"What we need to learn from these survey results is that our moral infrastructure is unsound and in serious need of repair. This is not a time to lament and whine but to take thoughtful, positive actions."This quote is from Michael Josephson, founder and president of The Josephson Institute, a Los Angeles-based ethics institute. His group recently conducted a survey of almost 30,000 high school students in 100 randomly selected schools across America.
"The survey found that 35 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls — 30 percent overall — acknowledged stealing from a store within the past year. One-fifth said they stole something from a friend; 23 percent said they stole something from a parent or other relative."
They also found that cheating in school is more prevalent than in past surveys. Sixty-four percent of students admitted cheating on a test in the past year and 38 percent did so two or more times. 36 percent plagiarized an assignment, 42 percent admitted lying to save money.
Even so, "93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."
The article, (on yahoo news), quoted several educators who suggested that the students should not be made "scapegoats." These students face greater pressures, more competition, busy lives and anxiety about their futures.
I think the whole thing is ironic. Since the 1950's our society has systematically worked to make secular humanism the basis of the educational system. Now they are dismayed because students cheat and steal and lie. But based on secular humanism, who says that cheating and stealing and lying are essentially "wrong?" These young people are simply "adapting" to their environment so that they can survive and thrive. It is pure Darwinism.
Apart from a moral absolute (such as Creator God decreeing what is right and wrong according to His own holy character) who can say that cheating and stealing and lying are wrong?
We cannot teach moral standards to people in an amoral society. There is no political or educational or societal solution to this. The only solution is a spiritual solution - and it can only be applied on an individual basis, as people, one by one, accept God's right over their lives and the salvation from sin that Christ offers.