November 18, 2017

WHY YOUNG PEOPLE NO LONGER BELIEVE IN GOD, RELIGION or SPIRITUALITY





This is one of the most important vids you may ever watch.

IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT

Young people aren't just rejecting belief in God, they aren't religious OR spiritual.
NOT THEIR FAULT. It's the culture they've grown up in that they did not create. 

Even if we say: "I'm spiritual, not religious," that's simply not true.
"spiritual"=of the soul
"religious"=of the body
Human beings=soul and body. We CAN'T just be "spiritual."

If we believe something ("spiritual"), we act accordingly ("religious").
We can always tell what someone believes or doesn't believe by what they do or don't do.

David Foster Wallace said: "We all worship. We worship whatever we love the most, value the most, think about the most, give the most time to."

In a nutshell, the media devices young people have had in their hands since the crib are not just an ever-present appendage. The device IS God. It is a world of seemingly unlimited personal choices and wish fulfillment. What more could anyone want?

The media device is a PERSON. A trusted FRIEND/BUDDY who serves me night and day and is always there for me, doing so many good things for me, never failing me--unlike the adults (and even my peers) in my life. It's the last person I see before going to bed, the first person I see in the morning. Parents should not allow this to be the case. All family members' media devices should be charging in parents' bedrooms at night.

One of our Brazilian Sisters said this: "If our young people had faith in God--they would know that there is Someone bigger than they are who created them for heaven and loves them unconditionally. They would know their own value. But if they don't know God, they must look to something bigger than themselves for validation such as 'likes' on social media ('anonymous crowd validation') OR 'validation by association' by imitating/stalking YouTube or Instagram stars as in the film 'Ingrid Goes West.'"

3 REASONS YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TURNING FROM GOD

The book Bishop Barron is quoting names 3 reasons why young people are turning from God, religion and spirituality:

1. The seemingly unlimited world of subjective personal choices media devices offer. (In a postmodern/relativistic/deconstructionist/nihilist world there is no objective truth to guide us as to what might be "good" to choose.)
2. The absolute belief that science and God are incompatible.
3. Judaeo-Christian teaching on the human person/identity/sexuality.

"Professor Jean Twenge’s book iGen about the generation born between 1995 and 2012 is one of the most fascinating—and depressing—texts I’ve read in the past decade. Her chapter on religious attitudes and behaviors among iGen’ers unambiguously indicates what is leading this most unreligious generation in our history away from the churches." --Bishop Barron

(When consecrated bishop, Bishop Barron very honestly and aptly answered the question: "What's the greatest problem facing the Church right now?" with: "The attrition of her members.")

Sr. Helena also highly recommends sociologist Christian Smith's culminating book (after decades of studying young people and religion in the USA): Young Catholic America: In, Out and Gone from the Church.

And, although what young people need today is more complex than this, AS LONG AS THE CHURCH REFUSES TO TEACH THEOLOGY OF THE BODY SYSTEMATICALLY AT ALL LEVELS TO HER OWN CHILDREN/TEENS/ADULTS, the Grand Exodus will continue unmitigated. Why do I say "refuse"? Because Catholic officialdom is doing just that. (Not every diocese/parish/school, but most.) Just try suggesting introducing TOB training in your corner of the vineyard and see what happens. TODAY, WITHOUT THEOLOGY OF THE BODY, WE DON'T KNOW WHO WE ARE. WE REALLY DON'T. BECAUSE THE CULTURE IS SUPPLYING AN ANTI-THEOLOGY OF THE BODY ANTHROPOLOGY, EVANGELIZATION AND CATECHESIS AS TO WHO WE ARE. IT IS A HIGHLY-ORGANIZED, WELL-HEELED, MONOLITHIC, GLOBAL CULTURE/MOVEMENT ENTERING SCHOOLS, MEDIA, NEWS, EDUCATION, INFORMATION, DICTIONARIES, ENCYCLOPEDIAS, ENTERTAINMENT, LAWS, SCIENTIFIC FIELDS, COURTS, ETC.

One striking case in point: Judith Butler, the premier gender ideologist, is now VP of the MLA (Modern Language Association). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Butler

And just in case you think things are just like the 60's, 70's or 80's where "Oh, they come back once they get married and have kids": Millennials aren't coming back (and why should we think iGen/Gen Z will either?) It's a completely different philosophical world they're living in. They're breathing different air than we are. They're in a completely different head space. They are NOT younger versions of ourselves. There is no place for irresponsible, falsely optimistic happy-talk in this regard. Once again: NOT THEIR FAULT. Yes, I know pockets of lovely, orthodox, faithful young Catholic people everywhere. I hang out with them all the time. They are the vast minority today.

Our young people are not consciously, intentionally searching for God (NOT THEIR FAULT, see below) when they "leave the Church." They may put together a few facets from different religions they admire (syncretism) or do some spiritual/religious practices to "cover all the bases" (superstition), but they are postmoderns. They are offended by "exclusive" truth claims. In fact, a two new chains of hotels catering to Millennials will not allow The Gideons to place Bibles in them because it doesn't "fit the brand." http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hotel-bibles-20161204-story.html

For the most part, our younger generations have not had "bad experiences" with the Church as past generations may have. They've had little or no experiences with the Church, and were often presented a Faith so watered down (an even weaker version of secular "niceness") that there wasn't even much to leave.

Western Civilization (through self-sabotage) ran out of gas some time ago--we've been living on fumes and we just ran out of fumes.

WE CAN'T GO ON LIKE THIS.

Sr. Helena's answer (in this order): PHILOSOPHY, THEOLOGY OF THE BODY, MEDIA LITERACY and DIRECT EXPERIENCES OF GOD (just shove them in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Bible study, youth events, etc.). The direct experiences of God can certainly come first and maybe should come first, then they'll be ready for more, for knowledge. "Taste and see that the Lord is good." --Psalm 34:8. "It's not that we're lacking knowledge today, we're lacking love." --Thomas Merton. GIVE THEM THE GOOD EXAMPLE OF YOUR DEDICATED CHRISTIAN WITNESS. I heard a veteran youth minister say recently: "Don't just keep saying 'God loves you' to young people. They don't know what that means. They don't believe in God and talk is cheap. Adults have been telling them all their lives: 'I love you!' and then they betrayed them or left them. SHOW them true SACRIFICIAL LOVE. Young people are also looking for MEANING in an age that says there is no meaning. Especially, they want to know that their own lives have meaning, that they matter."

Finally: strengthen MARRIAGES and FAMILIES.

born 1945-1963 = Baby Boomers
born 1964-1981 = Gen X
born 1982-2000 = Millennials/Gen Y
born 2001-2015 = iGen/GenZ

born 2016-____ = __________ (GenREBOOT?)


OUR TOXIC CULTURE ROBS YOUTH OF JOY

Our toxic culture is robbing our young people of their joy. Youth is a time of angst, but it is also a time of hope and buoyancy--looking expectantly toward the future with a sense of immortality, possibility and joy. But our young people are depressed, medicated and suicidal in frighteningly large numbers. WE NEED GOD.

The ever-morphing failed Sexual Revolution is causing more and more individual pain and grief as it further breaks down the family and society. The Sexual Revolution is unscientific. God, Creation, the Bible, the Church and Science are all saying the same thing. But the SexRev is out in left field all by itself, still making the same empty promises. We now have all the data and statistics we need to prove that the SexRev is harmful to our physical and spiritual health, our body, our soul, our relationships and the flourishing of society. But our young people keep succumbing to its Pied Piper's tune.

And, of course, it makes sense that God, Creation, the Bible, the Church and Science are all saying the same thing: God created Creation, God gave us the Bible and the Church, and Science is simply telling us just how awesome God made everything and how everything can work either for us or against us. If they WEREN'T all saying the same thing, we'd be in big trouble. Somebody's lying. :)



HOW DID WE GET HERE?


How did we get to the point where Canadian Catholic parents are flying their teens all over the world to get gender reassignment surgeries (it's illegal before 18 years old in Canada)? How did we get to the point where young people "reason" like the young people in the tweet below? Hint: it didn't happen overnight.




LET'S BACK IT UP AND DO SOME PHILOSOPHY

There have been 3 major philosophical eras in history so far. All 3 types of philosophies (and their adherents) are still around, but there will always be an overarching philosophy/narrative that everyone will live under, depending on what times they are born into. We are presently living in a postmodern world (some even say a post-postmodern world; I definitely think we're on the brink of a fourth philosophical era). If we don't understand these eras and which one our hearers subscribe to, we will be addressing them unintelligibly. 

In a incredibly small nutshell, here it is:

PRE-MODERN WORLD       /        MODERN WORLD        /        POSTMODERN WORLD        /        POST-POSTMODERN WORLD
pre-history to 1500's                        1500's to World War II               World War II to present                      Present to.......

There is a God.                                      There is no God.                      There is no God.                      There is no God.
We can't save ourselves.                   We can save ourselves.            We can't save ourselves.          We don't need salvation.


What are some hallmarks of a POSTMODERN WORLD? (POST-POSTMODERN in red.)
(Know your -isms so we don't get fooled again.)

--There is no God (atheism) OR we can't know if there's a God (agnosticism) OR we don't care if there's a God (apatheism)
--We can't know the why behind truths/facts. Truth is arbitrary. Nothing connects anything together. (nominalism)
--There is no objective truth. (relativism)
--If there's no truth, than raw power rules, violence/might makes right. (neo-Marxism)
--If there's no truth, than there's no meaning. Life is absurd. Anything goes. Suicide is preferable. (nihilism). 
--Nothing is what it claims to be, it's always worse. And absurd. See? This watch doesn't tell time (after taking it out of its context and pulling it apart and just leaving it there). (deconstructionism)
--There is no such thing as a "person." We are all just objects, things, consumer products. Everything has the same value as everything else. (reification, radical egalitarianism)
--In the early stages of postmodernism (mid-20th century), there was a willingness to re-examine everything, even God, truth, traditions, older ways of thinking, ancient ways of doing things, perhaps EVEN Christianity. (Christianity is treated as a separate case in postmodernism. Why? Because if you were formed by Western Civilization, IT was formed by Christianity, and the adolescent personality always want to rebel against Mom and Dad. They will accept anything from anyone else and even hurt themselves in order to go against Mom and Dad.) However, this window of opportunity in postmodernism, that is, to re-examine the past, perhaps adapt it and purify it, is quickly closing, and we have arrived at "the buffered self" (see below).

(NEO-)MARXISM

Marxism is huge in postmodernism and post-postmodernism. The Italian philosopher, Augusto Del Noce maintains that since Marxism has uncoupled itself from an actual lived political system for all practical purposes and has become a free-floating ideology, it is 10 times more dangerous and is infecting everything. Our young people don't even know its murderous history (since only the present moment counts and/or they've been told by their brilliant university professors that the slaughter of millions were just anomalies and not true Marxism) and think they're badass to have the hammer and sickle hanging in their bedrooms. (They're also taught that capitalism is the enemy, and Marxism will create equality, economic justice and a decent standard of living for all. History, of course, says otherwise.)

However, it is important to note that while capitalism is not an intrinsically evil and inhumane system (as is Marxism), unbridled capitalism is similar to Marxism (extremes meet) in that it can become an ideology of pure materialism. 

When Our Lady said at Fatima: "Russia will spread her ERRORS," she wasn't kidding. Notice she didn't say: "Russia will oppress and kill people, conduct wars, etc., she said "errors."

FEELINGS, NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS

So, if our young people have been signaled/messaged all their lives in a postmodern culture that there is no "truth out there" to be found, why should they look for what doesn't exist? Taking thinking/reasoning seriously is also kind of futile as well because whatever kind of truth I'm pondering can never be grasped with certainty. (Thank you, Rene Descartes! Descartes is the philosopher who gave us profound doubt about the nature of all reality. All he thought he could know for certain was the fact that he was doubting the nature reality. His radical skepticism about everything has seeped into the very marrow of our culture.)

So, if I can't even trust my own thoughts and ability to know and grasp truth? What CAN I know with certainty? FEELINGS. Fluctuating, ephemeral feelings have become absolute. We are now legislating on how people "feel." We don't even use words when we text any more, we use emojis. And the most used emoji is the little yellow smiley face that is laughing and crying at the same time because we're so confused. (If you can't think straight, use logic, and you don't trust your own ability to employ critical thinking skills, you will be confused.)


Don't get me wrong, feelings are important, but they are often simply indicators, and they are beyond our control. Who can get up in the morning and say determinedly: "I'm going to FEEL happy all day today!"? No one. Feelings are mysterious. They come and go. How can we base important decision in life on feelings alone? For example: going to school, going to work, taking care of a sick child? Feelings are only one-third of what makes us human. We have to employ our mind, will and heart (feelings) in unison. Our three human faculties are the ability to reason, choose and love. Love is ultimately a choice of the will, an act of the will. Love is willing and doing the good of the other no matter what it costs me (Aquinas). I choose to love no matter how I feel at any given moment.




IDENTITY 

So many issues today might seem to be about "gender," but are really about a deeper issue of identity. If there's no God, then what, really, are human beings? We can only understand ourselves in relation to God, and in particular, God-made-man in Jesus Christ.



Our true identity is beloved children of God, beloved men and women of God. Anything else is a false identity. (Even is someone is experiencing gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia, same-sex attraction or was born intersex, it's still a variation on a theme of  "in the image of God...male and female.") If we don't know our true identity, we will be searching for another one or creating another one for ourselves.

THE BUFFERED SELF

So why wouldn't our young people disengage from what they've been told doesn't exist or can't be known or doesn't make sense? Put in the earbuds, fire up the media device, pull over the hoodie and create a cocoon. This is a physical expression of what Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, calls "the buffered self."


Nothing and no one can get into the buffered self. What is the opposite of the buffered self? The "porous self." The self that is open to the world, in dialogue with the world, learning, looking, listening, examining, questioning, engaging, discerning, synthesizing, accepting, rejecting, interrogating, deciding, acting, contributing, open to surprises and exposing myself to all kinds of thing beyond niches that I prefer and make me feel comfortable.

How can we enage our young people and make them trust in their own ability to find and know truth--beyond "I feel," "I like," "I want," as the measure of all things? ("I believe," would be too rational, involving thought on one hand, but incapable of providing evidence/proof on the other.) Their own incredible potential and worth--just from the face of being human? We must keep trying. We cannot leave them to their cocoons and "silos." It's going to take a lot because there's much to be done on many fronts in order to "reach" the buffered self. NOT THEIR FAULT.

Once again, Sr. Helena suggests: PHILOSOPHY (lead them through the history of philosophy, show them how philosophers/philosophies shaped them and their very assumptions), THEOLOGY OF THE BODY (What does it mean to be a human being? What is Love? What is my call to love and be loved? [vocation]), MEDIA LITERACY (Based on what it means to be human, how can I use media in a way that is humanizing and never de-humanizing--beginning with the amount of time I use media? Media Literacy also requires critical thinking skills), DIRECT EXPERIENCES OF GOD (Do they see God in US? In how we love them, others, the less fortunate? Have we exposed them to Mass, the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and other beautiful prayer forms, especially in youth gatherings/settings such as LifeTeen? Have we introduced them to the saints and the profound Catholic intellectual tradition where they can feast on lots of fascinating stories/examples and challenging food for their minds?)

"THEY'RE COMING FOR YOU NEXT, BIOLOGISTS."

Since science doesn't agree with the Sexual Revolution or many other "feelings"-based systems such as gender ideology (science only finds two human genders), Dr. Jordan B. Peterson said these chilling words: "They're coming for you next, biologists." Who are "they"? Postmodernists. Science must be silenced since it is giving the lie to all kinds of postmodern fallacies. So, the last bastion of accepted, acknowledged objective truth is under attack. As one of my other Sisters says: "Everyone likes Science till it tells us something we don't want to hear."

WILL SCIENCE CAVE TO THE CULTURE?

Gender ideologists are entering and subverting scientific fields. Some are making up their own "disciplines" such as "medical historian." One such gender ideologist-activist states this: "We've always known throughout history that there were many different genders. It's just that the cisgender, binary, hetero-normative people suppressed this knowledge." Bill Nye, the Science Guy is now teaching textbook gender ideology as hardcore science. What will happen when our young people, who have been indoctrinated in gender ideology since kindergarten, grow up and become scientists?

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TAKES MATTER SERIOUSLY


Rather than being draconic, outdated and non-progressive, the Catholic Church may be one of the only entities left in the world today that takes matter, the physical world and the human body seriously. And if Science caves and stops being Science, we'll be the cheese standing alone.

Even more than that, Catholics believe the body is a Revelation of God. "The language of Christianity is the body."

And rather than just paying lip service to Creation as God's Revelation, Theology of the Body keeps all 3 Sources of Revelation together. "Creation calls for a grateful contemplation of God's world which allows us do discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us." --Pope Francis, September 1, 2016. "I want to help the world be always more in harmony with the will of the Creator." --Pope Francis, March 15, 2013.



WHAT TO READ/VIEW TO UNDERSTAND OUR CULTURE

--May I recommend you start by following Dr. Jordan B. Peterson (psychology professor at the University of Toronto) on Twitter @jordanbpeterson and YouTube and everywhere else? (It's best to just search for him on YouTube because many other people have created videos of him way beyond his own channel.) Also, read his book: "Maps of Meaning." He's a comprehensive voice of sanity and prophecy and reason and critical thinking and humanity and truth and kindness and an unlikely folk hero to the masses, especially young people. He's taking the time to form university students in foundational basics of life (making your bed is huge with him), as well as providing a true liberal arts education in person and online.







--"How The West Really Lost God" by Mary Eberstadt

--"Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement" by Sue Ellen Browder

--"Adam and Eve After the Pill" by Mary Eberstadt

--"The Abolition of Man" by C.S. Lewis

--"The End of the Modern World" by Romano Guardini

--"Lord of the World" by Robert Hugh Benson

--"The Crisis of Modernity" by Augusto Del Noce (newly translated into English!)

--"Aborting America" and "The Hand of God" by Dr. Bernard Nathanson

--"Won By Love" by Norma McCorvey and "Unplanned" by Abby Johnson

--"Pillar of Fire" by Karl Stern

THE WAY FORWARD




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