Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Apathy and Infinite Despair of the Young Generation

Photos are of Ukrainian/Russian kids who climb skyscrapers without safety gear

The photographs I used to preface this post are of Russian and Ukrainian daredevils who climb skyscrapers under construction.  Apparently it gives them a solid adrenaline high.  They record themselves doing this, and upload it to the internet.  I thought these photos were a stunning depiction of what it looks like when post-modernism is lived out.  These are kids who believe the universe is meaningless, and that has understandably led to apathy; Even apathy that leads to dangling from skyscrapers.  Click here to watch a video of these daredevils. And yes, this is a real thing.

We were raised up in a culture where there were only two goals: personal satisfaction and ambition.  Or as Francis Schaeffer said it: Personal peace and prominence.  Rightly enough, we revolted.  The bastions of church and synagogue were plastered with lies and selfishness.  Sex scandals and child abuse poured out of them.  So we turned away from religion, and from reason.  Reason had led to sorrow for most.  The prevailing philosophies which influenced us through the culture had tossed aside reason for non-reason.

I lived it.  I was the youth in revolt from the post-industrial world.  I knew deep down that materialism wasn't true.  The society was aghast, but I didn't know what to do.  Where do you turn, when the doors to the church have been sand-blasted with sin and lies?  Where do you turn when reason has been declared sorrow?  

Many of us turned to the drug culture.  Many of us turned to utopian pipe dreams. Many of us turned to non-reason.  Many of us turned to wealth and pleasure.  We turned to hedonism.  And when hedonism failed us, we turned to the new age.  We knew we needed spirituality. But we didn't want the rules, or the moral precepts.  So we invented our own spirituality.  And the best thing about it was, we were gods in this delusional reality.  Yet time still passed, welts formed on our skin, the days passed, addiction and fear still ruled in our minds... and the obvious truth became far, far too obvious; we are not gods.  Reality does not attune to our desires.  So the circle began again, turning again to pithy pleasures and self-satisfying intellectualizations regarding our situations.  

But the truth like an ugly hound in the cold, always came for us, refusing to go away, refusing to sleep.  Truth of course, stomped to the ground, even by me, will rise again.  It can't be stopped.  What a wonderful thing that is.  The truth goes anywhere from embarrassing politicians to toppling dictators, to turning druggy fiends like myself to a loving God.  The truth is rather impressive, isn't it?

We found ourselves in apathy, and meaninglessness.  We found ourselves surrendering, unable to understand the universe around us.  

Like an Icarus, careening toward the sun I made a decision then.  I decided I would derail off the tracks and blast off toward rebellion and toward total collapse.  I would bet against it all.  I lept up into the sky, darting toward the sun.  I hoped after hoped that somehow, in a dark tunnel of sorrow and blackness of addiction and self destruction, a mighty meaning might come upon me and save me from the dark path I'd set.  

So the years went on, and I wrestled with the darkness.  Would daybreak ever come?  If life was meaningless, if reason led to sorrow, and if God was really dead, then nothing mattered anymore!  How true was that.  I had set the only logical course in a universe where men are beasts formed up from the muck to aimlessly wander nowhere for a few short years unto total darkness.

Then there was no purpose, none whatsoever, no reason to continue on, no purpose to personal peace, no reason to seek after prominence.  Why not jump into the hyperspace of drugs and altered states of reality?  Why not surf such a darkness into total collapse?  So it came, and I got closer, and closer to the hot burning sun.  My soul began to melt, burn, and collapse.  The last air drifted from my lungs.  In fact I had accepted my fate.  I was at peace with the emptiness.  And yet... something inside me knew: It isn't over yet.  There is more to be revealed...  There is an order, somehow.  

Then my eyes met a beautiful meaning, who had found me out there.  There I had been.. deck by deck, sinking into the sea of stars, decks aflame, women and children on the lifeboats, nothing left to lose... and then at the edge of the skyline there he appeared, riding a stream of light.  He clasp me in his hand, blessed me with his Son, and redeemed me toward his mission.  I'd bet it all, that he might save me, and he did.  My world changed then.  All of it changed.  And I began a new journey.  Daybreak came, just at the edge of disaster.  

I'm such a nerd, but I don't care. I think about this scene in Battlestar Galactica. This civilization had been attacked and all their homeworlds had been nuked by this machine race.  And so they're on the run.  They find this planet, they call it New Caprica and settle there.  But the enemy finds them, and enslaves them.  Over the next year they're abused and tortured and slaughtered by this evil machine race.  But then the Galactica makes a daring attempt to try and get the people off the surface.  The Galactica jumps in and launches the attack, but Galactica is overwhelmed.  There is this beautiful scene where the camera fades off from the Galactica, as it's being pounded by enemy ships on all sides.  And its just done.  Then suddenly this second cruiser the Pegasus charges in at full speed, and rams the enemy ships, saving Galactica from destruction.  Click here to view that scene.

That's what I think of sometimes.  Because I was surrounded by my enemies.  I was dying.  I had lost everything.  I was beyond the point of no return, or so I thought.  Then Jesus arrived.  And he gave himself up for me, setting me on the road home.  

Everything changed.  I had new eyes; Seeing the universe... in an entirely new light.  So there I was.  Faced by the world.  Daunted and afraid, but remade.  So we also find ourselves daunted by the challenges ahead.  And our energy has given out, and the day is only half done.  The battle rages around us.  And here we are.

Here we are, in the midst of it all.  

I could not live with apathy.  I could not live with meaninglessness.  My own journey parallels that of young people today.  Meaninglessness, and apathy is why my generation is drug addicted, STD ridden, gender-confused, and depressed.  We were led up in a generation devoid of meaning, a generation surrounded by modernism, a generation addicted to material, wealth, sex, and power.  We rebelled against it, found the church doors locked, and instead turned to drugs. 

We became apathetic. What a tragedy for young people to fall into apathy! 

We apprehended the problem most thoroughly.  But the solution was wrong.  Similarly in the 1960s a generation revolted against a skin-deep tyrannical religious system.  A false Christian system they revolted against, instigated by atheist thinkers, and pushed toward a sort of new age of peace, love, sex, and drugs.  

Today is quite similar.  My generation moved toward drug culture as an ideology.  We moved toward non-reason (post-modernism).  Many moved toward anarchism, or more interiorly, libertarianism.  Others moved unconsciously toward authoritarianism and various forms of marxism.  Today more so than ever, young people, pursuing a God-given desire for a better, more perfect system turn toward marxism, socialism, and what they call "democratic socialism." 

Today you have the old guard, gen exers and baby boomers astounded watching things change.  The old guard on both sides of the debate is astounded by these young people, and the directions they are moving.  

You've really got two sides of the future ideologies of our nation.  There are certainly others it's true, but these are the two dominant ones.  On one side you have a libertarianism, leave me alone ideology, prominently on the right side of the aisle.  Liberty at any cost.  I tend to lean that way myself.  And on the left you have a probably even larger movement toward socialism, collectivism, and ironically enough, authoritarianism and forced uniformity.  Equality at any cost.

Ultimately marxism and collective ideals aren't functional, they don't work.  But it appeals to a better side of young people.  Which is why they turn to it.  The desire for a better, more just situation is in their hearts.  The ideal of a utopian future is within their hearts, it is an expression of eternity, placed their by God.  But it's been harnessed and forced in an unintended direction: Toward a godless marxist utopian suggestion that is simply not realistic.  In fact it's utter nonsense, because in a godless system, which marxism is, there can be no meaning.  Why?  Because in a godless system nothing matters and when you die you face the dark nothingness of eternal nothing.  Even humanity itself will eventually die out in such a worldview, and the quaking universe will be left to spiral unto utter entropy.  It's a meaningless worldview, and false; it doesn't line up with the facts.  But marxism tugs at the better angels of human nature, and that's why it draws young people.  Too bad it so often leads to genocide and human suffering. 

Democratic socialism is not a viable solution for government, but it does hint toward some of the problems.  Problems like a lack of community, and a lack of group effort for a better tomorrow.  Such a group mentality once existed within the churches of yesterday, when the entire life revolved around the church, but today church has become something quite different.  Thus after creating the problem through cultural marxism, they swoop in to fix the problem with socialism.  Socialism hints toward other problems too, like crony-capitalism, political corruption, and dishonesty in the business sector.  

The followers of this democratic socialist ideology are quite sincere young people who feel they are being conned by the system.  And they are!  They really, really are.  They've been screwed by the college university system, and they've been screwed by a failing job market.  It's just all that pent up rage and injustice has been funneled into a nightmare ideology that will destroy everything our nation stands for: socialism.  It's tragic, because these aren't bad people, they are sincere, they've just chosen the wrong solution.

Libertarianism is also an insufficient model.  Though it does hint toward many of the problems, once again.  Libertarians are justly disturbed by the cruel drug war waged on non-violent users.  Libertarians are justly disturbed by government overreach and it's ability to reach into your home and dictate to you everything and anything you may or may not do.  Libertarians are justly enraged by crony-capitalism and government picking winners and losers.  Libertarians are justly incensed by high taxes, endless regulations on small businesses, and endless wars in foreign lands.  But as socialists decry the business sector and hail the government sector as holy and good, so libertarians decry the government sector as evil and boaster the business sector as holy and good.  Neither is true of course.  

Both of these systems look to create a prosperous future.  One targets government as the solution, the other targets free markets as the solution.  The issue is both of those systems tend toward corruption.  Though I do think libertarianism is closer to the solution because it looks to empower the individual.  Inevitably an empowered church can rise in a libertarian system to help instill morality and justice in humanity.  In a socialist system, Christianity has no hope.  In the majority of marxist systems religion is quickly debased, persecuted, and eventually exterminated. At the very least, Christianity would become a worldview beholden to LGBT activists, hate speech laws, and high taxation.  It would become a Christianity in name only, required to violate it's own teachings to appease the prevailing political correctness of the times.  Equality at any cost.

But even more so, we have take a wider perspective. We have to look beyond the now.  We have to look beyond temporal government and economic systems.  In fact we have to look beyond death itself.  All of us will die.  We know this.  Therefore we must look for an eternal solution.  If we want a worldview with real hope, a worldview with a real concrete philosophy that looks to the timeless good of mankind, we have to look elsewhere.

The correct system to turn to for young people is Christianity.  Why?  Because it's true.  And its the just, righteous system we all pine for.  We've been sold a lie about what it really is.  We've been told it's all pedophiles and hypocrites.  That isn't true of course.  But it's a convenient way of dismissing a system of moral teachings.  Though of course it's much more than that.  Much more. 

Like in many cases, from the mainstream media to abortion, politics, and human trafficking, we need to look behind the curtain of lies and see the truth. So many times in my life, I've discovered that the truth has been hidden from me, intentionally.

Reason can lead to joy, instead of sorrow.  We can reason our way to the renowned historical figure, Jesus Christ. We can come to believe through reason.  I'm encouraging you to take that quest.  Leave behind apathy.  Leave behind frivolous pursuits.  Take on yourself a higher calling.  But don't believe it because I'm telling you to.  

Research it yourself, listen to great minds like Ravi Zacharias (View 'Why I'm Not an Atheist'), William Lane Craig (View 'Key Arguments for a Reasonable Faith'), and others on the topic of the reasons behind the Christian faith.  I think you'll be shocked at what's been hidden from you.  

Perhaps the greatest lie we've been sold as young people, as "millennials" in this odd world is this: There is no truth and there is no meaning to life.  And to that statement you ought to ask two simple questions, 1: When you say there is no truth, are you making a statement that is true or false? And 2: If there were really no meaning to life, how could you ever know such a thing?  In other words, those statements are self defeating.  They are lies, projected by those who prefer a godless reality.

Ultimately I'm asking you to begin a quest for the truth.  There is only one rule for this quest, one position of the mind: Your greatest objective must be to discover what is actually true, and resist the desire to search for what you would personally prefer.    

It's that simple.  Investigate.  Test.  Study.  Learn.  And discover the truth.  As Jesus himself said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

A great gift of this quest is to finally, finally come to see the world as it really is.  Instead of seeing a broken picture, we finally see the truth, even if it is a difficult truth.  It most certainly is.  But then finally, we have our cause.  We have our righteous mission.  We have our meaning.  And it's real meaning.  We can see reality for what it truly is. Finally!

Keep thinking friends, until next time.

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  4. Ancient Doorways in the Brickhouse: Fields of Green in your Dreams
  5. Depression & Meaninglessness: Where is God in the depths of sorrow?
  6. The Awe of Dreams & the Surreal
  7. Big Picture: The Solution to all the Problems of Earth
  8. What is the meaning of Life?
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  10. Daybreak: Examining the Problem of Pain