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A new study finds that less than a third of Americans think the Bible should be the basis for determining right and wrong, even as most people express support for traditional moral values.

The fourth installment of the America’s Values ​​study, released Tuesday by the Center for Cultural Research at Arizona Christian University, asked respondents what they thought of traditional moral values ​​and what they would like to see as “America’s foundation for determining good and evil”. The survey is based on responses from 2,275 U.S. adults collected in July 2022.

Overall, when asked to identify what they consider to be the primary determinant of right and wrong in the United States, a plurality of participants (42%) responded, “How do you feel in your heart”. A further 29% cited majority rule as a desired method of determining right and wrong, while only 29% expressed a belief that the principles set forth in the Bible should determine the understanding of right and wrong in the United States . This figure rose to 66% among conservative Christians who are spiritually active and engaged in governance.

The only other demographic subgroups where at least a plurality of respondents indicated a desire for the Bible to serve as a determinant of right and wrong in the United States were respondents who attend an evangelical church (62%), self-declared Republicans ( 57%), theologically defined born-again Christians (54%), self-identified conservatives (49%), those at least 50 years old (39%), members of all Protestant congregations (39%), self-identified Christians (38%) and those who attend mainstream Protestant churches (36%).

In contrast, an absolute majority of respondents who do not identify with any particular religion at all (53%), as well as half of LGBT respondents (50%), self-proclaimed moderates (47%), political independents (47 %), Democrats (46%), self-described liberals (46%) and Catholic Church participants (46%) argued that “what you feel in your heart” should form the basis of what Americans regard as good and bad.

A significant number of adherents of a religion other than Christianity (45%) and respondents who identified as both Republican and moderate (38%) said the same, as did a plurality of Americans aged 18 to 29 years old (47%) and 30 to 30 years old. 49 (44%). The view that “what you feel in your heart” should form the basis of what Americans called right and wrong spanned all racial demographics, both sexes, and all marital statuses. .

The report found that 71% of respondents indicated support for “traditional moral values” of integrity, justice, kindness, non-discrimination, reliability, freedom of speech, ownership, expression individual and self-control. A majority of those who identified as liberal on social and political issues (52%) supported traditional moral values, compared to 70% of respondents who ranked as moderate on these issues and 89% of self-described conservatives on social issues. social and political issues.

The overwhelming majority of Christians expressed support for traditional moral values ​​(82%), followed by smaller proportions of non-Christians (67%) and those with no particular faith (50%). A strong majority of respondents who believe the Bible is the true word of God hold traditional moral values ​​(83%), along with 63% of those who do not view the Bible as the true and accurate word of God.

Ninety-one percent of adults who identify the Bible as their source of moral guidance espouse traditional moral values, as do 74% of those who primarily seek moral guidance from society, 71% of respondents who rely on their family as the main source of moral advice. advice, 67% of those who look to themselves for such advice, and 50% of those who cite science as their source of morality.

Support for traditional moral values ​​also extended to all age groups. However, support for traditional moral values ​​was measured at 76% among those aged 30 and over and only 56% among respondents aged 18-29.

“Three-quarters of Americans hold that people are basically good, and less than half of all Americans believe in God or that the Bible is the true, relevant, and reliable word of God to mankind,” said George Barna , director of research at the Cultural Research Center, in response to the survey results.

“As a result, Americans have become comfortable with the idea of ​​being the arbiters of morality. In the same way that most Americans maintain that there is no absolute moral truth, they believe now that there is no divine guidance required or even available to define right and wrong,” Barna said, lamenting that most Americans “are now more likely to make their decision based on the moral cues of laws and government policies than church teachings on biblical principles.

He added, “Americans have always said that when they elect a president, they elect a president, they elect a chief executive, not a chief pastor, but that distinction seems outdated. It could reasonably be argued that the nation’s ideas of good and evil are now more likely to come from the White House and the halls of Congress than from our houses of worship.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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