The identity of a cultural dilemma is the necessary diagnosis for cultural recovery. The prognosis requires the imperative. The introduction of postmodernity to the American culture paved the way to this neo-dark age. The sophists worked covertly, but deliberately building world views contrary to rational thought. The sophisticated postmodern deconstructionist scrupulously avoided the rules for intelligent human discourse. They decimated the Christian world view with the slight of tongue and literary sophistication.
Although I do not agree wholeheartedly with Alasydair MacIntyre’s views in his book “After Virtue” he did awaken me to the dominant forces influencing the 20th century world views in the United States. The dominant forces are the manager, the therapist, and the aesthete. They are the top shelf of the social strata in this country. MacIntyre alleges that “truth has been displaced as a value and replaced by psychological effectiveness” (p. 31).
The imperative necessary to recover a biblical world and life view will require spokesmen who believe in the basic rules of intelligent human discourse. For over a century the evangelical church cheerfully gave up the use of rational inquiry in the discipline of apologetics. Even more serious was the abandonment of natural law. Reasonable recovery along with a new standard in scholarly inquiry is necessary for the survival of a rational culture.
I believe most of the western world is in transit between any number of major philosophical influences. I wrote a paper over ten years ago arguing that metaphysical inquiry had been neutralized by postmodern thought. Evidence favors my theory at the beginning of the 21st century that metaphysical inquiry is nearly dead.
Cultural recovery means a recovery of truth. When I use the word truth, I have in mind a conceptual idea that truth is reality and that truth affirms itself aesthetically, reasonably, and sensibly. Truth reveals itself in beauty, wisdom, rationality, and in the world of sense experience. Does that mean that ethics and morals are exempt from the meaning established for truth? Absolutely not and in fact an ethical system and the functions of morality are manifested (not established) in a reasonable world with aesthetically and sensibly derived propositions.
Cultural recovery will require a passion for truth. We have to remember how far we’ve fallen into the arms of modernity and postmodern theory. We have to remember that our children, with rare exceptions, have not understood or even studied rules of logic. We have to remember that our children have been taught that truth is relative. We have to remember that our children have learned to make decisions based on emotional subjectivism, rather than rational objectivism. Professor David Wells said “it is not theology alone in which I am interested but theology that is driven by a passion for truth.” By analogy, I can say the same about culture, politics, or economics. We must have a passion for truth.
Cultural recovery will require a passion for absolute truth. The neo-dark age before us is prefaced with the postmodern interpretation theory called deconstructionism. It is nothing more than an interpretative device that allows one to deconstruct written literary forms and reconstruct them so that they become meaningful to the interpreter. This is not the same as relativism, because the meaning is absolute for the interpreter, but it certainly seems kin to relativism to me. How many times have I heard someone say that “truth is relative.” Truth cannot be relative. Truth is absolute. Truth is absolutely absolute.
We must understand and teach our children the difference between truth and error, so they may understand the difference between freedom and tyranny. Even the social compact theorist, John, Locke, said “Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right.” If we do not understand what is “right” we will ultimately be the subjects of tyranny. I cannot say often enough that our Christian forefathers were men of truth. They realized that truth was an attribute of God and a gift to the human race. May we all look to the Lord for His divine help, as we work toward cultural recovery?