CHARLOTTE, N.C.—A new Gallup poll is shedding light on some dismaying findings that Americans’ views on social issues are becoming more liberal.
Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-7, 2017, found that a “leftward movement in perceptions of what is morally acceptable has been ongoing,” with a shift in 13 of 19 issues over time. In another section of the same poll, Gallup found that just 24 percent believe the Bible is the literal word of God—the lowest in Gallup’s 40 years of asking Americans about their biblical beliefs.
On several key social issues, the Baptist Press reported, Americans responded in the most recent survey that it is morally acceptable to use birth control (91%), get divorced (73%), engage in opposite-sex sexual acts outside marriage (69%), engage in same-sex sexual acts (63%), have a baby outside of marriage (62%), commit physician-assisted suicide (57%), view pornography (36%) and practice polygamy (17%).
Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land said the Gallup findings on social issues and faith in the Bible’s validity are certainly linked.
“There’s been a marked movement left in everything except adultery,” Land said of the surveys. “Cheating on one’s husband or wife still remains taboo. But as more and more people view the Bible as a book of fables, we can see an increasing level of paganism of the United States. The Apostle Paul would recognize contemporary America because it looks a lot like ancient Rome and Corinth—except with modern conveniences.”
As Land noted, six of the 19 issues remained relatively unchanged: extramarital affairs (7% when first measured compared to 9% today), gambling (63% vs. 65%), birth control (89% vs. 91%), abortion (42% vs. 43%), cloning animals (31% vs. 32%) and buying or wearing animal fur clothing (60% vs. 57%). No issues in the survey showed meaningful change toward more traditionally conservative positions compared with when Gallup first measured them.
According to Gallup, fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,” similar to another quarter (26%) who view it as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”
“The precipitous decline in traditional Judeo-Christian morality on these social issues is directly related to the decline in belief in the Bible’s moral authority,” Land said. “Besides the shift left in these crucial social issues, the decrease in the belief in the Bible as the literal, authoritative Word of God is even more alarming. It says something alarming about our culture, when for the first time in 40 years, biblical skepticism has surpassed biblical literalism. We can hope that the half who fall in the middle, believing that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, stay true to that conviction and are even strengthened in their belief of the Bible.”
For 25 years, SES has been educating Christians about how to best defend their beliefs and recently announced the 24th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, where headline-making topics will be explored by expert speakers. One of the largest events of its kind, the timely theme for 2017 is “Pursuing a Faith That Thinks.” The conference is set for Oct. 13-14, 2017, at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C.
The conference will welcome the nation’s top apologists, who will give the thousands in attendance new presentations on studies, research, history and insight into apologetics and other intellectual, scientific and religious fields. In addition to Land and SES co-founder Norman Geisler, confirmed conference speakers include Richard Howe, Greg Koukl, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others.
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