Monday, July 27, 2009

Answer to Rachel's question, part 2

Now to answer the original question, "Do we live in a post-Christian culture?", by answering with a qualified 'Yes'. If we look at the overall picture of the world, then the trend does seem to be away from a Christian worldview. Of course, some places cannot properly be said to be post-Christian because they were never heavily influenced by Christianity in the first place.

The reason for the qualified answer is that when you look at the geographic pieces that make up the whole, one's experience of this transition may fall somewhere along a spectrum. In Western Europe, most of the culture is well into this transition from Christian to post-Christian. In America, where you live probably determines your sense of this transition. In the Northeast and Northwest, particularly urban settings, this idea of being post-Christian is much easier to see. In the South, post-Christian may not be on many people's intellectual or spiritual radar. Christian ideas still have a high level of influence in this part of our country. So, overall I think we are all heading in the direction of a post-Christian culture; it's just that some are further down the line than others. Again, not a reason to despair but to pray for God's Spirit to move in reformation and revival.


Joshua Butcher said...

Here is what you said yesterday is defining of Christian culture:

"To say that we live in a Christian culture is not to say that everyone is a Christian. However, for a long period of time, matters such as morality, ethics, virtue, were heavily influenced, if not dominated, in the public square by biblical, Christian values. Thus, even non-Christians knew that societal norms had some level of Christian basis and that in order to "fit in" to society one had to conduct themselves, at least in public, by those norms."

I think that while Southern culture still outwardly acknowledges these things, it is also clear that they do not embody them to a large degree. Adultery, idolatry, divorce, fewer children, less investment in children, and so on are pretty acceptable.

Do you think there is a third term to describe the present culture that wants the name of Christianity, but is really very little beholden to its "morality, ethics, and virtue"?

Anonymous said...

very interesting...and Rachel loses awesome points for not telling the loonies that you answered *wink*

Amber said...

It sounds like an opportunity for Christians to live up to our calling and show ourselves different from the world.

Anonymous said...

In response to Joshua's question, we could use a term like "pseudo-Christian" or "external Christian" culture. I think Jesus would probably call it idolatry and I do think in the South the words of Isaiah about people honoring God with their lips but whose hearts are far from Him would be appropriate.