Evangelism in this Post-Modern age (Part 4)

Beliefs can be useful yet false; for instance, take the belief in Santa Claus. Telling children to be good so Santa will bring presents on Christmas has a certain usefulness to it, but there is no one actually coming down the chimney. Another example of a false belief that can be useful is the political spin explaining the first Gulf War in 1991. A Post-Modern theorist “claimed that the Gulf War was not real, but merely simulated for CNN television.” The fact that real people were dying never factored into the equation. It really does matter if a belief is true, not just how it makes you feel.

And that leads to another key for witnessing in this age—does the worldview match reality? Returning to the two-story truth from an earlier blog, the splitting of faith and reason: it doesn’t explain life as we know it. From the lower story of reason we are told that we are evolved animals in a random, purposeless world. We are bombarded with evolution from all sides—TV, movies, education, museums, and the like. Yet, in the upper story of faith, we are also told that we should act with dignity and respect, treating others fairly, being gracious and kind. Why? From where did these thoughts and emotions evolve? Why should we follow those commands if there’s no God and all religions, and for that matter, all other ideas, are just man-made stories that societies have conditioned their people to accept? “This is the tragedy of the postmodern age: The things that matter most in life—freedom and dignity, meaning and significance—have been reduced to nothing but useful fictions. Wishful thinking. Irrational mysticism.”

This thinking creates tension in people. Is there a God? The assumption is no. If we are evolved animals, then why should I treat others well? Why shouldn’t I lie, cheat, and steal to get what I want? This leads to confusion and no meaning to life. “It produces an inner division between what people think they know and what they desperately want to believe (that our lives have purpose and meaning).” We turn to money, drugs, relationships, or anything else to give us purpose, because there is no truth—just whatever we subjectively believe. Yet that’s not what we experience. We see designed beauty in the universe, feel guilt when we do “wrong,” and hear about the love of God in Christ Jesus. And that’s the best way to witness—point out the distinction between what people believe and what they know experientially.

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