The Morality Index

http://www.moralityindex.com/

(C) Copyright 2002 by Carl Drews
Last update: March 19, 2004

This web site seeks to provide a time-base measure of the moral behavior of the United States of America.
Contents:Current Value, Historical Graph, Data Table, The Ten Commandments, Methodology, Salvation, History and Background, Crime Rate, Supporting Data, Thanks, Contact

Current Value: +129.3802 lives per thousand people.

The following commandments are currently included in the index: 1, 6, 7, 8.

The Morality Index was last updated on March 14, 2004.

Historical Graph

In the graph above, righteousness is toward the top and evil is toward the bottom. So upward trends are good, and downward trends are bad.

Data Table

Temp

Year

Index Value

1947

-2.338107498

1948

2.62345297

1949

12.36657391

1950

15.22735414

1951

17.60813437

1952

20.00891461

1953

22.56969484

1954

32.79281578

1955

32.89281578

1956

34.76523745

1957

31.99252451

1958

33.18089633

1959

37.05703798

1960

34.47332801

1961

40.91202619

1962

39.6617882

1963

37.11166076

1964

41.01407708

1965

41.0523216

1966

41.10697431

1967

45.03695622

1968

41.2317345

1969

45.02437788

1970

48.75146504

1971

52.50418928

1972

53.70378179

1973

56.06143876

1974

63.55197343

1975

71.02750139

1976

74.75899469

1977

79.93590109

1978

82.63783595

1979

87.75675781

1980

85.19615954

1981

90.19141505

1982

95.3585697

1983

96.58643239

1984

97.76915574

1985

97.5187352

1986

97.44242264

1987

99.85717301

1988

99.68343151

1989

102.1717184

1990

105.9570835

1991

107.1441086

1992

110.9817684

1993

107.1722659

1994

109.8326736

1995

111.2095782

1996

115.2398825

1997

120.4404372

1998

123.1383786

1999

122.9106887

2000

125.3959381

2001

129.3801794

Some of the commandments extend farther back than the overall index because we have data farther back for them. Unfortunately, the overall morality index can only extend back as far as the shortest measured commandment.

The Ten Commandments

The Morality Index is based on the Ten Commandments, as given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments are listed in the Bible in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. They are not numbered per se, which can lead to minor differences in the listing. I have chosen to base my methodology on the list below. Clicking on a commandment will bring you to a page describing the measures used for that one, and a graph of that particular moral behavior over time. I've posted the data as graphs so you can visualize it, and as numeric tables so you can scrape the data off the page and run your Wilcoxon tests or whatever. (If you get a "File not found" error from one of the links below, it simply means I haven't written up that commandment yet. Try another.)

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make any idol, nor bow down and worship them.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land.
6. You shall not commit murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house, nor his land, nor any of his possessions, nor anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

Some of these lend themselves to measurement. The Sixth Commandment is homicide. The Eighth Commandment is theft. But if I admire my neighbor's new pool, when have I drifted into coveting it, and thereby violating the Tenth Commandment?

Methodology

This web site seeks to provide a measure of the moral behavior of the people of the United States. The link above describes the statistics, numerical methods, and calculations used to arrive at a particular value for the Morality Index. True morality lies in the heart, in the motivations and the intent of every person as they interact with those around them. Only God can measure morality. That's worth repeating:

Only God can measure morality.

Nevertheless, I can measure something related to people's underlying morality, and that something is our moral behavior. I am a Christian, and so I am approaching this problem from a Christian perspective. I have chosen the Ten Commandments as the code of behavior because they are well-known and historically significant. Another important code of behavior is the United States Criminal Code, addressed below in the section on Crime Rate.

Salvation

You are not saved by following the Ten Commandments. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) "So it is that we are saved by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do." (Romans 3:28) We are made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us. According to standard Christian theology, you will go to heaven if you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9-10 states: "For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

The Letter of James states famously in 2:26, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." We obey the Ten Commandments out of thankfulness for our salvation, and to put our faith into action.

The danger in publishing a morality index is that people will concentrate too much on the Law, on following the letter of the Ten Commandments without any joy in doing the right thing. Legalism is no substitute for morality. When asked to choose the greatest commandment, Jesus replies in Matthew 22:37-40 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Jesus fulfills the Ten Commandments by emphasizing what God really wants from us.

God gave us the Ten Commandments for a purpose, and part of that purpose is focus our minds on what we really need from God: grace and mercy. "So the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24) By providing a morality index I hope to turn people's hearts toward our relationship with God, and the pathway to salvation through Jesus Christ.

History and Background

That page describes the circumstances that led me to formulate a morality index and publish it on the Internet. It also keeps track of notable events in the history of the Index, including any revisions to the methodology or calculations.

Crime Rate

That page lists the United States crime rates for various offenses, as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime is not equivalent to morality per se, but it's definitely related.

Supporting Data

Computing the current Morality Index requires making adjustments based on population, monetary inflation, and other quantities. That page contains tables of supporting data used in the computations.

Thanks

I am thankful to the following people and organizations:

Contact

I am interested in hearing from people who would like to improve the Morality Index, to make it a better measure of moral behavior. I'm not interested in rants or flames. Since we're being quantitative here, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

Send e-mail to:
jambo789@hotmail.com

I am available to give presentations on the Morality Index. The specific material covered will be different from this web site, and may be tailored to the interests of the audience. Please contact me at the above address to make arrangements for a talk.


This page accessed times since December 15, 2002.

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