I wrote this when I was in school in 2009 and reading more intellectual material… Enjoy!
Tonight, I was reading Schaeffer’s The God Who Is There and noticed this:
Christianity is realistic and says the world is marked with evil and man is truly guilty all along the line. Christianity refuses to say that you can be hopeful for the future if you are basing your hope on evidence of change for the better in mankind…The difference between Christian realism and nihilism is not that the Christian worldview is romantic. We should be please that the romaticism of yesterday has been destroyed. In many ways, this makes our task of presenting Christianity to modern man easier than it was for our forefathers.
Then I got to thinking about Schaeffer’s relief that romanticism was dead. Maybe in 1982 (the date of the edited text of The God Who Is There that I was reading) it was, but as it looks today, romanticism has made a comeback in the environmentalist movement and the various “rights” movements.
With Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring and Thomas A. Sancton’s 1989 Planet of the Yearand various other environmentalist works and documentaries, “being green” has become a kind of religion, from attending environmentalist groups to doing community service and other hands-on projects related to improving “Mother Earth” to wearing t-shirts that say “Save the Planet” and “Go Green” (although tons of kids do that just to be hip.)
Then there’s the rights movements, some of which were completely valid at the beginning, and have now snowballed idealism concerning the human condition. The different rights movements (women’s, civil, gay…) have created their own religion entirely: the advancement of their cause.
This mindset of improving the human race and nature makes it impossible for the truth of Adam’s curse and Jesus Christ’s redemption to be understood, partially because culture has moved from having Christian presuppositions to having a brand new set. Humanism comes into play here and makes apologetics more difficult than it was during the first romantic movement.
I read recently in an email from Center for Christ in Culture an article called “Apologetics in the 21st Century.” This stood out:
I believe postmodern people are wary of “answer-driven people.” This fact obligates me, if I truly love the person I am speaking to, to alter my approach…The Christian who is truly willing to listen, and to love people personally, will find that though postmoderns are not anxious to hear “ready-made” answers– they are remarkably hungry for friendships and spiritual conversation.
The point of this note? Something I read a few pages later in The God Who Is There.
Had the Christians understood the message of this art at the Armory Show (in 1913), it would have been a tremendous opportunity to have been ahead rather than to have lagged behind. Conservative theology has not yet caught up. It has been far too provincial, isolated from general cultural thinking.
Being missional includes understanding our culture’s history and present, so that we are able to “give a reason of the hope that is in us.” (1 Pet. 3:15)