A Review Article The World In The Post-1990s -- By: Bassam M. Madany

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 09:4 (Fall 2000)
Article: A Review Article The World In The Post-1990s
Author: Bassam M. Madany

A Review Article
The World In The Post-1990s

Bassam M. Madany

In one of his famous lectures, De Descriptione Temporum, “On the Description of Our Times,” C. S. Lewis set forth this thesis: It is absolutely necessary to understand the true nature of our times. It was over fifty years ago when he gave this lecture on the occasion of assuming a new position at Cambridge University. After his conversion to the historic Christian faith, he became deeply concerned about the de-Christianization of our culture. He called it a post-Christian culture. As a lecturer at Cambridge, he did not leave his faith outside the lecture hall. This conviction shaped his entire career and made him one of the most influential Christian lay theologians and apologists in the twentieth century.

I have been tremendously helped by this thesis of C. S. Lewis concerning the necessity of assessing the basic nature of the cultural milieu that surrounds us. His thesis echoed our Lord’s admonition (Matthew 16:1–3) to his contemporaries about the necessity of discerning the “semeia ton kairon” (i.e., the “signs of the times”). The Pharisees knew how to forecast the weather in the eastern Mediterranean world, but showed an abysmal ignorance of the critical nature of the hour in Palestine during the first century. By fostering the hope of a coming political Messiah who would throw off the yoke of Rome, they immunized their people against receiving the true Messiah who came to save them from their sins. Eventually, the outcome was horrible.

In A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed, and in A.D. 135, it ceased to exist after the second Jewish revolt. Another scattering of the Jewish people ensued that lasted for centuries.

What about our times? Have we learned the lessons of history? A British authority on the former Soviet Union, Robert Conquest, wrote in his new book, Reflections on a Ravaged Century,

The huge catastrophes of our era have been inflicted by human beings driven by certain thoughts. And so history’s essential questions must be: How do we account for what has been called the “ideological frenzy” of the twentieth century? How did these mental aberrations gain a purchase? What was the sort and condition of people affected? We need to develop the history and the nature of the various destructive ideologies in action. We need to consider the history and traditions of the culture that stood in opposition to them. But before we turn to these broader themes, we need to examine the history and background of the mental arena in which the battle of ideas was fought.

Both scarcely formulated f...

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