A survey by YouGov has revealed that only six of the original Ten Commandments in the Old Testament are still seen by most British people as important principles to live by. This is even true of Christians, although they are more likely than the general population as a whole to think any given Commandment remains important. The heart of the 10 commandments is love for God which flows out to love for our neighbour. It seems from the survey that love for our neighbour is definitely something to aspire to, but love for God is an option that’s pretty low down on our list of priorities.
There is some good news in this survey. It shows that what God says corresponds with what most of us know is right, especially when it comes to how we treat one another. To the confounding of scientific materialists, we still have a sense of right and wrong. Ninety-three percent of all surveyed agreed that it is wrong to commit murder and 73% believe it is better not to commit adultery. If we believe God’s ways are good ways, then in our best moments we know deep down that the Ten Commandments set a pattern for life that is essentially good.
Of course, there’s a difference between seeing the Commandments as important principles to live by and how we actually live. But the fact that rules of behaviour are still considered relevant, tells us that morality is something deeply embedded in the human conscience. This sense persists despite the fact that it is distorted in all of us, as can be clearly seen in the case of those Commandments that relate to putting God in charge.
There is not such good news when it comes to the Christians surveyed. They seem almost as confused about the relevance of the Commandments relating to our worship of God as non-Christians. We are sad, but not surprised, that 80% of non-Christians think it is OK to worship idols but the big shock is that more than half of Christians also don’t think this is an essential Commandment. Worse still, a staggering 60% of Christians do not believe we should only worship the one true God. This shows that Christianity can easily become just a set of social protocols for being nice to each other – something that we agree by consensus – and not at its heart a submission to God and putting him first.
What this survey really shows is that we all need a Saviour – one who perfectly kept all of the Commandments in both letter and spirit, and who willingly gave up his life for our failure to worship God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
To see this news item on Premier click here. It includes the audio clip of a short interview with Graham Nicholls
There is also an extended interview on UCB here