America Versus the Ten Commandments: Exploring One Nation's Commitment to Biblical Morality

Ongoing debates about gay marriage, abortion, religious freedom, and many other issues remind us that a culture war is now being waged over what it means to be moral in America, calling into question biblical ideals that have shaped American society for hundreds of years.

Some claim that the moral traditions of the past are oppressive and outdated while others believe they are the only hope to save a morally declining nation. It is in this context that the question motivating this book emerged: To what extent do Americans keep the Ten Commandments, sometimes called the Decalogue? How prevalent in America are adultery, dishonesty, theft, murder, coveting, and other behaviors prohibited in Judeo-Christian tradition? How much do Americans really focus on God, honor their parents, and keep the Sabbath Day holy?

This book explores the historical context and meaning of each commandment in order to compare ancient understandings of right and wrong to those of modern America and then examines its compliance. Analysis of adherence to each of the Ten Commandments, using data collected from tens of thousands of Americans, paints an engaging picture of their commitment to the morals of the Decalogue.

In contrast to most books exploring moral issues, this one does not tell readers what to think about the evidence. Rather, it encourages them to carefully consider the information and come to their own conclusions about the moral virtue or depravity of US society. Readers may use the evidence found in this book to satisfy curiosity, settle bets, shape public policy, create sermons, stimulate conversation, or, even better, to understand human nature. They will come away equipped with knowledge that will encourage self-reflection and increased understanding of twenty-first century American morality.

--Michael K. Abel and Brent J. Schmidt



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