A lost generation of men

World-renowned psychologist Phillip Zimbardo recently published The Demise of Guys: Why Boys are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.  It was recently profiled on CNN.

The central thesis is that addictions to video games and online porn are devastating a generation of young men.

Dr. Russell Moore from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary writes poignantly, with spiritual discernment, about this crisis:

Pornography promises orgasm without intimacy. Video warfare promises adrenaline without danger. The arousal that makes these so attractive is ultimately spiritual to the core.

Satan isn’t a creator but a plagiarist. His power is parasitic, latching on to good impulses and directing them toward his own purpose. God intends a man to feel the wildness of sexuality in the self-giving union with his wife. And a man is meant to, when necessary, fight for his family, his people, for the weak and vulnerable who are being oppressed.

Moreover, these addictions foster the seemingly opposite vices of passivity and hyper-aggression. The porn addict becomes a lecherous loser, with one-flesh union supplanted by masturbatory isolation. The video game addict becomes a pugilistic coward, with other-protecting courage supplanted by aggression with no chance of losing one’s life. In both cases, one seeks the sensation of being a real lover or a real fighter, but venting one’s reproductive or adrenal glands over pixilated images, not flesh and blood for which one is responsible.

Zimbardo and Duncan are right, this is a generation mired in fake love and fake war, and that is dangerous. A man who learns to be a lover through porn will simultaneously love everyone and no one. A man obsessed with violent gaming can learn to fight everyone and no one.

I have seen these h0llow, shriveled young men in my classes.  It is the young women who are assuming the vast majority of the leadership roles on campus.  Male leadership among the young generation is largely absent.  Those few that are emerging leaders are so attractive to the young women, particularly the insecure, that I am seeing more and more examples in my classroom of these insecure young women verbally throwing themselves at these young men.  Given the shrinking population of strong men, I can sympathize with their desperation, though they are called to a higher standard.

Meanwhile, those young men spending hours playing video games or looking at online porn are in a downward spiral.  They are not developing the kind of social skills and character necessary to be successful and to have real relationship.  So when they experience the resulting rejection, it drives them back to their addictions as a place of comfort and solace.

Lord Jesus, rescue this generation of men!  Lord, give parents of these young men wisdom and firmness.  In this generation, “Turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).  Lord, raise up the men in your church to discipline themselves, to come together for encouragement, and to stand against the enemy.  May we be so caught up in your kingdom adventures that these kinds of addictive behaviors aren’t even tempting. Consume us with your love and passion.  Give a vision to our men that you have called them to love passionately and to fight aggressively in your kingdom.  Lead us in repentance and restoration, in Jesus’ name.

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