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Survey: Departure from God is Cause of America's Moral Decline
Thirty-one percent of the public is Orthodox - America's most religiously observant people who consider deep religious faith to be the most essential ingredient for living a good and moral life. Progressives - those who advocate a secularized approach to private and public life and reject the notion that living a moral life requires deep religious beliefs - accounted for 17 percent of the public. And 46 percent of the public are Independents - those whose guiding principle is neither religious revelation nor secular ideology. Independents view religious beliefs as just one of many ingredients needed to live a moral life.
With that, a major finding in the study showed that the majority of Americans, from the Orthodox to the Independents, say they believe the moral values in America are weaker than they were 20 years ago. Overall, 74 percent said so. Nearly half went further to say moral values today are much weaker.
Most Americans attribute the media to the moral decline. The National Cultural Values Survey found that 68 percent of Americans say the media - entertainment and news - are having a detrimental effect on moral values in America. Moreover, 74 percent who believe moral values are weaker consider the media to be the second greatest influence on moral values after parents and families.
Crumbling personal and societal sexual moral standards may also account for the significant moral decline. Survey results revealed that 16 percent say sex between unmarried adults is never wrong; 49 percent more say it depends on the situation; and 65 percent say they will excuse sex outside marriage. Additionally, 45 percent say divorce should be legal for any reason at any time.
Only 67 percent believe premarital sex among high school kids is always wrong. On the controversial issue of gays and lesbians, only 49 percent think homosexuality is wrong. While 14 percent say homosexuality is right, 26 percent say it depends on the situation.
Also, 51 percent describe themselves as "pro-choice" and eight percent believe abortion is "morally right."
Another major finding is that America is losing its fear of God.
"America no longer enjoys cultural consensus on God, religion, and what constitutes right and wrong," stated the report.
According to the survey, 87 percent of Americans say they believe in God and 52 percent say they believe the Bible is God's authoritative word. But only 36 percent believe people should live by God's principles; 15 percent say they will live by their own principles even if they conflict with God's principles; and 45 percent prefer to combine God's teachings and their own values.
More specifically, 53 percent are willing to tolerate physician-assisted suicide; 28 percent are willing to exclude religious principles from government simply because the principles are religious in origin and an additional 35 percent will exclude religious principles from government on certain issues; and regular churchgoing has dipped below 50 percent among American adults.
"Based on the survey data, departure from God’s morality is the cause of America’s widely perceived cultural decline," stated the report. "Reversing America’s moral decline will require a renewed acceptance of Orthodox values, which implies increased acceptance of God’s authority."
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