“Cogito ergo sum.” (I think therefore I exist.)—Rene Decartes
“Cogito ergo sum…, cogito.” (I think therefore I exist…, I think.)—unknown, I think
By now you’re probably thinking—
“Okay, are you suggesting that the way Christians have thought about their faith for hundreds of years no longer fits this postChristian culture? And what about this non-propositional Truth stuff? This is getting more than a little weird.” And you’d be right.
Actually, all Christians throughout history have articulated their faith differently, depending upon individual cultural setting. Some expressions are more experiential than theological; some are more communally based than hierarchical; some have a minimal understanding of the theology of their faith but hold a deep commitment to Christ in what theydo know. So as we rethink the thinking about our faith in early 21st Century North American culture, we must be careful to not create an assumption that things “have always been the same.” They have not. We must to be willing to reexamine our present-day view of the Christian faith and how it is expressed and understood in this generation.
“Two different worlds…, we live in two different worlds.”
Any assertion of “Absolute Truth” accepted broadly in the Modern Era (1450-1970) is now met with skepticism, if not blatant disdain. TRUTH is what you decide it is. Thank God the people who engineer our cars and airplanes and computers haven’t given into this fallacy. At the same time, Christians have known for two millennia that Truth is as muchPersonal as it is Propositional. When Christ said “I am the way, the Truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me,.” [John 14:6] he pretty much wrapped it up within his Person.
But postChristians weave a web of thoughts & ideas & life philosophies that don’t necessarily need to hang together in any cohesive manner. They just are— existing in-and-of their self, to be accessed when needed to prove a point, solve a mental problem, or cope with a stressful life situation. Other than that, the ideas, intuitions, reflections or beliefs sit unattended and dormant while life goes on, waiting for something to happen (as opposed to making something happen) to awaken a need for their resurgence.
For postChristians, truth exists in relationship; and in many respects they are right. This ideology can help them relate to the Truth, for Truth is found in a relationship with Christ, and with this world the way he set it up. Remember the movie Gravity? Einstein got so much so right.
Now, in a very real sense, the whole process of thinking has been rethought. In the logical universe of the Modern era, things had to make sense logically-sequentially, supporting the discoveries of science and the dictates of logic. That is no longer the case: our trust in reason and logic to provide us with the answers to life’s riddles and mysteries is, for the most part, gone (albeit some still believe “Science” will answer ALL our questions about life…, eventually). Still, there is a logic to postChristian thought. It is based in life experience, in intuition, and in relationship.
Christian thought has always been tied to the person of Jesus Christ. So, in every sense of the word, Christian Truth must be logical, personal & relational, wrapped around the work of Christ on the Cross; the final barrier keeping us from reestablishing a relationship with the Father could be eliminated. He paid the penalty to satisfy the consequences of breaking God’s law, of stepping outside of his perimeters of protection for us; thus there is now a possibility that we can be made whole again, in full, rich relationship with the God who made us, and with the world around us. If that doesn’t kick ass I don’t know what does!
In a very real sense, Truth must be as much Personal as it is Propositional to make everything work
NEXT— Of Passion & Propositions: growing a non-balanced faith.
Think about it. Or, er, rethink about it.