomes mainstream thought it impacts both the making and interpretation of laws. As a result, moral standards that were accepted by society at large a generation ago are now completely rejected in many areas of the country. We already see this happening through the promotion of gender identity. For example, California healthcare workers who do not use a patient’s preferred gender pronoun can actually face prison time.
The Bible does not go out-of-date as cultural preferences change.
Jesus made it clear in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and hell will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” As His followers, we know that Jesus “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:5). Since He is still “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6), then His Word still has authority to direct our thoughts and behavior. Of course, the absolute truth of Scripture creates moral absolutes, which the world views as restrictive. In reality, it’s the opposite. “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).
Our country is not at a tipping point, but rather a taking point.
Progressive liberalism is taking America and the process accelerates with every generation. This growing generational divide is sobering in light of Jesus’ warning that children and parents will rise up against one another because of His name (Matthew 10:21-22). As attitudes about truth continue to change, allegiances will also change. The challenge for younger believers is to actively guard their minds against the onslaught of progressive thinking, some of which is invading the American Church.
How can we help next generation believers?
Millennial and iGeneration Christians with a biblical worldview are well aware of holding minority beliefs among their peers. We cannot imagine the world they will inherit, but we can help them by demonstrating how to live out the absolute truths of God’s Word. Of course, that means investing our time. It may mean volunteering to teach children or students in your church; or committing to a mentor relationship with a younger adult or couple. If you’re concerned about the moral decline in our country, will you accept the challenge to actively encourage and disciple younger Christians? Your decision might just slow the growing generational divide.