Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some thoughts on postmodern America

Sorry my blogs have been a been scarce as of late. There have been lots of things on my mind that I want to write about, but my internet access has been pretty limited. But I saw something recently that got me thinking about the religious state of our country. At the House of Blues in San Diego, California was a large sign which read "Unity in Diversity." Surrounding these words were various religious symbols. Some might think that this was simply a statement of "why can't we all just get along?" Of course, I agree with this. No one should be killing or fighting anyone because of their religious differences, and we should all be able to believe whatever we want. But is this the only thing that the sign was portraying? I don't think so.

You see, in postmodern America, there is no one absolute truth. God can be found in whatever religion you choose. It doesn't matter if its Jesus or Muhammad; both will lead you to God because there is no "one" right way. Though the ancients thought differently, truth is progressive. What may be true for you may not be true for them. Who are you to say that your religion is the only way? This is the thinking of postmodern America. And sadly, it it seeping into modern "evangelicalism."

How are we, as Christians, supposed to counteract this way of thinking? By pointing out the errors of postmodernism. First, we have to establish the exclusive claims of Christianity. Jesus believed there was only one way when he claimed,

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. And on one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

If no one can come to the Father except through Jesus, then one must believe in Jesus to be saved. Once this is pointed out, you will notice the response from the postmodernist to be something like, "even if Jesus claimed this, he still isn't the only way. There are many ways to God."

Here's how I respond to this pluralistic way of thinking.

CLAIM: There is no one right way to God. All religions lead to God.

ERROR: This claim is exclusive in and of itself. They claim that the "one right way to God" is by following any religion. So the claim is self-refuting. Logically, you can't claim "there is no one right way to God" and then say, "following any religion will lead you to God." It is like being absolutely sure that there is no absolute truth.

As postmodernism pervades our culture, it is imperative that Christians be able to not only counteract their claims, but to clearly and effectively share the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mike-e,
I was wondering if you could elaborate on the errors found in postmodernism. ( progressive revelation) I have believed in progressive revelation for quite a long time now, and find that it has brought me closer to the teachings of Christ. Understanding that each Manifestation brings Gods message for that particular time. So I guess I'm one of those people who thinks Unity in Diveristy is a good thing. Thanks for your time. ~~~~ AL

Mike-e said...

Hey AL, thanks for your input. Defining postmodernism is like nailing jello to the wall. It is a contradiction in terms because postmodernism seeks to redefine terms and twist the rules as much as possible. I did a lot of study in this area in obtaining my degree and found postmodernism to be utterly untenable and can't comport to reality.

But back to your question. In the area of religion, postmodernism seeks to do away with the whole concept of "errors" in establishing pluralism. Thus, anything goes, as long as it works for you. But this was certainly not the attitude of the biblical authors nor of the contemporaries of that time. Truth was a matter of the uttermost importance; enough to die for.

The fundamental error in what you are proposing is that revelation is progressive. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. Are you saying that truth is progressive? If so, then I find such a position to be completely untenable, as it could not possibly comport to reality.

Truth is truth whether it "works" for them or not. I can deny all day long that the sun doesn't exist. I'm in FL right now where it is pretty hot. As much as I wish it were 75 degrees outside, it isn't and the sun will shine whether I like it or not. I believe that religious truth is no different.

But if you are simply referring to "progressive revelation" in general; that God can continue to add to what is already true, then let's go with that for the sake of argument. The question we have to ask is, "If something new is revealed, is it in line with previous revelation?" God cannot, by nature, contradict himself. So if someone comes along, let's say, 600 years, after the crucifixion, and deny that Jesus died on the cross (i'm referring to surah 4:157 in the Koran), then we would have to conclude that God did not reveal it.

Although I believe the canon is closed, i'll grant an open canon for the sake of argument if you can show me which "revelations" are to be added to the Scriptures.

Hope that make sense!

Rob and Erin said...

Mike I just have to say that I really enjoy reading your blog posts and they have taught me so much about my great Saviour my Lord Jesus! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and thoughts. It really does help me. I often find myself in situations where I am faced with a non-believer or a believer that only believes in part of the scriptures and I often don't know how to share the word properly or with certain confidence for fear of not knowing enough. BUT I do want to share the word more than anything in the world because that's the only way people will know the truth about things. Thanks for helping me in this. I have a blog topic for you that comes up a lot in conversations (including last night at the fire station) and that's the issue of money in churches and why so many churches seem greedy. We have several friends that don't go or won't go to church for this reason and they don't understand why churches ask for money. We explain it to them the best way we know how but maybe you have some thoughts to share that we could also use. Just a thought! Thanks again for your blog!

Mike-e said...

That's awesome! I'm so glad that you've been encouraged by anything i've said or wrote!!

I think all of us can say that we are always going to be in situations where we don't have an answer. But that's something that we are called to do so we have the responsibility to study the Scriptures the best that we can. Continue to study and make that a priority and you will be surprised how the Holy Spirit will equip you when those times arrive.

Oh, and i'll answer the money and church question on a future blog :-)

Erin Ashley said...

YAY!!! You rock! I am inspired and am striving each day to be a better person and learn more so I can in turn help others know God's word better. Thanks so much! I will be looking forward to the money post! ; )