Assuming that it is true that a significant portion of men are losing their way in our society, why is this happening? That, of course, is a complex question that does not yield to one easy answer. There are a number of factors that are contributing to a “perfect storm” regarding the identity and role of men. Some of these are external things. Our economy has lost much of the construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors as it has transitioned to become a “knowledge” or information based economy. These fading employment fields have long been bastions of male employment and with their loss many men feel frustrated and aimless and even useless.
The effect of the feminist movement has been felt by many men as they have lost the sense of the traditional identity that came from being the primary provider for the family. This has contributed to a sense of “lostness.” Another factor is identified by Philip Zimbardo, who says the constant and immediate stimulation of video games and the flood of pornography through the internet have actually rewired the brains of young males in our culture causing them to have difficulty with things like learning to relate in social settings and build relationships. I am sure that all of these factors are real and are having an effect on men.
However, it seems to me perhaps one of the most significant impacts has come from the waning of a Christian worldview in our culture. Biblical moral standards were overthrown in the “sexual revolution” of last century. That change has broken the bond between sexuality and marriage, leading to a decreasing sense of responsibility in men. That lowered sense of responsibility has been exacerbated in another way by the loss of a biblical view of life. If one is merely an accident of random chance, not a being created in God’s image, answerable to that God, then there is little motivation for self-sacrifice. One should merely pursue one’s own needs and desires.
All of this has contributed significantly to the prevalence of divorce and broken families. In the end it is the broken families that likely are the heaviest contributor to the state of men in our culture. Where is a young man going to learn what it means to be a responsible man who gives himself up to care for others, especially a wife and children? How is he to learn how to be a man? Those who have little or no relationship to a father are left to figure it out for themselves, and in our culture the answers offered to them are far from positive.
Yes, if it is true that men are struggling in our culture, it seems apparent that there are a number of reasons why, but in the end it comes down to a spiritual issue. That is hardly a surprise. But what is one to do about this? How should I respond? Stay tuned.