M. Scott Peck says the human tendency to avoid responsibility is at the root of many psychological problems. To a large extent, I agree. And it’s part and parcel to our spiritual illness as well. It has been from the start: “The woman You put here with me; she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
But what happens when it’s not just a person who displays this tendency? What happens when an entire society refuses to see its ethical failings as being something to take responsibility for and to correct?
A recent article from the AP (here) indicates that according to a study by the Josephson Institute, students are unwilling to deal with the ethical problems they have. They confess the problems, but evidently, they just don’t care about them. The article states:
In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.
While the people surveyed are not necessarily less honest than previous generations, I think there is a new acceptance of dishonesty. Could this be because we’ve taught one another that there is no “right” or “wrong” and that it’s inappropriate to make value judgments on another’s behavior? Do we find ourselves in a society that denies its ethical failings and finds itself consumed by moral chaos?
It’s like a group of people on a cruise, seeing the ship go down, watching the waves lap onto the deck, holding their glasses high and saying, “Everyone’s good here!”
What a great opportunity this is for those who believe there are timeless moral standards beyond those derived from popular and personal opinion. In a world where the ship is sinking, Christians can seize the day and throw a life-line to those drowning in a sea of relativism.