Have you ever heard this line before? “Look, I appreciate what you are telling me and I’m glad that is what you believe, but that’s cool that is your truth, but it isn’t mine.” or “all paths lead to a God” This is a postmodern thought process where one declares that truth is determined by the individual, but if this is confronted with love and grace, it is a worldview that can be easily dismissed.
As Vintage Church wraps up our series, 1More, I thought it would be helpful for the body to be able to understand a common worldview that we face in our time. College professors, public school systems, celebrities, and even some mainline protestant denominations toe the line of postmodernism. I grew up in Sunday school in the Methodist church in the early 90s being asked, “what does this Bible verse mean to you?” As we look to invest in the next generation we must accept the reality that only half of millennials believe in God,1 which creates a moral dilemma and asks who has ultimate authority. Most of the time the answer is “ourselves." Before we dig, in I think it may be helpful to first base our discussion on a verse in Scripture which is more relevant today than it has ever been: Romans 1:18-32. Reading these verses, it becomes completely apparent we are living in a modern-day Rome where the culture is telling us we are our own gods and we answer to no one postmodernism perpetuates that line of thinking. So, what exactly is postmodernism?
What is Postmodernism?
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Postmodernism as
In Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.2
One of the greatest cultural apologists of our time, Ravi Zacharias, says postmodernism is more of a mood than a movement, started in the Garden of Eden, where we decided we hate absolutes and tried to define good vs. evil.3 One of the ways that we can live in this, is by dismissing authority in our lives and claiming that truth is for each one of us to decide. Postmodernism uses its logic attempting to promote harmony among all people by declaring no one is wrong, but it commits logical suicide when properly thought out. Truth is the enemy of autonomy and autonomy is what our flesh desires so inherently. Ultimately when we stand on a statement of truth we are labeled as “close-minded,” “intolerant,” and “archaic” because people are afraid of losing autonomy.
Is There Really Such Thing as Truth?
Does 3x2= 876? Is it okay for ISIS to commit mass genocide and rape young girls? Is trafficking children for sex okay? Would I be labeled "intolerant” or “archaic” if I was utterly against these things? No, we wouldn’t because we believe that these things are immoral. By stating that these are wrong, we are making a statement of moral truth. The Pacific Ocean is not dry desert; the Sahara desert is not an ocean. The sun is not a ball of ice and Antarctica is not a gaseous island completely on fire. Mardi Gras colors are not Red, White, and Blue, and last I checked, the New Orleans Saints are not going to win the Super bowl in 2016. When sharing the gospel with a postmodern, the goal is not to get in a circular argument but establish that there is such thing as truth. Once that has been established, share your faith and let the Holy Spirit work. The message of the gospel is fundamentally making a statement of truth. One person must be wrong and one person must be right. Both cannot occur. Once someone has to face the fact someone is wrong, there are only two paths to take. One is that Jesus is who he said he is, God, and is the only way (John 14:6), which changes everything. Or Jesus was not God and was a liar. God or moral maniac, which is it?
So What Now?
I want to make it abundantly clear that it is not human reasoning that changes hearts. It is only the Holy Spirit who makes an unbeliever turn from him/herself and believe upon the message of the gospel, but the more connected and educated people become, the more you will have to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). A good understanding of God and his attributes go a long way in understanding your own faith. Read your Bible, dive into good books, listen to gospel-centered podcasts, and grow in your own faith. Then encourage your friend to do the same. Ask questions, think, and search out who God is, but be present along the way. People are not projects, but souls to be loved. This is how God designed for us to reach the nations
All roads do indeed lead to God. One day we will all be judged by one God; however, there is only one way to grace, forgiveness, and answer to our truth searching hearts.