Today’s world is fast changing. We no longer have the same values as the ones esteemed by previous generations. It’s cliché to expound any further, and one would quickly be reduced to surface descriptions that sound hollow, almost accusatory: the iPod generation, the McDonaldization of society, the ten-second attention span, the decline of traditional family values, moral bankruptcy, and so on and so forth. This barrage of complaints comes mostly from the older age group, who believe our generation to be too self-involved, too pampered and too emo to appreciate just how lucky we have it. This is true. Our generation hasn’t gone through a world war, a foreign invasion, an economic crisis, or Martial Law. Our civil liberties have never been seriously threatened. We just take these blessings for granted, just like we take cable TV, air-conditioning, cell phones and 24-hour convenience stores as inexorable constants in our daily lives, as unvarying and dependable as the air we breathe. Relatively speaking, we live in the lap of luxury.
This is not our fault. The older generation cannot begrudge us the blessings brought about by technology and social revolution. Pink MMDA urinals, 50-foot billboards of a shirtless Piolo along Guadalupe, McFlurry ice cream and Facebook: all these are our natural birthright, the a priori
backdrop of our daily existence. It is true that we are more mollycoddled and spoiled than our parents, more impatient, less disciplined, and yes, maybe even a little dumber. But none of these are sufficient grounds for writing us out
, for immediately dismissing this generation as apathetic and socially numb, and this age as a godless one.
To our detractors, we are not godless or apathetic by choice. We are the product of the democratization of society, and the freedom you bestowed upon us is also the cross we bear. We are rudderless
souls, blindly feeling our way through a confusing plethora of choices that have appeared suddenly to overwhelm us, and we weave from one mode of gratification to the next, while the illusion of power leaves us feeling spent and lethargic. Sorry to say, but it was you who made us this way.
Rather than dismiss our generation outright, you should instead recognize the immense potential we hold. Last weekend, the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences held a meeting in Manila to discuss the problems the Church was facing in recent times. Mixed marriages, a dwindling priesthood, and a decline in church attendance were some of the issues being confronted. As the Church struggles to remain relevant in an increasingly pluralistic society, perhaps something we discussed in class could be the answer. Could a preferential option for the poor
, espoused explicitly as the new message of evangelization, attract our disenchanted and self-involved generation? Could this be the spark
we are looking for, waking us from our sleep of inertia? Could this be our chance to redeem ourselves in the eyes of our parents?
This is why the preferential option for the poor is very much relevant in today’s “godless” age. Simply put, it is our golden opportunity to prove ourselves. We inherited a broken world, and it should be our legacy to fix it. We are being called to defend ourselves and to be walking billboards
of our beliefs and convictions. The song “Affirmation” by Savage Garden seems to me an appropriate anthem in beginning this enterprise. It is simply a catalog of one’s beliefs, no matter how silly, inconsistent or controversial they may sound. What matters is that one believes
, and that one keeps on believing, in the face of such an unbelieving world. For me, therefore, life is one big affirmation