Declining Micro Morality and Rising Macro Morality

A few years ago I was distraught over some Young Life kids who are such amazing people who love others generously and are radically concerned about issues of justice but were smoking pot on a regular basis. Our daughter was three at the time and Annie asked me an unfair question, “When Kylie is in high school would you rather have her love well but smoke pot or be a jerk but never smoke pot?”


At times I am deeply distraught by the morality of my generation and future generations.

At times I am intensely hopeful by the morality of my generation and future generations.


My conjecture is that there is a bothersome declining micro morality and a promising rising macro morality. 

I am distraught by the crass and hurtful language that so easily comes out of our mouths.

I am hopeful about the improving (but still not good enough) treatment and acceptance of people who are different than us. (Sexual orientation, race, socio economic status)

 I am distraught by the increasing sexual promiscuity. The lack of respect shown by men and the lack of dignity displayed by women. 

I am hopeful about an increasing awareness of and concern for global injustice and poverty.

I am distraught about a general disrespect for authority and elders.

I am hopeful about the trajectory society is on in the arena of equal rights and opportunities for women.

I am distraught by the abuse of alcohol. The acceptance of smoking pot. The widespread abuse of prescription drugs, cocaine and heroin.

I am hopeful about a generation that is more interested in making a difference in the world than in building wealth and power. 

I am distraught by the normalcy of cheating and lying.

I recently took a church history class which confirmed my suspicion about the prevalence of revisionist history. The church (and society as a whole) has a disturbing history of violence, racism, bigotry, lack of civility, abuse of power, etc. These are not new issues.

One student of youth culture said about today’s youth that “they are the first generation to see themselves as global citizens first and American citizens second.” I agree and I couldn’t be more excited about this.

The impetus for both of these directional observations are complex. One source of both is the media. I am not unique in being convinced that the media is the primary culprit in the desensitization to sex, drugs, and language in our society. The media is also the primary player in bringing large scale injustices into the light.

Annie’s question may have been unfair but it represents my ambivalence about our future. The good news is that those aren’t the only options. I still believe that Kylie will be a loving, justice driven, holy saint when she is in high school.

What are your thoughts? How would you answer Annie’s question?

*This is not a fully developed thought

** I have never left the United States so my observations are only of American society

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