Christian Education, Worldviews, And Postmodernity’s Challenge -- By: Bruce A. Little

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 40:3 (Sep 1997)
Article: Christian Education, Worldviews, And Postmodernity’s Challenge
Author: Bruce A. Little

Christian Education, Worldviews,
And Postmodernity’s Challenge

Bruce A. Little*

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

-William Butler Yeats

Twentieth-century western culture has witnessed the effects of advanced stages of epistemological decay impoverishing the western mind. The decay itself links directly to the western mind disavowing universals and obsessing on particulars as the basis for giving meaning to life. Such meaning, however, proves individualistic, relativistic and transient, which turns out to be no real meaning at all. Surveying the historical development of the western mind, Richard Weaver concluded that

like Macbeth, Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient and final cause of other evil decisions… It occurred in the late fourteenth century, and what the witches said to the protagonist of this drama was that man could realize himself more fully if he would only abandon his belief in the existence of transcendentals. The powers of darkness were working subtly, as always, and they couched this proposition in the seemingly innocent form of an attack upon universals. The defeat of logical realism in the great medieval debate was the crucial event in the history of Western culture; from this flowed those acts which issue now in modern decadence. 1

This abandonment of the transcendental, and hence the universal(s), was further excited by scientific progress that encouraged man toward both disinterest and distrust in the metaphysical. Celebrated scientific achievements improved the quality of physical life but led to equating technological advantage with meaning and value, while ideas dealing with the why and how of being lost appeal. Consequently, having overshadowed being and

* Bruce Little is professor of Biblical studies at Piedmont Bible College, 716 Franklin Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.

feeling replaced thinking. Without an external integration point, the western mind shifted from epistemological objectivity to subjectivity and from absolutes to relativism.

The postmodern mind scorns the notion of a coherent worldview or the possibility of a unified field of knowledge.

There is an appreciation of the plasticity and...

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