(From FotF’s Pastor’s Weekly Briefing)

A new survey on the moral and sexual values of the “Buster Generation” — those between the age of 23 and 41 — was just released by the Barna Group. This survey compared the values of the Busters with their parental counterparts — the Boomers.

Values have certainly shifted. Busters are over four times as likely to not believe in absolute truth. Almost half of the Busters viewed their standard of morality to be based on “what is right for the person.”

In addition to these more relativistic “standards” for reality, more than 75 percent of Busters saw cohabitation and sexual fantasies as morally acceptable. Most young adults also say that sex outside of marriage and viewing pornography are not morally problematic; almost a majority believed same-sex relationships are acceptable.

And this new generation of adults practices what it preaches. Busters were 2.5 times more likely to have had a sexual encounter outside of marriage. They were also twice as likely to use profanity in public, lie, steal, take revenge and physically assault another person.

Is there a difference between Christians and non-believers in the Buster generation? Not really. Eight of the sixteen criteria matched the secular population almost identically. When it was different, the moral view of the Christian Busters more closely resembles that of non-Christian Boomers.

David Kinnaman, vice president of the Barna Group observes, “The research shows that people’s moral profile is more likely to resemble that of their peer group than it is to take shape around … a person’s faith.”

Mr. Kinnaman had some prescriptive advice for church leaders everywhere: “It is important … to understand the natural skepticism of Busters, as well as their desire for spiritual and conversational depth. Young adults do not want to hear … monologues about moral regulations. You have to understand each person’s unique background, identity and doubts and must tangibly model a biblical lifestyle … beyond the walls of the church [in order to earn access to their hearts].”

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