The following is excerpted from a recent Rome Reports article:
“A couple of recent books provide interesting insights into the current state of religion in the United States and what we can expect from those coming into adulthood.
The first, “FutureCast: What Today’s Trends Mean for Tomorrow’s World,” (Barna Books) is by George Barna, a prolific author who founded the Barna Research Group. Based on numerous surveys of public opinion, the book looks at where society is today on a range of social issues.
Three of the book’s chapters look at religious beliefs and practices. Religious self-identification has remained very stable, with 84% calling themselves Christians in 1991, compared to 85% in 2010. Nevertheless, Barna observed that many embrace the title without backing it up in practice. No less than 34% declared they did not know what makes anything morally right or wrong and some of them simply could not understand the questions on this matter.
For the others their responses were varied. Some thought morality was defined by what other people would think about someone. In varying degrees this criteria was cited by 40% of the overall group.
Others described the basis of morality as depending on whether something functionally improved people’s situations. Another determining factor for some was whether something will hurt other people.
In their conclusion to the chapter on morality the authors noted that emerging adults are poorly equipped to address the challenges of the present and the future and form a generation that has been failed when it comes to moral formation.
While caution needs to be taken in generalizing from opinion polls and surveys of small groups, the evidence in both books is nevertheless a stark reminder of the challenges facing churches and all those concerned about morality.
Get the entire article at Young People Evaluate Morals: OK vs Dumb
See our related commentary, Hubbard: Condoning the Failure Option.