"In God We Trust" may be printed on American currency, but according to a new study, Americans are beginning to trust God less and less and trust more in the money.
A new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NORC at the University of Chicago reveals that patriotism, religion and hard work hold less importance in today's society, signaling that American has pulled back from the values that once defined it.
The study finds that only 39% of Americans say religious faith is a top priority. That's down from 62% in 1998.
But the survey reveals an age discrepancy in those numbers. More than 55% of people 65 and over value religious beliefs, while only 31% of those under 30 say religion is a very important value to have in life.
Bill McInturff, a pollster who worked on a previous Wall Street Journal survey that measured these attitudes, said that these differences paint a new and surprising portrait of a changing America. And, he said, there are a great deal of factors involved in how the numbers shake out these days compared to 25 years ago.
"Perhaps the toll of our political division, COVID and the lowest economic confidence in decades is having a startling effect on our core values," McInturff says.
In 2018, a Pew Research survey found that people's careers and their money ranked higher as priorities in life than faith and spirituality. A total of 34% put their trust in their careers, while 23% valued money. Faith and spirituality ranked fourth on the list at 20%.
For Christians, that is a dangerous proposition. The love of money, not just money itself, is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Our society has become addicted to money—to wealth—and the image of wealth.
American youth—and adults—are inundated every day by media messages of things, possessions and what can make us feel good. Wealth becomes an idol, a slave master and it drives us to do things that push us further and further from God.
It keeps us from drawing closer to him or simply allows our attention to be drawn elsewhere.
Jesus said this about money and finances:
- "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:19-21).
- "No servant can be the slave of two masters; such a slave will hate one and love the other or will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Luke 16:13).
- "Therefore, I say to you, take no thought about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body than clothing? (Matt. 6:25)
- "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).
One need to look no further than the story of the rich young ruler in Mark chapter 10, who asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus simply responded to him: "You lack one thing: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me."
Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." In other words, the old saying goes, "you can't take it with you."
But with Jesus, life is eternal. That's why spreading the gospel and the Good News of eternal life has become so crucial is this dangerous day and age.
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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