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What do they Mean by Traditional Values?

By Dale A. Robbins

In recent years we’ve begun to hear a lot of talk about something called traditional values. It seems to surface frequently as a subject of debate and controversy by the news media.

In reality, traditional values refers to the standards and values which were embraced by most Americans from it’s earliest beginnings and throughout the majority of its history. It is believed by many, including myself, that these values were a great part of what made America a great and free nation — the absence of which, will likely result in the further decline of our country.

Traditional, historical American values have in the past, included a faith in God, prayer and the Bible, which has for a large part, been the foundation of other national traditions. These included such things as honor and respect for the family, diligent work ethics, absolute values of right and wrong, honesty in business practices, wholesomeness in leadership, respect toward authority, moderation rather than excess, marriage as a prerequisite before having sex or bearing children, a family which consists of both a father and mother, taking responsibility to provide for our own — such as one’s spouse, family and children, and so forth.

Such values were the ethics of our Judeo-Christian heritage, largely based on the Bible and the ten commandments, which civilized our population and instilled character and maturity. People learned how to behave, to have manners, good morals, to be honest, unselfish, generous and considerate of others. They were taught the benefits of discipline, hard work, and responsibility. They were given good role models of how to be loving and kind to their spouse, encouraging and supportive to their children. This was the sort of thing which caused marriages to last, families to succeed, and which made our nation strong and free.

Perhaps like myself, you or your parents can remember the days when ideals from the Bible were taught in the public schools. It was in my third grade class that I received my first pocket New Testament, distrubuted by the Gideons... and we often recited the Lord's prayer in unison. I can also remember seeing the Ten Commandments displayed each day on the wall in our school room, as listed here:

    I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    II. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
    III. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
    IV. Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.
    V. Honor thy father and thy mother.
    VI. Thou shalt not kill.
    VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
    IX.  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods.

And during these years, what do you suppose were the biggest violations commited by students in my school? Skipping class, chewing gum, pushing or shoving, talking in class, running in the halls, were the only vile crimes I ever remember reported. Compare that with the type of things that became common in the public schools "after" God, the Bible and "discipline" were kicked out in the mid-1960's: Drug abuse, rape, assault, robbery, pregnancy, suicide, venereal disease, prostitution, murder, etc.

Of course, the downward spiral of morality and values in the schools, was just a reflection of the depravity that continued to corrupt our nation over the subsequent years, the product of a society with declining values... and specifically without the values that originally came from a life-style of faith in God. The U.S. government has nearly gone bankrupt trying to fix the ills of society, resulting from the absence of traditional values... rampent crime, drug and alcohol addiction, unwed mothers, deadbeat dads, abortion, abandoned children, abused or abandoned elderly, the spread of AIDS and other venereal diseases, litigation abuse, welfare abuse, lack of education, lack of discipline in the schools, etc.

It has been said that America is following the same historical path that led to the collapse of the Roman empire. In the famous history, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” written by Edward Gibbon, the author gave the following reason for Rome’s fall:

    • Excessive spending by the central government.
    • Unwillingness of young men to bear arms in defense of their country.
    • Overindulgence in luxuries.
    • Widespread immorality which destroyed the integrity of family life (family values).
    • The spread of gender confusion and homosexuality — men acting like women, and women acting like men.
    • Disregard for religion.

Sadly, these are many of the same symptoms our own society. So will America continue to follow the same path? It is said, “They which fail to learn from history, are destined to repeat it.”

One fact is clear: Unless there is a revival of moral values in our nation, like Rome, it will corrupt from within and will die as a nation. Hopefully our nation will heed the warning from the Bible. It says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalms 9:17)


This article (VL-603) is copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2023 and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. In some references to real persons, pseudonyms may have been used to preserve their privacy. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple use permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us. If you have appreciated these online materials, help us reach the world with the Gospel by considering a monthly or one-time tax-deductable donation.