How to respond? "Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know"

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

According to recent Barna research,

Three-quarters of Millennials (74%) agree strongly or somewhat with the statement, “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know,” compared to only 38 percent of Elders. And Millennials (31%) are three times more likely than Elders (10%) and twice as likely as Boomers (16%) and Gen-Xers (16%) to strongly agree with the statement.

What do you believe are some wise, mature, kind ways to engage with this belief - or, in some cases, strong conviction?

(SeanO) #2

@CarsonWeitnauer That is a great question. I think that Tim Keller makes a great point about the elements required for someone to adopt a worldview. I do not remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the following:

  1. Social - we need to fit in / be part of the group
  2. Rational - it needs to make logical sense
  3. Emotional - we need to experience it as real

I think that we often focus on the rational. But for the younger generations who live in such a pluralistic culture & globalized world - I think the true needs are more social / emotional. They simply do not ‘feel’ that any one truth makes sense out of all that they experience or that they could ever belong in the Christian communities that they have seen.

They need to be invited into a community of believers where they find belonging and a sense that Christ is the answer for all people - not just for WASPS (White Anglosaxon Protestant) - which is the criticism some of my unbelieving friends have laid against Christianity.

(Jolene Laughlin) #3

Good topic. I think this encompasses the mindset and attitude of the reigning culture in the US right now. At this time, there is no such thing as “reality.” Whatever I think or feel is reality to me, and no one can say anything different. A huge problem occurs when “my” reality and “his” reality clash. I see more and more people resorting to violence and I’m afraid that the “reality” with the most power or popular support is the one that wins. The mob/vigilante mentality is alive and well - and it’s deeply troubling.

One thing I have to keep in mind when talking to the people of this generation is to not get sucked into the emotional drama and surface arguments and patiently keep going back to expose underlying belief system. So much of this is based on emotion and “the feels.” I don’t know that very many people are challenged to think critically or examine the consequences of their adherence to the idea that “the only absolutes are my absolutes.” Asking questions that expose the inconsistency and pointing out the instabilty is one place to start, I suppose. I look forward to hearing other people’s suggestions. :slight_smile:

(Melvin Greene) #4

I think you hit on at least one of the major problems that I see is driving this prevailing philosophy of pluralism, or post modernism, @Jolene_Laughlin. Millennials, and probably one or two generations before them have not been taught how to think critically. They think with their emotions. I’ve noticed that most of the younger people I talk to, including my own kids, will say, “I feel like this is right”. They don’t say, “I think…”. To tell you the truth, I’ve seen this across all generations, my own included, (baby boomers). If it makes us feel good, it must be right.

Another thing I see that I think contributes to this is that starting when they’re very young they are taught there are no winners, or losers. Everybody gets a trophy. I think this leads to thinking there are no right or wrong beliefs. My beliefs are just as equal, or legitimate as yours. We can’t be told we’re wrong, because that makes us feel bad, and that’s hate speech. Do you see what Satan has done here? If we can’t say this is right, or this is wrong, and people can’t feel bad about themselves or that they need to change their beliefs, then there’s no need for a savior.

I find the most effective way to have a discussion in this environment is to use Jesus’ way of having a conversation. He would ask questions that force them to face their assumptions. I have to laugh at how God has prepared me for this. When I was in military service, I ended up working in military intelligence. I was mainly trained as an analyst, but I also had training in human intelligence, which is basically collecting intelligence. In doing that, I was trained in how to ask questions in ways that would get me the information that I was looking for. This training was reinforced when I went to college to become a counselor. In counseling it’s called “motivational interviewing”. This is basically a very confrontational way that hopefully will get people to maybe see a flaw in their thinking. That way they are the ones that will come to the conclusion that their beliefs do not match reality. Of course, like anything else, it’s not perfect. But, it seems at least to keep the conversation friendly.

(Phillip Walter Coetzee) #5

Every ideology has social consequences. Whether the consequences be good or bad. The worldviews that some people hold claiming that “whatever works for you must be true” can be a very fleeting statement. For the reason of defining what it means if something “works” for you.
These people might possibly sound very coherent in the view they hold concerning their theory of truth, but they will definitely lack in correspondance.
They hold to the pragmatic theory of truth which is usually full of contradictions in relation to correspondance to reality. Sigmund Freud, being a natuarlist, said that if someone comes to you and states that they see no meaning in life; you would be wise to bring him back to reality. The greater context of what he meant was strictly determinist, yet the unmissable point of bringing such an individual back to reality in search of purpose, I find very interesting.

I would motivate such a person by suggesting that he or she may expereince greater truth and see the depth of reason behind embracing reality as it is, truth as it is, instead of trying to keep your own boat afloat in the pool of a great cruise ship.