Where Have The Morals Gone?

By Michael Garrison

Webster defines morals as “relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between, right and wrong in conduct.” An article by David Schoenbrun in Parade Magazine (Dec. 6, 1987) contrasted life in the 1950s and life in the 1980s. Some of the statistics Mr. Schoenbrun reports were most interesting and point out a difference, I think, in the morality of the ’50s and the ’80s. (Note: Quotes and statistics quoted in this article are used by permission of Parade, copyright 1987, m1g.)

For example: Mr. Schoenbrun points out that births out-side of the marriage relationship in the 1980s account for 22 percent of births! On the other hand, births outside the marriage in the ’50s was only 4.5 percent! This shows a huge difference. The reason? The morals of the ’50s were more in line with the Bible and the morals now are in line with humanistic ideas.

The Bible teaches, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). This is what most people in the ’50s believed and followed. Now, most people follow another “Moral” code. This code says, “. . . neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered ‘evil'” (Humanist Manifesto II, p. 18.) Actually, this is an immoral code, because it does not recognize any sexual activities as “wrong” or “evil.” No wonder the ’80s see so many births outside of marriage. When the moral code God has given is rejected, anything goes!

Mr. Schoenbrun also points out a difference in the divorce rate in the ’50s and the ’80s. The divorce rate in 1984 was 5 per 1000 people. But, in 1957, it was 2.2 per 1000. Why? Again, the moral ideas of people have changed. Most people in the 1950s recognized, “For the Lord . . . hateth putting away” (Mal. 2:16). They also believed that “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matt. 5:32). The humanist code, not recognizing right and wrong says, “In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to . . . divorce should be recognized” (Humanist Manifesto II, p. 18). This reminds me of Judges 17:6: “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This is what happens when God’s moral standard is left behind and people do what they want to. The more humanism had made headway, the more wrong and immoral conduct has been seen.

Mr. Schoenbrun also points out that in 1986, most professional jobs were held by women, whereas in 1957, only 35 percent of women had out-of-the-home jobs. Why? Most women in the ’50s were taught God’s truth, that they are “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers (or workers) at home, good, obedient to their own husbands” – then note this – “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Tit. 2:4-5). When this God-given moral code was rejected, women began leaving their God given roles and followed their own desires. After all, don’t they have to help pay for all the luxuries (not necessities) this present world offers? After all, the Humanist Manifesto Il says they believe “. . . individuals should be permitted to . . . pursue their lifestyle as they desire” (p. 18). This leaves God and his moral standard out of the picture! Then their children come home from school to an empty house and have no supervision for hours to do what they want to do and later on, once the children have gotten into some trouble or been caught with various drugs, the parents will ask, “Where did we go wrong? Didn’t we provide everything they needed?” All but love and care as God directs in his Word!

A little – very little – progress is being made by researchers on AIDS. As AIDS spreads from the homosexual community to heterosexuals, it’s ironic that the old-fashioned virtue of sex with a permanent partner, the standard of the Eisenhower times, is now regarded as the principal protection against the scourge. To be moral, to be monogamous, is now the greatest defense against the new plague. That monogamy seems like a new idea is an indication of how our notions of the family have changed since the ’50s.

Yes, in many ways, the 1950s were better than the 1980s because the highest moral code ever given to man was followed by a majority of the people. That did not make it right, but when it was followed, it made a better world in which to live! Let us ever follow that moral, code given by God – by so doing we will have the best life here on earth and prepare ourselves for that world to come in which nothing immoral can enter.

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 8, p. 229
April 21, 1988