Friday, September 26, 2008

A New Moral Code

Watching TV, browsing the Internet, or simply paying attention as you walk around reveals that our culturally accepted standards of behavior have changed markedly over the past 50 years. Indeed, a recent Barna survey documents what we instinctively already knew: a major shift in moral standards is underway.

Researchers asked over 1000 adults which, if any, of eight behaviors, traditionally viewed as wrong by biblical standards, they had engaged in during the past week. Glaring differences were found between Baby Boomers (ages 44-62) and Mosaics (ages 18-24). Boomers have been guilty of challenging the morality of their parents. But, compared to Mosaics, Boomers would appear to be paragons of virtue. Mosaics were more than twice as likely as all other adults to engage in behavior that violates biblical morality.

The director of the survey concluded, “We are witnessing the development and acceptance of a new moral code in America.” Comparatively little exposure to traditional moral teaching, and limited accountability, have created an environment conducive to moral decay. “The result is that without much fanfare or visible leadership, the U.S. has created a moral system based on convenience, feelings, and selfishness.” Instead of consulting God’s revelation in the Bible, the trend is to decide what’s right based upon personal preference and circumstances.

The bottom line is that we face growing moral chaos. Where will it end? Scripture outlines the devastating price of ignoring God’s laws. In giving the Ten Commandments He warned of the intergenerational consequences of sin.

Apart from a spiritual revival, America faces a dark future. Parents and grandparents must rise to the occasion, recognizing the jeopardy faced by their progeny. A society consumed with the glory of sports and the luxuries of material prosperity faces disintegration. Parents must prioritize the spiritual training of their children. The hectic blur of activities typifying most families tends to reduce exposure to God’s truth to minimal, at best. A culture inevitably reaps the moral consequences of what it sows.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Death of Chivalry

One of the worse disasters in the history of public transportation was the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Over 1500 died that night in the icy waters of the Atlantic. Many of the dead were fathers who said a final good-bye to their beloved wives and children. Lesser-known is the fact that dozens of cabin boys, no older than 16, gave up their lifeboat seats to save women and children they did not even know.

Why would fathers and young men willingly forfeit the only means of being saved, for the sake of women and children? Because they were motivated by a spirit foreign to much of modern society, a spirit of self-sacrifice, of the strong helping the weak, that is rooted in the Bible.

Chivalry is defined as “the noble qualities a knight was supposed to have, such as courage, honor, and readiness to help the weak and protect women.” The gallant men on board the Titanic demonstrated these qualities.

Today such a spirit has been squelched by the effort to bring equality to the relationship of the sexes in every dimension of life. The elements of society that proposed the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment” ultimately undermine the welfare of the weaker members. Thankfully, a sufficiently large minority of state legislatures rejected the ERA, after it was approved by Congress. But the same legislation has been reintroduced every year since 1982.

Scripture requires husbands to honor and protect their wives as the weaker sex. By extension, this principle applies to all of society, as illustrated by the sacrifice of men on the Titanic. Those who refuse to acknowledge the reality of more delicate members likewise destroy the basis for preferential treatment. In a world governed by the spirit of the ERA, it would be every man for himself, trampling the weaker in the struggle for self-preservation. A Christian spirit recognizes and protects the more vulnerable.