My Truth vs. The Truth: Explaining the Change in Generation Z
Dr. Jeff Myers is an author and president of Summit Ministries—a ministry desiring the next generation to embrace God’s truth and live biblically. We recently sat down with Dr. Myers to discuss Generation Z and its changing views of absolute truth. Below is an excerpt from our discussion. Listen to the full conversation here.
Modern culture places emphasis on feelings over facts. What does that lead to?
Feelings are an important way of thinking. God gave us feelings. But there's a philosophical issue that is at stake. We've tipped as a culture—moving away from seeking THE truth to talking about speaking OUR truth. We've stopped believing that truth is located out there somewhere objectively and in someplace stable where we can find it and orient ourselves to it and thinking that it's all [inside of us]. So, for a young person, that's simultaneously liberating and terrifying—if you are your own truth and you don't know where you are, then you're truly lost because you're the only person who could ever guide yourself. So, we see skyrocketing levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation. 75% of young adults today say they don't have a sense of purpose that gives meaning to their lives.
Exit polls reveal that Gen Z overwhelmingly votes democratically in elections. What is Gen Z hoping for by voting the way they do?
Gen Z is very individualistic. I'd say that's probably one of the dominant characteristics. Their impulses are liberal/libertarian at different points in time. “I want to have everybody just leave me alone so I can pursue my own life.” Well, if only the material world exists, if there's no God, there's no Jesus, there's no Holy Spirit, there's no heaven, [and] there's no hell, what do you have left? You have your body. You have bodily autonomy. So, the Democrats have found it to be rather easy on issues like abortion to say, “If you voted for a Republican, they're going to take away your bodily autonomy.” And [Gen Z thinks] “Oh, my goodness, that's the only thing I've got. So I'm going to obviously not vote for those people.”
What this generation has not yet understood, and part of our responsibility is helping them recognize the foundations of a free society. What would enable us to ensure that kind of a freedom? Because if there's no such thing as truth, there really is no such thing as freedom. There's no such thing as justice. Those are just words we use, and you use them for your purposes and I use them for mine.
And who's definition of justice is the one accepted? Well, whoever gets the most power, we wrestle over it. And if I win rhetorically, then my view is the one that that sticks. When they think about it from that perspective, most of the gen-z young adults we work with don't think that's a good idea. So they're interested in going back into history and exploring. And this is a fascinating thing for the for the Christian community because we recognize, and Jewish people recognize this as well… this is the Judeo-Christian heritage—truth is not just a set of logical propositions. It does exist, but it's not just logical propositions. It's not just mathematical formulas. Truth is a person, it's Jesus.
John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2, English Standard Version) That idea of the logos—the Greeks would always say, “Well, that's how we describe the reality of reality. This is the obviousness of reality.” Well, John went one step further and said, “The obviousness of reality is a person who came. It's God in the flesh.” When students start to see that, then they think, “Okay, I don't have to give up personal relationships and kindness and generosity in order to understand and acknowledge the truth—those two things are always going to fit together sort of like two strands of a DNA double helix.”
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.