In this age of increased relativism, it’s abundantly clear many Americans no longer see the nuclear family — and their elders — as the moral authority in their lives.
Over the summer, Gallup released a survey showing a record 50% of Americans now rate the country’s moral values as “poor” and a stunning 78% say they are “getting worse.” Those numbers are hardly a surprise to “I Will Survive” singer Gloria Gaynor, who recently shared on “The Prodigal Stories Podcast” her theory on the moral decline of the country.
A recent study from researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau and Harvard University found eight-in-10 young adults ultimately move back to within 10 miles of where they grew up, but the geographical closeness doesn’t always seem to equal moral camaraderie.
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Rather than relying on their elders, young Americans are calibrating their proverbial moral compasses based on social media, school, and their friends.
“We’re not around the elders in our families,” said Gaynor. “Someone said to me, ‘The problem with this country is we don’t have anymore grandmas.’ Yeah, we do have grandmas. You can’t have children without grandmas, but they’re not with the family anymore. So they’re not sharing the morals and the backbone of the family, which were the morals and the things that we lived by.”
“They’re getting them from social media, they’re getting them from their friends, they’re getting them from school, from their telephones — instead of getting them from the people who love them, people who care about them, and, most of all, the one who cares about them and their mothers and fathers and grandmothers most of all, [the Lord],” she continued.
The backdrop for all of this, of course, is the rise in the religiously unaffiliated.
As CBN News reported over the summer, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians is dropping precipitously. In 2021, a survey from the Pew Research Center found self-identified Christians make up 63% of the U.S. population, a 10-point drop from just a decade prior. In as many years, the number of religious “nones” — those not affiliated with any belief system — has nearly quadrupled, according to Pew researcher Gregory Smith.
The religiously unaffiliated now make up about 29% of Americans, and that number is expected to continue growing.
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Certainly discouragement over life’s myriad trials and tribulations has contributed to many Americans’ decision to walk away from what they believe. Gaynor, who was miraculously led to Christ during a party in 1984, has faced her own difficulties, including a severe bout of osteoarthritis.
Rather than wallow in discouragement, though, Gaynor rested in God’s faithfulness in spite of suffering.
“He is faithful,” the singer-songwriter said. “He has shown me such faithfulness. My favorite hymn is ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness.’ … My mother used to always say, ‘God answers every prayer, it’s just sometimes He says, ‘No.””
“What we struggle with — since we have access to so much knowledge and so much information — we’ve gotten to the point where we either think we know everything or anything that we don’t know and want to know is at our fingertips. … But we don’t know the heart and mind of God and so, because of that, we make up stuff that we think He’s thinking, or that He doesn’t care about us, or that He doesn’t exist at all, or that He wants us to go in a direction that [we] don’t want to go.”
“But the truth is He loves you with an undying, unchanging, unconditional love,” she added. “So again, we need the family to stay together. We really do need that. … The world has gotten so small, but without being taught to respect our elders, respect their — not only their wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, but their experience. There is very, very little that we’re gonna go through that they haven’t been through.”
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