The Not-So-Surprising Absence of Gratitude

By every imaginable measure we live in a time of unparalleled prosperity, freedom and opportunity. I was a history major in college and studied the story of humanity’s long climb out of oppression, poverty and ignorance. Given that the weight of history has been on the on the side of those demeaning attributes, it is an absolute marvel that we have come as far as we have. But that is not what our young people are taught today in the schools.

Today, especially in the colleges and universities, our young people are taught that the civilization they inhabit is the fountain of all things oppressive and awful. Virtually absent is any appreciation for the cost of what we have received, for the sacrifices and contributions across multiple generations as men and women struggled in countless unnamed places to build meaningful and productive lives, often under the most dire of circumstances. In the towns, villages and hamlets of western history families loved one another, did what they could to preserve their dignity and slowly built a cultural legacy that emerged into what we see all around us today.

Instead of learning to appreciate, even cherish this legacy of sacrifice, college students, in the full bloom of their immaturity, are told that they can see what is wrong with everything so they should go out and fundamentally alter the society. One can hardly blame them, however. The real culprits are hiding behind their PhD’s and tenure, mobilizing the naive optimism of the young in the cause of their nihilistic resentment of life as it is, even as they prod the young onward toward a slippery utopian ideal no one can define.

With vast numbers of those who inhabit the institutions of higher learning embracing atheism and holding a thinly-veiled contempt for religion, perhaps, in the end, none of this is terribly surprising. If there is no Giver, than the good things in life can hardly be seen as gift, including the gift of those millions of lives that have gone before us that gave of themselves to bring us to where we are.

Published by Pastor Mark Anderson

Lutheran pastor, husband, dad, archaeology nut, serious blues guitarist and aspiring luthier.

2 thoughts on “The Not-So-Surprising Absence of Gratitude

  1. Mark, I really appreciated reading this.We now have two children in college and your observations are very true. Would you mind if I borrow a few lines from this for a devotion I’m writing for our church?

    1. Marty, Thank you for this. I do not recall replying. If I did, it is proof I am getting senile! If I did not, please forgive. You are free to use anything I write and may give credit as you see fit. Grace to you.

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