My thoughts are scattered and they're cloudy
They have no borders, no boundaries
They echo and they swell
From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell ...
They don't know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do
(Simon and Garfunkel)
The Educated Generation?
Many say this generation in the West is the most educated in
history. This is a misleading statement and mostly false. They certainly
know how to navigate electronic devices and complex technologies. I do
not define education this way. For me, 'education' is education
in the cultural and historical treasures of civilization, and the
center of that cultural treasure is the Bible.
A higher percentage of the population does graduate high school and
college. However, there has been a dumbing down of the curriculum.
Cultural-historical education is the most diluted in the history of
Western education. Multiple surveys have demonstrated an appalling level
of cultural ignorance. Students cannot find China on a globe. They
cannot grasp many important aspects of World War II, and know barely
anything about literature. One young graduate was asked if she knew
about Martin Luther. She responded by asking, "You mean the civil rights
leader?" The cultural deposit of the West is simply being squandered.
This problem is rooted in the pernicious influence of cultural
relativism. This philosophy teaches not to judge any religion, culture,
art or philosophy as superior to another. This is a postmodern
orientation. In a self-contradictory way, new values are
dogmatically asserted, but cannot be defended. These new values
are anti-colonialism, multi-culturalism, and "non-judgmentalism". They
cannot be defended as more truthful or more ethically established than
the ones they replaced since - according to these relativists - there is
no objective basis for ethics and morals.
So how does this affect a school curriculum? Education becomes a
potpouri of whatever interests the teacher or student. The Harvard
100 Great Books for the educated are dismissed. Why should one
read the books of white oppressors? The values of the American Founding
Fathers are suspect since they were slave owners. Evangelicals were the
key to ending slavery in the British Empire and America, but who knows
The Values of the Western Heritage
Not long ago public schools asserted that there was a valuable
heritage to convey, a heritage that has led to greater freedom and human
respect. It was considered central to the purpose of education to
pass this on. This was the key to a democratic republic so that an
educated public could safely be given the power of voting!
In my school days we did learn about some of the faults of the Founders,
but did not judge them by the standards of our day. Rather, we respected
how they transcended the limits of their time and moved history toward
greater human rights and freedom. That was a long historical process. We
learned Western Literature in high school where biblical references
The Loss of Judging Good and Evil
So we have produced generations of young people who no longer think in
terms of good and evil. Their concept of right and wrong has no
basis in classic biblical values. There is a loss of history since
university leftists (who dominate the humanities and social sciences)
teach young people that historical writing was merely the skewed
narratives of white male oppressors, merely the assertion of power by the
ruling class. So history must be deconstructed. Yes, there is prejudice
in history writing, but is it so hopeless? What history does post-modern
deconstruction leave us?
All of this affects politics in the West. It empowers demagogues who can
easily sway a public devoid of wisdom and discernment. It prepares the
way for an anti-Christ. The saddest thing is to see Evangelical young
people weakened by this influence. My recent experience at Wheaton
College revealed an alarming problem of young people without the
categories to understand authority or moral judgment.
The contradictions are numerous. For example, feminist leaders of
American universities voted to boycott Israel, when Israel is the only
country in the Middle East with full women's rights! Why? Their
anti-colonialism simply abandons the women who are so oppressed in the
Muslim world. Christianity is despised, but Islam is respected!
The same trends are affecting Israel and weakening the nation, as some
Israeli educators here reject the legitimacy of the existence of the
State of Israel. There is no historical balance in their judgment: Israel
is the oppressor of the Palestinians, and that is the whole story.
The Discipleship Challenge
It is even hard for people to fully embrace the Gospel, since that
requires that they embrace God's objective truth. There
is right and wrong. It is difficult for the young to commit to
congregations and submit to the authority of elders and even to submit to
the Bible's commands.
Let's stop wringing our hands, roll up our sleeves and engage
meaningfully in the great battle. It will take fervent prayer, preaching
the Word and consistent discipleship to deliver our younger generation.
My book The Biblical World View, an Apologetic anticipated these
trends. I recommend it for those interested in exploring this topic in