Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Curse the darkness or light the candle or both or what?

Yesterday's "Breakpoint" by Chuck Colson (copied below) challenges President Obama on his statement that "no God condones taking the life of an innocent human being" at the National Prayer Breakfast. Colson rightly argues that for the President to make such a statement and only apply it to war and not to abortion is faulty logic. Just as faulty as the Christians who apply it only to abortion and not to war.

But this post is neither about abortion or about war. It's about some of the incessant whining we hear decrying our "postmodern" world.

I will be the first to admit I live in a postmodern world. Postmodernity has affected my worldview. It's hard for it not to. I also admit I have not jumped deeply into postmodern philosophy like my friend the 7-foot ninja. I have only skimmed the surface of those writers, and probably don't have a grasp of the nuances of postmodern thought.

But here's what I know: today's Christian leaders, like Colson below, bemoan our fall into a world where there is no absolute truth recognized in societal circles. There can be "your truth" and "my truth" and they may contradict each other and that's okay.

Now, is such a philosophy correct? No, of course not. Most 5th graders can point out the illogical nature of such statements at basic levels. Both Christianity and Hinduism cannot be true in their fullest forms.

But is a cultural belief of "no absolute truth" a bad thing for the kingdom of heaven? I say no.

We have moved away from a society that took certain pieces of Christianity (yes, only "certain" pieces, not the whole gospel) and favored a public, outward form of Christian religion as "the truth." The church typically enjoyed this public religion, because it made church attendance at times a given in our society. That's what good Americans did.

But I maintain that the real gospel--life lived in the kingdom of heaven under the effectual reign of God--is better served and promoted by postmodern thought than by the times of watered-down-Christianity-as-public-religion.

Much like the first two centuries after Jesus' life, in many circles the gospel now stands on equal footing (or yes, even looked down upon footing--oh the horror!) with other religious or irreligious beliefs. And like Colson below, we complain about what is, instead of using what is--tailoring our message and more importanly our lifestyle as followers of Jesus--using what is to move the gospel forward in our world.

Are there those who use postmodernity to say that God/religion is dead? Of course there are. Are there those who use postmodernity to say that morality has no place in our world? Yes. But instead of complaining about postmodernity's unabsolute influence on the world, let's start living lives and speaking words that reflect that "effectual reign of God" and embrace postmodernity as what is. The Spirit will help us make disciples that understand truth is not relative. But we have an opportunity for the kingdom of God to spread that we did not have in a "christian" America.

NO GOD CONDONES WHAT?The President and the Innocent Chuck Colson At the national prayer breakfast last week, President Obama seemed to signal that he has seen the light and is abandoning his radically pro-abortion agenda. At least, that's the only reasonable conclusion one could make after hearing the President, who says he's a Christian, also say: "There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know." So I could only surmise that the President now concludes that "no God" would condone the 1.6 million abortions performed each year in America: 1.6 million innocent lives destroyed. But I've checked the White House website, and it's very clear that God's disapproval hasn't changed the administration's agenda one bit. Here's what the White House website says: "President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration." Well, in one way I'm glad I wasn't at the breakfast this year - I was speaking instead at Moody - because I'm not sure I would have been able to stay in my seat. How can a president of the United States say that "there is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being," when he himself favors a woman's right to have an abortion under virtually every circumstance? How can he say that when, as an Illinois state senator, he voted against the Illinois Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected the lives of babies who survived late-term abortions? When he even had the audacity to describe the act as "One more burden on a woman . . . I can't support." President Obama is a highly intelligent man with a huge job on his hands. I know what the White House is like, and I pray for him fervently every day. But how does such an intelligent man make a statement like this without understanding its implications for his own pro-abortion policies? The only way to explain it is to understand the intellectual environment, called postmodernism, in which President Obama and his peers have been raised. Generations of Americans have now been taught that truth is subjective. You have your truth, I have mine. And, even worse, I can't "inflict" my version of truth on you. The law of non-contradiction has been suspended. So politicians can tell us over and over that they can't allow their personal faith to affect their views on public policy. Or they can take two completely opposing positions at the same time: like believing that no God condones the taking of innocent life and at the same time, condoning-even promoting-the taking of an innocent life. The problem isn't simply President Obama and his views on life; the problem is a postmodern culture which believes that truth is merely a matter of opinion, and that therefore the sanctity of innocent human life is simply an expression of one viewpoint among many. I have argued for the last 20 years that postmodernism would lead to the unraveling or our society. The fact that so few noticed the contradiction in what the President said and the policies he pursues tells me that we're far along in the unraveling process.

1 comment:

Kyle Burkholder said...

wow. great stuff. thought-provoking.

i ask that people merely be open to the idea that any other form of thinking can be beneficial to kingdom matters. our great american/christian disease is simply myopia.

god can use the 18th century fundamentalist as radically as the 21st century submergent(ist) and can use an armenian as effectively as a calvinist.

the lord searches to and fro to strengthen those whose hearts are truly his.