By Paul D. Mooney
“We can do this by ourselves!” On a weekly basis, I talk with, listen to, speak to and interact with young people. Even among the very youngest there is a certain understanding of the present social fluidity. They feel it.
You get the picture, of course. And the kids get the picture. We have all been welcomed, ready or not, into the digital world. New cameras, new phones, new apps, endless movies, new ways to download, faster Internet, new toys, new games and it all becomes extremely demanding, and extremely absorbing, absorbing, ever absorbing. Parents and society, at least to some degree, may be seeing the many dangers connected with the digital age along with its advantages – but the pressure to adopt the new, the better, the more cool is showing itself to be unstoppable.
The real issues are not about better ways of communication and doing our business. The greater concerns are about the power that the digital world has to literally reshape the way we learn and think. We cannot ignore the universal access that the most wicked men and women on this earth now have to reach the souls and minds of our children – and they don’t care about your feelings, your faith, or your rights as a parent.
What is profoundly interesting is that the developers of our modern digital world, who are literally transforming life on this earth, including finance, automobiles, education, artificial intelligence, government, entertainment, global economies, etc., are all deeply concerned about what they themselves have created and are creating – especially as it pertains to the exploitation of children and the growing breakdown in morals, aided by the massive marketing of pornography. None of us can handle this by ourselves. It is already out of control. Parents may do their best to protect their children, only to discover that their children’s friends or the dirty man next door is also their enemy.
A while back I was having a casual conversation about some of these things with a young man. He missed my point entirely and responded with a rather strong retort about how ignorant it was to stay stuck in the old-school mode. “We can handle this (new world) by ourselves and make it better,” he said. Hubris!
Such is the growing attitude of hubris that is overtaking many minds and hearts in this era. This phenomenon, marked by overconfidence, pride and self-reliance, is growing, especially among our youth. They are first emboldened by a real and unavoidable global revolution that encompasses the dynamic technological and philosophical advancements of society. This radical change is exciting and intoxicating, enticing all but the very wise to embrace without question new paradigms and values. The exhilarating promise of innovation and modernism is quickly substituted for seemingly inconsequential details like privacy; connection on social media supersedes any concern for control of personal information.
A similar form of hubris slips into the church as well. Young men and women take their cues from what they see around them – and too often I’m afraid we are failing to provide the strong, godly leadership, the righteous statesmanship, the prayerful direction – and offering instead only a form of godliness performed by men who are no longer passionate for what they once believed, who have crept in among us unaware. Do they, perhaps, purposely avoid the kindling of the young hearts, avoid setting them afire to love and defend the Apostle’s doctrine as the true light and as the one way? Have we in some hasty fascination with progress bartered our distinctiveness for some misguided chance at inclusivism – traded our holiness for worldliness?
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not” (Jude 1:3-5).
Let us carefully examine Jude’s admonition to us, that “with all diligence” we watch for those who would now deny our only Lord Jesus. This sort of man influences advocates and validates, in cunning ways, a path of escape from all things classical, foundational and absolute. It is a dangerous moment in time, not just for the church, but for all who love righteousness and liberty. And if we do not guard ourselves against great deception in this present time of confusion and disorder, then when should we be on guard?
It is frightening and sad to see what can happen in a godless culture. We are losing something special when we lose our moral foundations. It’s like watching one’s wedding ring fall into the sea from the deck of a cruise ship – it’s gone, but you keep looking, staring into the water as if it will reappear… and for a second you fight the urge to dive in after it.