Most people are concerned with the rise in crime, drug use, and suicide among our youth. Many have been led to believe that government supported programs such as DARE will help reduce this trend. However, studies have shown that there is no long term significant difference in the behavior of children who have been through these types of programs.1 Religion also seems to have little effect on children’s behavior. A scientific survey showed that the behavior of churched youth is appallingly similar to that of unchurched youth. Almost all of the youth in this survey professed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, regularly read the Bible, and attended weekly youth group meetings. Yet 66% stated that they had recently lied, 36% had cheated on exams, 10% had been drunk or used drugs in the last 3 months, and 55% had engaged in sexual activity by age 18 (1994 Church Youth Survey, George Barna Research Group).
Parents who wish their children to have an unshakable moral foundation cannot rely on church attendance to provide it. So what is the solution? Allan Bloom provides the clue in his book, The Closing of the American Mind. He states that, “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” We are destabilized by a shift in thinking where the basis for morals has moved from an acknowledgment that absolute truth exists to the shifting sands of tolerance and relativism.
Absolute truth exists because God exists. An absolute truth is something which is true for all times, for all people, and under all circumstances. It is not true because it is convenient or expedient. Absolute truth is a reflection of the One who made the universe. Too many people do not realize the extent to which they have accepted the cultural dance with relativism. It is time to quit blaming society, the media, the schools, or peers for the attitudes and behavior of our children. It is time to look in the mirror and honestly assess the model we set for our children.
Jesus Christ stated that He is truth. This is not a conditional statement, and we are commanded to live by this absolute. Do we cheat on taxes, ignore speed limits, bring home items from work, not give our full effort to our employer? If so, why are we surprised when our children choose to be less than honest or honorable in other areas? Do we justify lies in order to avoid consequences? If so, why expect our children to be honest.
God is pure. Do we entertain ourselves with talk shows, dirty jokes, and the moral raw sewage emanating from TV and movies? Why should we expect our children to remain sexually pure? Do we deal with stress using alcohol, cigarettes, or legal drugs? Why shouldn’t we expect our children to do the same with illegal drugs?
Absolute moral truth is like a plateau surrounded by a steep slippery slope. Once you are willing to step off the plateau, you will slide down the slope until you put in a stake to keep from sliding further. We often deceive ourselves into believing that our stake is the correct moral standard. Why are we surprised when our children slide further down the slippery slope before putting their stake in at a lower moral level?
Jesus stated, “I did not come to abolish (God’s moral) law, but to fulfill it.” How tragic that our actions reveal a rejection of absolute truth. If we expect our children to abstain from substance abuse and sexual sin, we must be willing to model the straight and narrow path that should characterize Christianity.
1. Both a 1991 Kentucky Study and a 1990 Canadian government study showed no significant difference in student drug use after DARE.