The End of Absolutes: America’s New Moral Code.


Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place—and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void. New research from Barna reveals growing concern about the moral condition of the nation, even as many American adults admit they are uncertain about how to determine right from wrong. So what do Americans believe? Is truth relative or absolute? And do Christians see truth and morality in radically different ways from the broader public, or are they equally influenced by the growing tide of secularism and religious skepticism?

Again with this “oh no, Christianity is on the very brink of extinction!” The hell it is. If that were the case, then why are constant attempts to legislate Christian bigotry happening every 5 bloody seconds? Why is there a never ending fight against Christian based hatred of this group, that group, every group but the Christian one? All this wailing and weeping over nothing.

While most American adults agree that culture plays some role in establishing moral norms, a majority also agrees “the Bible provides us with absolute moral truths which are the same for all people in all situations, without exception” (59%). There is broad agreement across age groups, which is surprising when one considers the notable generational differences on other questions related to morality. When it comes to faith groups, practicing Christians (83%), as one might expect, are much more likely to agree with the statement than others, especially those with no faith (28%). In fact, more than half of practicing Christians strongly agree (56%).

I am sick to death of Christian ‘morality’. There’s no such thing. What there is, is Christian hate. What passes for Christian morality is patriarchal privilege, sitting in judgment and ruling over every tiny aspect of others’ lives. If that patriarchal privilege is eroded even by the smallest amount, the wailing, weeping, gnashing of teeth, and panic sets in.

Americans are both concerned about the nation’s moral condition and confused about morality itself. As nominally Christian moral norms are discarded what, if anything, is taking their place? Barna’s research reveals the degree to which Americans pledge allegiance to the “morality of self-fulfillment,” a new moral code that, as David Kinnaman, President of Barna argues, has all but replaced Christianity as the culture’s moral norm.

Emphasis is mine. Once again, the fuck it has. Mr. Kinnaman, is the president of Barna, supposedly a non-partisan organization, who has written a book about faith and being a good Christian. So, we continue with the stream of melodramatic glurge from those who insist that Christianity is dying, slain by secularism.

The morality of self-fulfillment can be summed up in six guiding principles, as seen in the table below.


“The highest good, according to our society, is ‘finding yourself’ and then living by ‘what’s right for you,'” says David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group in Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme. “There is a tremendous amount of individualism in today’s society, and that’s reflected in the church too. Millions of Christians have grafted New Age dogma onto their spiritual person. When we peel back the layers, we find that many Christians are using the way of Jesus to pursue the way of self. . . . While we wring our hands about secularism spreading through culture, a majority of churchgoing Christians have embraced corrupt, me-centered theology.

There’s much more, including more graphs and charts, here.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    That last graph and last paragraph are wonderful. Christianity is dying, and the people it’s under attack from are… church-going Christians. That’s great.

  2. Kengi says

    Even within Christianity moral views have been a constantly shifting target for its entire existence over time. Is marriage a holy, sacred institution? Now, yes. Before the Reformation (and after for many decades in Protestantism) marriage was considered an earthly institution which the church shouldn’t be involved with.

    More recently we saw how the moral views towards miscegenation have changed in mainstream Christian denominations. Most Christians don’t know enough about their own history to understand just how relative Christian morals are. As usual for religions of any era or place, they reflect the majority social morals of the time and place. And, as usual for any cultural institution, the conservative factions fight against the social changes.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    From the Barna website:

    Barna Group provides spiritual influencers with credible knowledge and clear thinking, enabling them to navigate a complex and changing culture.


  4. says

    I am sick to death of Christian ‘morality’.

    It’s not just annoying, it’s immoral.*

    -- It’s based on straightforward authority with no moral reasoning behind it. Complying with the dictates of a god simply because of the power relationship between a puny human and a diety means that the diety is simply forcing its will upon its believers -- that’s not morality that’s subjection. If god gave an “opt out” plan or otherwise allowed consent, then, maybe, but as it is right now it’s as “moral” as the deal a slave-owner offers a slave.
    -- It’s based on collective punishment.
    -- It’s based on disproportionate punishment. Small transgressions allegedly are repaid with eternal torment. God is not moral.
    -- God does not explain the rationale behind its pronouncements, essentially saying “trust me” that the moral precepts it offers are correct. First off, that’s an immoral thing to do. Secondly, it’s an immoral proposition to accept.
    -- God offers the believer an unknown versus a known: life as we know it is sweet; if you dedicate your life to god you get rewards after your life is over. But all the evidence (and some thought) argues that that deal is a lie. What kind of morality does god have, to offer its adherents such a bizzare deal? Furthermore, taking god’s deal is (arguably) immoral becauise it amounts to getting an infinity of rewards in return for a very minor offering (your lip-service) -- would you think that a capitalist who got a trillion dollars just because they were born of a certain family was fair, or moral?
    -- God judges us all based on vague criteria. That’s not fair; it’s immoral.
    I could go on all day.

    (* I’m going to be casual and use moral language, which I normally like to avoid, for brevity)

  5. anat says

    What stupid questions (and answer choices). Mostly my answer is ‘depends’. I would criticize someone’s choice to become a mass murderer or to campaign against people’s rights. But personal choices for themselves -- who cares?

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    The Barna Group used to provide the most accurate and unbiased opinion surveys of US religious attitudes available, annotated with frank and reasonable commentary. Of all the Christian “leaders” out there, I have long held that George Barna was far and away the most honest.

    This Kinnaman person, so far, seems an utterly typical propagandist, about as trustworthy as Tony Perkins or Benny Hinn: an ant trying to fill Paul Bunyan’s shoes.

Leave a Reply