Middle East (MNN) – Western influences are leaking into the Middle East, changing the next generation, the culture, and the way people respond to religion.
“Especially Hollywood. I think somehow this is one of the many issues. Somehow Hollywood is making the values of the world as if it was a new religion,” says *Yusef from Program for Theological Education by Extension (PTEE).
“The youth are somehow influenced by what they watch and [are] trying to do the same things, imitate the same things… and this make[s] them have struggle toward the Church and even in their life, in their study, or their work in the productivity or social interactions.”
Western Influence on the Middle East
There are many ways that this change is taking form.
For instance, Yusef says youths are speaking in English to each other, rather than in the Arabic language, their native language because they want to be more like people in Western cultures.
“They [are] just trying to change. They don’t want the language. They don’t want the culture because many times, your language is a mirror for the culture.”
Yusef says as youths speak in English more, they’re not just changing the language. Instead, they’re changing their culture, their mindset, and even their ethics.
“Everything is changing with language.”
Yusef says up until now, dating was unacceptable in the Middle Eastern culture, but with the influences of Hollywood and even Bollywood movies, tv shows, and music, it is becoming more normal.
But change this rapid isn’t necessarily for the best.
Yusef says he recently spoke with a pastor who said it took Western cultures forty to sixty years to come to a liberal and media-influenced culture, but so far, it has only taken the Middle East ten years.
Western Influence on the Church in the Middle East
With this shift, there is an identity crisis among the next generation and even the Church.
Yusef says youths are pulling away from the Church because they consider it to be old.
“They somehow think everything in you should be accepted without questions. Just because it is in you, and they have to leave the old just because it is old. Sometimes there is no reason [other than this].”
As the next generation is pulling away, Yusef says people are complaining about teachings from the Bibles. Parents are even arguing that kids do not need to memorize Bible verses as long as they know the basics of the stories.
Some churches are trying to accommodate youths and change with them, but are not doing so properly.
“We see that some places, some churches are changing the truth. I think liberalism voice is louder than the Church in one way,” Yusef says.
This is adding to an identity crisis within the Church. Church leaders are struggling to know how to respond, relate, and remain relevant while keeping biblical truth in their teachings.
Yusef says church leaders must know how to respond. He suggests that what pastors need right now is a special kind of training that can teach the truth in a new mold.
Join PTEE in prayer. Pray for wisdom as they look at their courses and make them more applicable to teaching the next generation effectively. Pray that it will build up church leaders and give them the information and tools they need to relate to the next generation. Pray also that the programs will remain relevant and relational to youths and draw them back to the Church.
* name changed for security purposes
Header photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash.