When I was born the western world was fast changing world views from Modernism to Post-Modernism. The change continues at a frightening pace. I want to understand what is happening and why? How does the changeless truth of the gospel speak to this changing tumultuous world? What are these world views anyway?
Modernism emerged during the Industrial Revolution. It was full of optimism, “at last we can make a better world”. Humanism was the new ‘faith’. It believed people are essentially good, and that with their enormous progress in industry and science, ending war, poverty, and sickness was a certainty. Star Trek’s future world boasted “there is no longer poverty – all human problems are solved”. But after both World Wars, and endless injustices and failures, Modernistic optimism is now history.
Postmodernism is a pessimistic view of the world. The subject is vast, so I will just touch 4 ideas. Each I think are extreme and will lead to more suffering not less.
1. Don’t trust Authority. Postmodernism sees all who had power in the ‘Modern’ world abuse it. Our world is worse not better because of them. The leaders who we ‘trusted’ – the doctors, lawyers, politicians, scientists, scholars, and yes, church leaders all failed us. Don’t trust them anymore.
2. All history is wrong. Written by the ‘conquerors’, it was ‘their’ history. An Australian Aboriginal sees the same history as invasion and exploitation. “What is true for them, is not true for me”. Everything is relative to how we each see it. Put simply, there is no such thing as ‘the only’ truth.
3. My truth is true. My identity is everything. It is my right to have what I deserve. We are now firmly a “me first” society. However, not everyone can be first. For example, I am a male Christian in authority. So, what is true for me, has less value than others. “Their true is truer than mine” Ironically seeking equality causes new discriminations.
4. This is the ultimate Truth. Any challenge to this view is wrong. Any appeal to reason, science, discussion, respecting of other’s views, any question of fairness, appropriate action, or allowing differences of opinion is seen as the new ‘sin’. Such sin will not be tolerated.
Solomon wrote “there is nothing new under the sun.” There will always be change, there is nothing new about that. But what never changes? God is our Maker, Lord, and Saviour. Till we meet Him face to face, our loving Shepherd Jesus is the Light in our darkness. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He can be trusted. He is what the world needs, because he does change everything, forever and for good.