Cultural Trends

WORLD’s 2014 anti-science list

"The Daily Beast ...gave WORLD a distinguished third place on a list of 'top 10 anti-science salvos of 2014' for our November coverage of The BioLogos Foundation....for daring to question the scientific orthodoxy of Darwinism. ... we want to contribute to the effort to keep research on the straight and narrow. Here’s our own list of seven unscientific claims from the past year."

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Postmodernism 3 - Characteristics

From Sunesis. Posted with permission. Read the series.

Gene Veith identifies a series of characteristics held by most expressions of postmodernism.

Social Constructivism. Meaning, morality and truth do not exist objectively. This is at the heart of the postmodernist worldview. Truth, with its attendant concepts of meaning and morality, are “constructed” by society. Everything centers around the story that the community has created to establish its validity. The community in which a person places himself creates their own versions of these things. Thus, what is truth for one group is not necessarily truth for another. Rewriting history for the good of the “story” is the basis of truth.

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Postmodernism - An Introduction

Posted with permission from Sunesis.

We live in a society dominated by a philosophy of change, a departure from human values, and the rise of anti-authoritarianism. We hear “post” frequently in terms such as post-Christian, post-liberal, and post-conservative; this is also a time of globalism and neo-paganism. Philosophers call the philosophy of this age Postmodernism. Before we look at just what this movement is all about, and how it affects each of us today, a little history is appropriate.

Premodernism was the worldview (whether people understood it as such or not) dominated by authority (in the West this authority was the Catholic Church) and a respect for that authority. It routinely included a belief in a deity and man’s responsibility toward that deity. Angels and demons, the miraculous, and the spiritual were an assumed part of life.

Modernism followed. With the Enlightenment of the 17th century came the rejection of the authority of tradition in favor of human reason and natural science. The autonomous human was the source of meaning and truth, and human ability became the god of this age. There were good things that came from the Enlightenment. It was foundational to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights. It broke the power of Catholicism in Europe. It restored dignity to the individual. Modernism, however, had significant problems. It assumed that man could do anything, including putting himself on the moon and launching himself into the universe. Thus Star Trek became the ultimate in modernist scientific thinking—man could even overcome the laws of physics. With the rise of reason and science, however, came a rejection of the miraculous. There could still be a god, if man felt he needed one, but it would have to be a god subject to the laws of physics and nature. Deism rose at about the same time as Modernism. It was a good fit, for the god of the Deist was one who set in motion the universe as we know it and left it to itself. In the modern worldview, there was a confidence that truth could be discovered and demonstrated as true. The debates, therefore, centered on metaphysical realities—is there a God or is there not? Is Jesus God or is he not? Did miracles happen or did they not? In these debates, it was assumed that there was a definitive answer which could be demonstrated by science, reason, and argumentation. Baptist individualism rose, especially in America, with the rise of the emphasis on the person. For Baptists (and others in the New World), meaning and truth were based on the human conscience and intellect informed by biblical truth. Bible believers were unwilling to give up the God of the Bible or His truth, but the interpretation of that truth was no longer based in tradition.

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Book Review - The Great Evangelical Recession

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The sands are shifting. The times are changing. And like an ant on the edge of a sand trap, the American Church can sense something is happening. Ask any observer of evangelicalism—inside the Church or out—and you will hear some explanation for the problem. Some point to our own failings, and others point at the encroaching tide of secularism. It’s our smug self-satisfaction, or it’s the bold advance of the homosexual agenda. But something is wrong, and change is afoot.

Although many recognize that times are changing, few see anything as dramatic as a recession on the church’s horizon. But this is exactly what author John S. Dickerson expects. His book The Great Evangelical Recession paints a stark picture of what the American church will face in the next 20 years. Dickerson draws on his experience as a first-rate journalist as he uncovers six trends which together spell the end of church as we know it. And by the end of the first half of his book, the reader will be convinced that, whether we like it or not, change is coming. But Dickerson is more than just a journalist: he is also the senior pastor of a growing church in Arizona. He offers the church six corresponding solutions to the big trends that are targeting us as Christians in the 21st Century. And while his solutions are not easy, they have the potential to transform the church in ways that will enable it to stay true to its mission no matter how devastating the cultural changes may be.

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