Christians, connected to the true Vine, can show the better way, loving our neighbors (even when we are hated) and loving truth. In a world starving for the right values, God gives our lives true value. The world is valuable because God created it and Christ died to save it. May God grant us the courage to live like this is true.
A recent survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal and The University of Chicago found that Americans are, in huge numbers, pulling back from the values that once defined them. Over the last 25 years, the percentage of Americans who described “Patriotism” as either “important” or “very important” fell from 70% to 38%. Those who valued “Religion” fell from 62% to 39%, “Having Children” from 59% to 30%, and “Community Involvement” from 47% to 27%. Even the percentage of Americans valuing “Tolerance for Others” dropped from 80% to just 58%. Only one value out of ten listed increased: “Money,” from 31% to 43%.
Bill McInturff is an expert involved with previous iterations of this survey. He told The Wall Street Journal, “Perhaps the toll of our political division, Covid and the lowest economic confidence in decades is having a startling effect on our core values.’’ While economic affairs affect what people consider to be important, this is reversing the proverbial cart and horse. Corrupt societies can be prosperous, but only for a time. Eventually, low trust, rampant injustice, and civic division have consequences. Throughout history, economic crisis has not created a moral vacuum: It reveals it.
If there is no moral design to reality, or for humanity in particular, what people value is inconsequential. In such a world, there is nothing to be pursued outside of individual expression, which is assumed to lead to happiness and human flourishing. Who cares if people do not value communities, countries, or tolerance? It is the inherent determination of individuals, the pursuit of what they want the most, that will inevitably guide them. We can only follow our own impulses and desires.