Monday, December 06, 2004

There is a major cultural shift happening in the West. Actually, the West is going back to join the rest of the world. The experiment in modernity reached its zenith but is now fading. While the West may be entering "postmodernity" . . . the rest of the world never adopted the philosohpy of modernity, though they have used some of the technological fruits of it.

There is some good news about this shift. Modernity, with its humanistic mania, is inherently rejects submission to God. The rest of the world, however, has remained much more open to faith. I observed that it was much easier to talk to pagan, idol-worshipping Africans about Jesus and see vibrant faith spring up in their hearts by the Holy Spirit than to talk to modern Americans, many of whom are Sunday-attending confessors of a civil Christianity. Those non-modern Africans are much closer to accepting the Kingdom of God in their animal-sacrificing paganism than many nominally Christian Americans basically because their worldview already tells them that they are nothing in the world and that they are at the mercy of much stronger spiritual powers. That is so different from a modern worldview that proclaims human ingenuity and strength is the penultimate power.

In the modern West, this mindset subverts Christianity. Often while fundamentalists denounce what they call "secular humanism", their theology shows that a modern humanistic view is the bedrock of their perception of faith.

The hope for the shift now occurring is that claims of human potential and sufficiency are now highly suspect. However, as the history of paganism proves, even when man views himself as being at the mercy of great spiritual powers his response can be manipulation rather than dependence. But it is much easier talk to someone about Jesus who knows he is scum as he offers animal sacrifices to appease the gods, rather than trying to convince someone who is confident that he has struck an accord with Jesus, trading his obedience and religiouslity for a seat at the heavenly table, that he is a pauper and must reach out to God in faith and humility. The gospel is an offense to the pride of this latter individual. Those who know they are refuse receive it gladly.

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