Truth Crisis Threatens Churches' Future, Report Warns
by Andy Butcher, CHARISMA NEWS SERVICE, Tue, Feb 12, 2002, Vol. 3 No. 225

DITC Note: It is interesting that this information is presented in Charisma New Service, a division of Charisma Magazine.  Charisma is a major promoter of the Third Wave and Word Faith movements, which are the main teachers of relativism and feelings based decision making.

Believers reject moral absolutes for 'what feels right'

It's not only the world that no longer believes in right and wrong - acceptance of absolute truth is fast disappearing in the church, too. Almost as many Christians are likely to base their moral decisions on what they feel rather than what the Word teaches, according to a new survey.

Leading Christian researcher George Barna has warned of a growing crisis if churches fail to address the drift. "When a majority of Christian well as three out of four born again teens proudly cast their vote for moral relativism, the Church is in trouble," he said.

"Continuing to preach more sermons, teach more Sunday school classes and enroll more people in Bible study groups won't solve the problem since most of these people don't accept the basis of the principles being taught in those venues," he commented.

"The failure to address this issue at its root, and to do so quickly and persuasively, will undermine the strength of the church for at least another generation, and probably longer."

Barna spoke on the release of a report by his Barna Research Group (BRG). It revealed that among all adults, only 22 percent believed in moral absolutes, while 64 percent thought truth was always relative to the person concerned and their situation. Among interviewees identified as being born again, just 32 percent believed in moral absolutes.

The picture was even gloomier among teen-agers questioned in a parallel inquiry. Eighty-three percent of all teens thought moral truth depended on the circumstances, with just 6 percent believing in absolute truth. Only 9 percent of teens identified as being born again accepted the idea of absolute truth, compared with 4 percent of other teens.

Barna said that the "alarmingly fast decline" of moral foundations among young people had culminated in "a one-word worldview: 'whatever.' The result is a mentality that esteems pluralism, relativism, tolerance and diversity without critical reflection of the implications of particular views and actions."

Christian parents, educators and church leaders need to make the loss of truth a matter of priority if Christians hope to have "any distinctiveness in our culture," he said. "The virtual disappearance of this cornerstone of the Christian faith - that is, God has communicated a series of moral principles in the Bible that are meant to be the basis of our thoughts and actions, regardless of our preferences, feeling or situations - is probably the best indicator of the waning strength of the Christian church in America today."

The BRG study found moral relativism increasing down through the generations. Sixty percent of adults aged 36 and older did not accept absolutes, while 75 percent of those aged 18 to 35 rejected their existence.

Researchers also discovered racial differences. Among white adults, 60 percent embraced relativism and 26 accepted absolutism, while among non-white adults the percentages were 74 and 15 respectively. Fifteen percent of Hispanic adults and 10 percent of African American adults said that moral truth was absolute.

Thirteen percent of those interviewed, and 26 percent of those who were born again, based their ethical and moral decision-making on the Bible. The most common grounds cited for decision-making by both adults and teens was "whatever feels right or comfortable."