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Friday, October 21, 2011

Are Such People Increasingly Rare?

About a year and a half ago, on a sunny day in Seattle (it happens now and then), I said to my wife, “Let’s go to the Seattle Center and do some street interviews.” I wanted to ask people on the street a basic question about morality, and capture their answers on video tape.

We had done this ten years previously, and I figured it was time for an update. The question was: “How do you define ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ and how to you determine the difference?”

So we went downtown. I set up my camera in a busy area with lots of people around. For over an hour we interviewed passersby who give us permission to record their answers and to share their responses with others.

I thought we might find a good number of people who subscribed to the prevalent idea that “what is right for one person may not be right for another--no one can judge.” I was not disappointed. This was the recurring theme. But I also thought we might hear from one or two that would appeal to the Bible, or to “Christian teaching,” as a guide for right and wrong. After all, this is America, and we heard such comments on the street a decade ago.

Is it because the Emerald City is a bastion of postmodern relativism (which it is) that we didn’t hear a single person make reference to the Bible? Nobody quoted, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We heard this a decade ago. Nobody referred to The Ten Commandments. We heard this a decade ago.

Maybe we just missed those folks this time around. Maybe if we had been on the street for another hour we might have found such a person. Maybe.

What do you think? Did we just happen to miss those who consider the Bible to be a moral plumb line for right and wrong? Or are such people increasingly rare?

Is the idea that God has written a moral code on our hearts as well as on tablets of stone still alive in your neck of the woods? If you went downtown in your area to ask the same question we did, would you come up with similar answers? Would anyone make reference to the Bible?

To view our findings, see http://youtu.be/jsHiSLgTLv4

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2 comments:

  1. What you experienced reflects the predominant trend in the American culture.I would say this: even though may say things that don't align with Scriptural teachings about God and morality, human beings long for a better world. The Disney movies speak to the dream of "redemption." If we begin with this innate, and sometimes unspoken, hunger in the human heart, we may make some head way in our conversations with the world outside the church walls.

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  2. Good point, Thersa. Many moral relativists, too, long for "a better world." This is common ground from which to converse.

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