Summary: How does post-modernity affect the way Christians should live and how does it affect the way we present Jesus to a non-Christian world?
Our Basis for Decisions!
How does post-modernity affect the way Christians should live and how does it affect the way we present the ethics of Jesus to a non-Christian world?
Have you ever thought about what is the basis of your decisions in life? How do you make decisions about what is right or wrong in a particular situation? For example, do you think it is alright to lie? Who would say No - never? Who would say Yes - always? Who would say – sometimes? Okay, put yourself in this situation … You are Chinese, and you are arrested for preaching the gospel in China. You are being questioned and you are asked whether you belong to a house church. You do – so what do you say? Do you lie to protect your church or do you tell the truth? We could dream up plenty of scenarios which would cause us all sorts of consternation about what is the right thing to do. But what I want you to ask yourself is what is your basis for making those decisions about what is right or wrong?
Does anyone want to suggest what their basis for making decisions is? - The Bible. Any other bases that people use? What we are taught by our parents? And if we are honest, some of us would have to say that what our peer group says is right.
Okay. Now I want to ask you what do you think is the basis for the decisions of Joe Bloggs and Mary Citizen out there in Gladstone today…. Get Responses
So what you are telling me is that there is more than one different basis for make ethical decisions. So which is the right one? Is there only one right one? And if we come to different conclusions about the same issue, what makes you so special that your decision is any better than mine? These are the questions that are being asked in our society today.
Truth is an interesting thing isn’t it. I mean we all subscribe to it and believe it is important, but it can seem to mean different things to different people.
We live in a postmodern age. Some of you may have heard that word before. But for many it will be a new concept. Let’s try to unpack it a bit and I think then you’ll begin to understand the dilemma we have as Christians living in a Post Modern society.
Characteristics of the Modern Age …
The name “Post modern age” implies that it is the age that has come after the “Modern age”. The Modern age began in the renaissance period about 1750 when the enlightenment and humanist movements were in full swing. It was a period when …
• People gained a confidence in human ability (Self)
• We believed that Self could solve all the world’s problems through reason or rational thought - we called this rational thinking - Science
• Science in the Modern age defined what we saw around us and did so by universal, eternal and absolute laws – the laws of science like Newton’s law of gravity. This we called Truth.
• And this Truth we believed would lead to progress and perfection e.g. Evolution In the modern age, people were optimistic
Society basically rejected the authority and tradition of the medieval church and said, by Reason I can define what is truth myself and this truth is transcendent (above us, existing in spite of us), objective (able to be seen and recognized) and absolute (relevant to everyone everywhere). There was a huge push to find out the truth and an almighty push towards order and structure. Mankind looked to Science for its answers and put it in place of God. “Science had all the answers after all.”
Characteristics of the Post Modern Age …
From this wave of optimism, the world entered the 20th Century only to find themselves in 2 world wars, a great depression, then a cold war filled with nuclear fears. We have emerged from that to be faced with environmental fears of global warming, AIDS and the like. It is obvious to all that care to look, that Science doesn’t have all the answers. It has failed to live up to its promises to bring about a perfect society. As people have recognized the failings of the Modern era, their outlook on life has changed. We have reacted against the previous beliefs of the Modern world and a new Post modern mindset has developed which today shapes much of what our society holds near and dear. As I explain some of these characteristics, you may find yourself relating to some of them yourself. Don’t be surprised, you live in a Post modern world..