Famed Christian apologist and preacher Ravi Zacharias is warning that American culture is "at the cliff’s precipitous edge and the fall could be long and deadly."
Zacharias, who runs Ravi Zacharias International Ministries — a cohort of speakers who address Christian themes across the globe — wrote in a recent blog post that he encounters people all over the world who are wondering what's happening to the U.S., considering the recent political rhetoric that's been making headlines.
The pastor said that the broader question, though, should center on what has happened to the "American soul," explaining why he believes culture has come to the edge of what he and many other faith leaders see as a dangerous cliff.
"We have a deep crisis of the soul that is killing us morally and we have no recourse," Zacharias wrote. "We have no recourse because the only cure has been disparaged and mocked by the elite and the powerful."
He continued, "And those very ideologies are now presiding over the slaughter of our citizens while the abundance of speeches is inversely proportional to the wisdom they contain and reason bleeds to death before our eyes."
Zacharias went on to discuss what he sees as three "killings" that are as serious and real as the horrific terror attacks and shootings that people are tragically watching unfold in the media all too regularly.
Affirming his belief that culture is in the midst of an "ever-present danger," Zacharias cited "the death of morality, the death of truth and the death of reason."
"We are at war, but not only with an enemy," he continued. "We are at war within our own culture, and whether we will ever win over the enemy depends on whether we win this war within our own souls."
Zacharias argued that morality, truth and reason are not guiding society and that "evil [is] stalking us" as America marches toward her future, though he outlined the solution that he believes could remedy the problem.
"There always has been, and is now more than ever, only one hope for rescue," he wrote. "If we abide in God’s truth revealed in his Son, then we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free."
Zacharias' comments come amid Americans' evolving views on a variety of moral issues. A Gallup poll this year found that 43 percent of citizens surveyed believe that the current moral state in the U.S. is "poor," with 36 percent calling it "fair."
And 73 percent said that they believe moral values in America are getting worse. But those are merely overarching perceptions of what's unfolding — and every individual has a different idea about what, exactly, it means to be "moral" or "ethical." The more telling data come from Gallup, which regularly assesses the personal perspectives on more specific moral and societal issues.
For instance, there have been some major changes when it comes to sexual ethics. While 53 percent of Americans said that sex between an unmarried man and woman was morally acceptable when asked by Gallup back in 2001, that proportion has now grown to 67 percent.
The polling firm also found that 45 percent said that having a baby outside of marriage was morally acceptable back in 2002; 62 percent said the same in 2016.
It's not only about sex and procreation, though, as a recent study from the Barna Group found that the majority of Americans now have no problem with cohabitation, believing that it is a good idea to live together before marriage.
The report found that 65 percent of U.S. adults agree strongly or somewhat that cohabitation is a good idea, with just 35 percent disagreeing.
Gay marriage has perhaps become the most discussed issue over the past two years in light of the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in June 2015 that legalized gay marriage across America.
The claim that gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable jumped from 40 percent to 60 percent between 2001 and 2016, according to Gallup.
It's clear that morality is in flux, as religious leaders and the faithful work together to try and navigate ever-complex societal waters.