By Jim Ward
The following appeared in the San Antonio Light (11/ 14/92), titled “Student cheating widespread.”
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) High school and college students today are replacing the three R’s with the three Ds: dishonesty, deceit, duplicity.
That’s the conclusion of a two-year nationwide study on ethics that found widespread admittance of lying, theft and cheating among 9,000 people aged 15-30… .
“Clearly the youth of today didn’t invent cheating, stealing and lying, but they’re perfecting it,” said Ralph Wexler, vice president of the non-profit Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics, which conducted the study.
Wexler placed much of the blame on society at large for any increase in dishonest, irresponsible conduct.” . . we’re creating a society where cheaters do prosper and we can’t tell them, honestly, that honesty is the best policy….”
The report also found:
One-third of all high school students and 16 percent of the college admitted stealing something within the past year.
More than a third said they would lie on a resume or job application to get work. Six-
teen percent of the high schoolers and 18 percent of the college students said they had already done so.
Sixty-one percent of the high school students and 32 percent of the collegians said they had cheated on an exam during the past year.
1. This piece is not meant to indict all high school and college students. I salute the many young men and women who resist the prevailing moral winds.
However, studies such as the one cited above do indicate a serious state of ethical decay in our country. Especially when coupled with our own observations of violence, political corruption, sexual immorality, filthy language, etc.
I believe we are reaping what we have sown. For decades leaders in education and other fields have preached the doctrine of relativism. Right and wrong are not absolutes, but are determined by varying situations. Why shouldn’t we do almost anything that produces a desirable result? Why not lie on a job application?
2. We mustn’t “follow a multitude to idol evil” (Exod. 23:1). It is easy to sway to the wishes of the crowd. But “it is not for man to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Proverbs warns, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them” (1:10).
It may be a cliché, but it is still true that numbers do not determine truth. Also we must avoid the delusion that the crowd has escaped the judgment of God. Men have been making that mistake for ages now (I Pet. 3:3-10).
3. Morality is not mere policy. We must be honest because it is right, not because it is smart or advantageous. Paul said, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:I). This, despite the fact that disobedience to parents was a prevalent sin in those days (Rom. 1:30).
Even though God commands us to obey civil ordinances (1 Pet. 2:130, it sometimes seems expedient to ignore them, doesn’t it? After all, when it’s “safe,” why shouldn’t we run that stop sign or exceed the speed limit and gain the advantage of a little time?
This is precisely the way many reason about adultery, abortion and other sins. It’s my business; no one else is going to get hurt, so why not?
I’m afraid we will continue to reap the whirlwind (Hos. 7:8) until we get back to biblical morality and let God guide our steps.
“For decades leaders in education and other fields have preached the doctrine of relativism, Right and wrong are not absolutes, but are determined by varying situations. Why shouldn’t we do almost anything that produces a desirable result?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 24, p. 9
December 16, 1993