Postmodernism: The Death of God and the Rise of the Community -- By: Michael D. Makidon
JOTGES 17:32 (Spring 2004) p. 15
Postmodernism: The Death of God
and the Rise of the Community
Director of Publications
Grace Evangelical Society
It was the summer of Ninety-Nine. Sitting on the back porch of a good friend’s house, I listened as she poured out her heart to me. She had been dating a guy for several years, but was distraught over the fact that he was an atheist. She was a non-believer whom I had witnessed to several times—a Roman Catholic, nominal at best.
Her words still remain clear in my mind, “I don’t care what he believes. I just want him to believe in something—in God. I don’t care what religion he is—Buddhist, Muslim, Christian—I don’t care. I just don’t want my kids to grow up not believing in something.” I thought to myself, “Well, this one is pretty simple.” So, I explained to her, “Actually, he is a believer. He believes that there isn’t a God. Just as Buddhists don’t believe that Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to the Father,’ neither do atheists. So, if Christ’s claim is correct that He is the only way, there is no difference between an atheist and a Buddhist. Both are wrong.” And so I sat back and waited for the truth I had just imparted to her to be processed, realized, and believed.
And sure enough, for the first time, she knew exactly what I had said. There was no doubt in her mind. With a horrified look, she turned and asked, “Are you saying that your religion is the best religion? I think that’s arrogant. I guess that’s fine for you, but not me.”
That day two paradigms collided—Christianity and postmodernism. So, what happened? And how in the world did we get here?
II. The Line of Despair
Francis Schaeffer in his book The God Who Is There proposed what is called the “line of despair.” He suggests that cultural paradigms shift
JOTGES 17:32 (Spring 2004) p. 16
in an orderly manner. They begin with philosophy, continue with art and music, saturate the culture, and then gradually seep into theology.1 It is a repetitious cycle. A philosopher comes up with a new spin on reality, an artist then puts his interpretation down on canvas, the culture soaks it up like a dry sponge in water, and then culture infects the church. This cycle repeats itself over and over again.
I wish that we were on the verge of a cultural shift—that we were at a crossroads and if we turned the wheel hard enough we could circumvent what lies before us as a Church. However, t...
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