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Tracking the Trends in 2013

In general, my impression of our nation is that it is in moral and spiritual decline. Of course, I am not under any illusion that this world can be a sinless utopia, for the Scriptures tell us that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1John 5:19).  However, I believe that our nation should be better than it is and that it has seen better days.  Sadly, the better days appear to be behind us.  This moral decline has been a progressive, evolutionary process rather than a sudden revolution.  The "evil one" is slow and steady in his work so that the damage is hardly noticed.

A new Harris poll released on December 16, 2013, confirms my impression.  It shows relatively small changes in the beliefs of Americans over the last few years, but all of the changes are for the worse.  The trend in moral and spiritual matters is overwhelmingly away from biblical beliefs.  Consider some of the results of this poll:

  • 74% of Americans believe in God      versus 82% in 2009.
  • 68% believe that Jesus is the Son      of God versus 72% in 2009.
  • 65% believe that Jesus was raised      from the dead versus 70% in 2009.
  • 57% believe in the virgin birth of      Jesus versus 61% in 2009.
  • 49% believe that the Old Testament      is the word of God versus 55% in 2008.
  • 48% believe that the New Testament      is the word of God versus 54% in 2008.
  • 64% believe in the survival of the      soul after death versus 71% in 2009.
  • 36% believe      in creation versus 40% in 2009.

Other results show an increase in unbiblical beliefs and practices.  Notice a few examples:

  • 16% are certain there is no God      versus 13% in 2009.
  • 47% believe in evolution versus 45%      in 2009.
  • 29% believe in astrology versus 26%      in 2009.
  • 26% believe in witchcraft versus      23% in 2009.
  • 24% believe in reincarnation versus      20% in 2009.
  • 23% are not      religious at all versus 15% in 2009.

What are we to make of these numbers?  First, let us pray for our nation and recall God's words concerning Israel from 2Chronicles 7:14, where He said that if His people "humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  Perhaps He will grant repentance to our nation and heal our land as well.

Next, we need to understand how this moral and spiritual decline has occurred.  Quite simply, it is a matter of teaching and influence.  These trends are no surprise considering that the minds of our citizens are fed a steady diet of godlessness through many different avenues -- television, internet, music, governmental institutions, educational institutions, and more.  Knowing this, we should have two reactions.  The first is to protect ourselves, our families, and the church from godless influences as much as possible.  The second is to work to offset these false messages with the truth of God's word.  Let us commit ourselves to constant study and application of the Bible.  No single Christian can reverse these trends alone, but each one of us can build his own faith and also influence someone else for good.

These trends are bad news, but do not be discouraged.  Consider Paul's words in 2Timothy 3:13-14:

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them.

"Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar" (Rom. 3:4).  We do not follow the trends of men, but we follow God, who does not change (Heb. 13:8; Jas. 1:17).  His promises are immutable, and even if men "are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2Tim. 2:13).  Therefore, let us stand with God even as the world around us turns away from Him.

Stacey E. Durham

Harris Poll: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1353/Default.aspx



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