Americans are confused about some moral issues – and born-again Christians fared only a bit better in the most recent poll from George Barna.
The American Culture & Faith Institute asked a representative sampling of a thousand people their opinion about eight family-related moral behaviors. Five of the eight behaviors, according to the survey, were deemed "acceptable" by a majority of those surveyed: using pills or medical devices for birth control (86%), getting a divorce (77%), engaging in sex outside of marriage (71%), having a baby out of wedlock (69%), and intentionally viewing pornography (58%).
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will."
(Romans 12:2, NIV)
ACFI executive director and pollster George Barna laments that "a lot of these things ... are traditionally thought of as being immoral behaviors, based on biblical guidelines – [but] now substantial majorities of the American population embrace these particular behaviors."
Americans are fairly evenly split on the "acceptability" of abortion (48%), and minorities are okay with polygamy (28%) and bullying (23%).
Born-again believers surveyed by ACFI scored an average of 22 points less supportive of seven of the eight immoral behaviors – the one for which there was consensus was the use of birth control.
"However, at the same time we also found that majorities of even the born-again group accept things like divorce [66%], having a baby without being married [54%], sexual intercourse between unmarried adults [51%]," Barna adds. "Shockingly enough, four out of ten born-again adults [38%] say that they believe that intentionally viewing pornography is morally acceptable."
Which Barna suggests seems to indicate that many Christians don't know what the Bible teaches about sex and marriage. "I think what we see is a combination of ignorance and disobedience – willful disobedience," he tells OneNewsNow.
One of the demographic groups Barna regularly taps into is what he calls "SAGE Cons" (spiritually active, governance engaged conservatives). That group, says ACFI, was "much less likely than any other political segment" to approve of six of the eight behaviors assessed in this survey. For example, less than 10% approved of polygamy or bullying; only one-eighth approved of intentionally viewing porn or having an abortion; and roughly one-fourth approved of sex outside of marriage or having a child out of wedlock.