Lesson 6: History
This week's discussion centered on the the fact that many of today's cultural deceptions are really nothing but the result of a revisionist history that has removed God from the picture and convinced us that our personal "story" is all that matters -- that there is no "greater story" (metanarrative in philosopher-speak) of which we are a part. The result is a self-centered mindset that is all too obvious in the culture around us. These ideas work into all we have been discussing in The Truth Project and they have been a long time coming ...
Pre-Modernity: Ancient thinkers believed that there were three ways we could know things about the world and our place in it: 1) Reason, 2) The Five Senses (Observation), and 3) Revelation (from deity). This was the view for thousands of years ... until the church overstepped its bounds by becoming corrupt and entangled with despots and regal leaders, especially in Europe. The Reformation (16th century) of the church, combined with great changes that were being made in philosophy and scientific progress led to The Enlightenment (mid 17th - 18th centuries). Along with the distrust of the church, God and His revelation were rejected or demoted to the status of private matters that should not be permitted to influence what man could really know about the world. This brought us to what has since been called the age of Modernity.
Modernity: Once Revelation was removed as an acceptable form of knowledge about the world, only Reason and Observation remained. Without God, man became the final authority for everything. Churches in Europe came to deify reason itself and were renamed accordingly. The Scientific Revolution (16th through 18th centuries) led man to believe that his study of (science), and control of (technology) nature would cure all man's ills and solve all his problems. It was the Modern world that came to demand that man alone (humanism) and science (scientism) held all the answers and that those answers could only be found inside the box. This is the paradigm we've been discussing for the past 6 weeks.
Post-Modernity: Modernism failed to deliver. Some scientific theories (relativity and quantum mechanics in particular) suggested to some that we couldn't really know anything for sure. The great promises of humanism and the scientific applications to politics resulted in Marxist, Stalinist, Communist, and other man-centered philosophies that led to the brutal regimes that killed over 100 million people in the 20th century (the bloodiest in history) and two World Wars. Because of these things, the post-modern world has lost faith in both Reason and The 5 Senses. But when man rejected Reason, Observation and Revelation as his sources of knowledge, there was nothing left to rely on but himself.
This has led us to recognize some of the common refrains we hear today ...
"There is no way to know the truth, because there is no such thing as objective truth."
"Ethics? Who are you to say, or judge, what is right and wrong? It may be true for you, but it's not for me."
"We are not a part of any grand story -- we make up our own. He who controls what we believe about the past, controls the future. Make a "new history" and change the game."
But to change history is to engage in another form of deception. The Christian worldview rejects this notion and sees the story of our lives only in light of its place in God's Grand Story. Our purpose is bound up in His. Our hardships and suffering diminish when we recognize this. Our hope lies in the future God has promised. Our history is His history.