For some years now I have had the privilege of teaching and leading 18-20 year old college students who profess to be Christ followers.  Many readers of “Mere Comments,” Touchstone, and Salvo share that calling.  At IMPACT 360, we have sought to turn our students’ attention to three of the most critical issues of our day as articulated in the Manhattan Declaration.  But it hasn’t been enough to just tell them “this is important, because the Bible and the Church say so and I’m telling you it is too.”  Although they see the Bible as authoritative, the Church tends to be less so for them than for older generations.  At a minimum, this is what I’ve observed in millennials who have grown up in most evangelical Protestant traditions.  On these critically important issues, the disconnect, I think, is one of depth perception, so to speak.  That is to say, theirs is too often a shallow view of human nature.  This claim may strike some of us as all too obvious, but it isn’t at all obvious to most Christian young people and their parents.  Although they believe at some level that they are created imago dei, they still tend to view themselves as their peers and the media portray them—as a mere bundle of matter, desires, successes, and failures, headed in a life direction that may or may not have meaning.  Over the years, I’ve found that their ability to see themselves and others as inherently valuable  increases dramatically when they  learn exactly what a human being is from a classical substance dualist perspective.  Furthermore, their enthusiasm and clarity about the relevant ethical issues goes way up, because all of a sudden they can comprehend the intrinsic worth and dignity of human persons to a far greater degree.  Being as convinced as I am that formal instruction on accidents, essences, and human nature from a substance dualist perspective is a must for all Christ-following undergraduates, I was thrilled to see this article in Salvo by Robin Phillips several issues ago: Apples, Oranges & Gay Marriage–Or the Name Game & Hidden Assumptions. In addition to other readings, we’ll be using this article with our students in an upcoming module on marriage and sexual ethics, and I expect great discussions to come from it.