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Postmodernism – world’s way of thinking
And why we should care
“Duke Ellington is dead. I don’t have to believe it if I dont want to.”
– Alistair Cooke
‘Postmodernism’ is a word which simply sums up the way much of the world thinks today. It includes these viewpoints:
- There is no objective absolute truth. ‘Truth’ is what you believe it to be. Something can be “true for you, but not true for me”.
- ‘Choice’ is a big virtue in our consumer society. And choice extends to value systems, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. All are seen as equally valid. Choice of religous belief is by mix and match – whatever you feel comfortable with.
We must present the Gospel differently in a postmodern situation. People may not initially be interested in our version of truth, especially if it is presented dogmatically and without humor. However, they may well be interested in solutions which meet the problems they face in life. An apologetic approach can be valuable in our postmodern culture.
Why it mattersIt is important that we should help Christians (and not least, our young people) to understand the way postmodernism affects the world, the Church, and communication. Surveys suggest that a frighteningly large percentage of apparently professing Christians now claim not to believe in a range of absolutes at all.
We live in a postmodern world where people demand choices and freedoms. A top supermarket chain, which offered 3000 product items in 1987, now presents consumers with 30,000. The democratic, ‘choose your own pathway’, ‘anyone can publish’ Internet is very much a postmodern medium.
It is no longer possible to effectively present the Gospel in the way it was successfully preached in the
first part of the 20th century. Understanding the postmodern
worldview is not a luxury for a sociologists. It must be an essential insight for all Christians.
Postmodernism in Europe
Postmodernism: The Spirit of the Age
Some Christians specialize in thinking about ways in which to relate to a postmodern world, such as:
- Collection of online resources for postmodern ministry, created and maintained by Jordon Cooper, a minister in Canada
- Leonard Sweet – writer and thinker
- Faithmaps – looking at issues
- Next Wave webzine
- The Ooze online magazine – for postmodern ministry
- Failure to engage – repeating the errors of the 19th century church
related pages within the Bridge the gap & Using culture menu links
recommended books on culture, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry