Where Did the Men Go?
Have you ever noticed how few men there are today? Does it ever seem that the men of years past were much more deserving of the word? I know that I feel that the men of today are incomparable to those of previous generations.
Men today seem to lack the type of confidence that made the men of the past such bastions of manliness. It seems that they either have far too much confidence in themselves, making them narcissistic, or they have far too little, making them depressed and timid. They just don’t seem to have the same quiet confidence that allowed the men of the past to walk through life with a strength and boldness that was simultaneously reflective and calm. Instead, they live either completely rambunctious lives, or they tiptoe about trying not to offend anyone.
Men today seem to live confused and jumbled lives. They walk through life as if they were shopping in a grocery store; they take a little bit of this and that philosophy, they walk up and down countless aisles, they open this or that door, they aren’t focused, and they do it in an automatic, unreflective way. They have no conviction and do not care to examine themselves, for most of them have taken as truth that there is no truth.
Men today live careless lives and try to ignore the shame that they bring on themselves. They seem to think it masculine to sleep with as many women as possible or to drink as much as they can. They care nothing for their partners or the people whose lives they are touching. They leave a trail of brokenness behind them, but they wish only to ignore it. In their shame, they try to avoid feelings of guilt by placing the moral responsibility upon those who “judge.”
The men of yesteryear, however, knew what they believed. They were confident in their values and would defend them heatedly. They did not tiptoe around, but would call each other out. They would not hide from blame, but would accept responsibility.
Even so, the men of the past were broken. They often treated women poorly, many had slaves, and most of them were close minded in some bad ways. Though they were great, they still were not Men. They did not achieve the ideal, although they were much closer, I think, than we are today.
So why is this? Well, I believe that there are a lot of things which have compounded to block the boys of today from becoming men. I also think that the root of the problem is very spiritual. Societal forces are not the only ones which have come together to stand against manliness.
I think that the most widespread thing which stands against manliness is pornography. Pornography leads men to think shallowly. It also can easily develop into an addiction, and the very nature of addiction is anti-manly. Men are meant to be their own masters. They must be independent and free. Addiction makes them into slaves. And instead of developing emotional maturity, they become emotionally numb because of their addiction.
Another widespread problem is the absence of fathers. Marriage has been completely steam rolled, and we are now feeling the consequences. Many, many of the boys who grew up without fathers are now at an age where they should be men, but they have no example by which to live, and so they remain boys.
The philosophy of the day is also a curse to manhood. It teaches that anything goes, and it creates no place for responsibility, morality, respect, or justice, which are supremely important to manliness. Men today have nothing strong to stand upon because Christianity has been removed, and they are left only with the sand which washes away below their feet. Modern philosophy also teaches that people are basically good, though the truth is that they are broken and weak and that we live in an abnormal world. This leads to very unrealistic expectations and beliefs, which cause even more confusion and delusion for the modern man.
The root of all these problems, of course, is the absence of God. With the decline of Christianity, there has been a decline in manliness. Only the truth and redemption which is found in Christ can make a man whole, and without God, man is little but a rogue creation.
As I look at my life, I can see what is preventing me from becoming a man. I know what is weakening me, and I also see that my weaknesses will not be removed without the help of Christ. The call to manliness is a call from God. As I grow, I pray that I may grow into the man that God has created me to be, and I will devoutly study his scriptures and call upon his name that I may do so. I want to be what God created me to be – a man unique among men who worships him and loves as he loves. I cannot learn this from anyone but him, so I pray that he will show me the way.