By Aaron Earls
From Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol to Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, iconic villains in many of our stories are evil businessmen. Americans have apparently taken that lesson to heart.
Almost half of adults believe corporate greed is the cause of moral decline, according to the American Bible Society’s 2018 State of the Bible report.
Nearly 4 in 5 adults (79 percent) believe the morals and values of America are declining.
When given three options as the culprit for the decline, 47 percent of American adults blame corporate greed. More than a third (38 percent) point to television, music, and movies. Fewer than 1 in 5 (18 percent) say morality has declined because of a lack of Bible reading.
Last year, 39 percent blamed corporate greed, 33 percent said entertainment, and 27 percent pointed to a lack of Bible reading.
In five years, the dearth of Bible reading has dropped from the most commonly chosen culprit for the moral decline with 37 percent in 2013 to the least chosen cause in 2018—falling by more than half.
Meanwhile, corporate greed has risen from 29 percent in 2013 to 47 percent today. Entertainment as the cause for moral decline has hovered slightly above a third.
The less engaged Americans are with the Bible, the less likely they are to see the lack of reading it as the cause of moral decline.
Bible-centered adults, the portion of the population the American Bible Society considers most biblically engaged, are the only segment more likely to blame a lack of Bible reading (45 percent) than the other options.
Among other groups, practicing Protestants are much more likely to believe the decline is related to a lack of Bible reading than practicing Catholics—41 percent to 18 percent.
Millennials (61 percent) and Generation X (50 percent) are most likely to blame corporate greed. Baby Boomers are split between corporate greed (38 percent) and entertainment (39 percent). A majority of those 72 and older (53 percent) sees movies, television, and music as the culprit.
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AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.