What does it mean to be a man? Go through the list and consider what options our culture has given us. A driver’s license, high school commencement, voting rights, employment, drinking rights, or possible marriage barely provide any meaningful elevation from boyhood. Modern American males possess few ceremonial means of formally marking their passage into their purpose as a man. The bar has been set too low and today you can find plenty of man children who can shave that have yet to make the transition.
Regardless of your belief, whether you are a secular atheist or a Buddhist, the economic and sociological benefits of Biblical values are infallibly sound. When men fulfill the purpose and design of men as the Bible has outlined it, humanity thrives, and when men reject the space that men are designed to fill, the world burns. Why do I say this? Take a dive into the the very first book, Genesis, chapter 2 and verse 15, “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Here, we can see even early on, even in paradise before sin, God gave man the duty to harvest and to work. This is why lazy men are so damaging to humanity. We are designed to work. The perfect man is the working man.
Our secular society today could learn a great deal from other ancient traditions as well. To understand where to start, we must look towards rites of passage. Even as little tads, children of the ancient days were expected to prepare themselves for their initiation. An African proverb sums it up best, “it takes a village to raise a child”: this is an entire social force focused on every individual; the essence of a community.
The basic formula of a rite of passage is explained by an anthropologist named Arnold van Gennep. This formula breaks the passage up into three stages: an end (severance from childhood), and middle (threshold), and a beginning (incorporation into manhood). Unlike anything else, notice how a rite of passage begins with an ending and ends with a beginning. An excellent example most people are familiar with is the process of becoming a member of the armed forces. The recruit gets cut off from society and their previous civilian life, they’re trained and challenged in boot camp, and then they graduate as a lean, mean, freedom-defending machine.