The term “Millennial” is tossed around a lot today. Mostly in a pejorative way. While there are lots millennial trends I’d rather distance myself from, I can’t deny that i’m a millennial by birth. Those in other generations are ok but they don’t get us in the same way we get us! They merely adopted the term “millennial”, we were born in it, molded by it. But what is a millennial? dictionary.com defines a millennial as “a person born in the 1980s or 1990s, especially in the U.S.; a member of Generation Y.” This definition will suffice. I’m a millennial. I was born in ’91, I grew up burning CDs for girls I liked, watching Tommy Boy, and being repulsed by Rita Repulsa. I played with hot wheels and those tiny remote control cars. I sang go ninja go ninja go on repeat for hours and I battled Dr. Robotnik with my trusty sidekick, Tails. Most importantly, I could always answer the question “who lives in a barnacle under the sea?”. Is that proof enough?
Today, there are lots of different subgroups within the millennial generation, but I specifically want to address 5 of them: The Postmodern, The Wounded Recoiler, The Erudite Modern, The Earth Keeper and The New Rebel. Millennials get a bad rap today, from all sides, but within each of these 5 subgroups there is a lot of value and genuineness. They each have their own concerns, norms, heroes, directives, hopes, and dreams. Along with every historical movement, these millennial subgroups have their inconsistencies, misguided passions, and they endorse leaders who can’t give them what they’re seeking.
As the title suggests, I’m a Christian Millennial. The deep desire of my life is to show my generation that the logos, ethos and pathos they look for in their own subgroups can only be found in Jesus Christ, in following his way, and in loving him. My goal is to make you think, to make you wonder, and to make you act.
To the Erudite Modern Millennial, your worldview cannot account for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility. Your worldview is bad, and you should feel bad about it.
You’ll notice right off the bat that my tone with you is different than the tone I took with our Postmodern and Wounded Recoiler classmates. The Postmoderns necessitate a creative approach, and the recoilers need to be understood. But not you, you like debate, you thrive on it. You need a good battle in order to change your views, which you hardly ever do because you already know everything, right?
Some of my best friends are Erudite Modern Millennials and they help sharpen my views and check my thoughts. I know you guys well. You recite the courtroom scene from a few good men to yourself when no one else around, don’t you? You are the Jeremy Piven of our generation, and I love that about you! I love that you love to debate. I love that you want to press me on my religious tomfoolery. I love the intellectual tete-a-tete of our verbal chess matches. While I seek to understand and relate to other millennials, I want to do absolute violence to your worldview, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. So with that in mind, Gird up your loins, homie. I’m throwing down the gauntlet, Let’s go to war!
The great failure of modern thought is made painfully obvious in your epistemology. Autonomous thinkers have made precisely zero progress in the area of knowledge since Plato, which most likely explains the great migration into philology and analytic philosophy. Conceptual systems have been routinely broken with the passing of a single generation and often even more quickly than that! You guys are still chained to the wall of the cave squinting at shadows while Christian Philosophers like Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Esther Meek, Gordon H. Clark, Paul Helm, and John Frame are skipping around the clover field demonstrating the utter rationality of Christian Epistemology. You remain like a Snowman that denies it’s been made.
Since the days of Kant many of you have seceded from the “ding an sich” into mere mental categories and agnosticism about the world outside of our perception. Because of your preconceived notions and underlying bias, you must remain autonomous. Therefore, God can never be the answer, no matter how easily He can make sense of the universe.
Kant never adaquately explained why every human has the same mental categories, but the Christian preformation theory does. God is rational, His thoughts are logical. Christians like me aren’t seeking to quash scientific inquiry (despite your best efforts to malign us and make us into straw men caricatures). What i’m saying is that God is the necessary foundation for epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and morality, politics, and education in general.
The Christian God of the Bible is the ultimate standard of logic. The laws of logic aren’t above Him or below Him, they are an aspect of His thought. He is the ultimate grounding of the Law of Identity, (“I AM THAT I AM”). The law of Identity undergirds the other two laws of logic. Christ Jesus is described in the Bible as the the Divine Logos who made all things. This is the God who has formed the universe by His wisdom. God made the world in a rational way and made man in His image to rule it. He’s blessed us to use our reason in order to think His thoughts after Him. He’s made us to commune with Him and depend on His revelation. If that’s the case is it any wonder why autonomous philosophy hasn’t made any progress? The Bible continually tells us that fearing and honoring God is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
The existence of the Christian God answers lots of historical problems in philosophy, like the problem of the one and many, justifying starting points for conceptual systems, the problem of induction, the ethical ought, teleology, and even Kant’s categories.
If the God of Truth made us in a rational manner, in a rationally intelligible universe, with the capacity to use reason in submission to His revelation, then we’d be justified in our use of logic to search for truth, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Modern man’s attempt to establish epistemology hasn’t given a satisfactory accounting of the laws of logic, their origins, or a satisfactory foundation for their systems’ starting points. The rationalists become irrationalists when it comes to justifying their reason. Likewise, the empiricists claim that we are “tabula rasa” and all that we only know what we can learn through our five senses but they can’t observe that starting point with their five senses. The modern man’s attempts at epistemology have led again and again to skepticism and irrationalism.
St. Augustine, the Christian Theologian and Philosopher, battled the skepticism of the Academics back in the 4th and 5th centuries with the phrase “dubito ergo sum” meaning “I doubt therefore I am” and “si fallon sum” meaning “if I am deceived, I am.” These concepts were picked up (stolen) by Rene Descartes in his “cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am”. While Augustine used these arguments merely as a refutation of skepticism, Descartes used them to try and establish a deductive autonomous epistemology based on his own existence. A Christian will reject the cartesian autonomy and cling to a different Augustine quote instead, “Credes ut intelligam”, “believe that you may understand”. Christian philosophy believes that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, so a Christian will say, the Great “I AM” exists therefore I think, or I think therefore the I AM must necessarily exist. Acknowledging God as the Lord satisfies the necessary preconditions of intelligibility, we have a grounding for the laws of logic, the ability to reason, and the ethical duty to be reasonable.
Acknowledging God is out of the question in modern thought so it’s back to the drawing board for the modern millenial. Maybe discussing the etymology of the word “tinker” will keep us occupied so we don’t have to think about God anymore?
In the area of metaphysics you’ll ask for an unreasonable amount of evidence for God’s existence, demanding that He’d spell your name on the moon or something ridiculous, but you reserve the right for your own theories to be based on the authority of the modern scientific consensus. Though evolutionary theory isn’t testable and can’t be observed or reproduced due to the massive amounts of time proposed, it’s still held as scientific fact and to dissent from it is to be branded a buffoon.
You’ll continue to chide and berate people of faith for not believing in the truth as they ought, yet you can’t establish the ethical ought that grounds truth. Why “should” we believe the truth? Why must we tell the truth in scientific investigations? How is it that we are morally obligated to represent the actual scientific findings instead of just making stuff up? Furthermore, you promote the dispute as “science vs. faith” when in actuality it’s “faith vs. faith”. A Christian will start with faith in God and His Word, and view the world through that lens. Our worldview can make sense of reason, the intelligible universe, ethics and morality. The modern millennial will start with themselves as autonomous and use their own reason or their own senses as their highest authority. They have faith in their reason or their senses as we have faith in God. I think the history of philosophy is evidence enough that when man sets himself up as the measure of all things, he can’t make sense of men or things. (I’ve written Elsewhere in greater detail about my reasons for belief.)
Would you accuse the Christian of “petitio princippi” while you have no justification for the laws of logic themselves? Would you accuse us of being close minded when you have assumed Christianity is false from the start? Would you condemn us for believing fairytales before you’ve established an ethical “ought” to believing the truth? Would you accuse us of blind faith having yourselves, assumed the law of induction? Would you state your moral disgust in our beliefs while believing that morality is relative? Would you fight for inalienable rights while you deny the Creator who established them?
Modernity’s turn from conceptual systems to language philosophy and skepticism has caused the modern to become blind to the inconsistencies in their own worldview. Chesterton said it correctly, “the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. . . . As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. . . . The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.”
The hubris of the modern man ever remains their downfall. Turn from your perceived autonomy and trust in Jesus, in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
If you truly love wisdom then embrace the God of wisdom, love, and truth.