There is some evidence that ethics are improving among today's teens. Nearly two thirds (59%) told Harris Poll interviewers they would not behave unethically to make more money even if they knew they could not be caught and thats up nearly half from a similar poll three years ago. More than four out of five (83%) said its not worth it to lie or cheat because it destroys character in a survey conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics.
At the same time, 82% reported that they had lied to a parent about something significant at least once in the past year; 62% said they had lied to a teacher; 60% indicated they had cheated on a test in school; and 28% had stolen something from a store. (In the Josephson survey.)
Why? Some 44% report feeling a lot of pressure to succeed in school and 81% expect the pressure to be worse when they get jobs as adults. Nearly a third (29%) say they are not prepared to make ethical decisions. (In the Harris Poll.)
Are we educating people about ethics? What good is Bible teaching if it leaves young people unprepared to take a stand for basic moral principles? Or is this the result of making an issue about "values" that end up being more about politics than morality? Focusing on values that have more basis in tradition than in the Bible, while ignoring the hundreds of Bible verses that speak plainly about poverty and materialism, leaves this kind of moral uncertainty and vagueness even when faith-based efforts are supposed to be resurgent.
We are now faced with an emerging generation that is hungry for clear teaching about spiritual and moral values. It is time to get back to basics and point out the moral bankruptcy of lives driven by consumer values and constant harping on cutting taxes. The call of Jesus Christ is to live a life for others, especially "the least," and to disregard social pressure toward "success." That is what it really means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.