Home | Course Lecture | Examination
Christianity and the Post Modern Society


This course is worth three (3) credits toward your certificate program.


Instructions : Read the text (below) for this course. Take thorough notes as you read the text. When you are finished follow the instructions at the bottom of the page to listen to the course lecture. After you have listened to the lecture and taken thorough notes, you can take the examination when you are ready. After you have printed and completed the examination you may mail it to the address listed below .

The Evolving Future


The post modern society started to emerge in North America during the late 1980s and early 1990s. We call it the “post modern society” because it is a sociological evolution that is obviously different than modernity, and it is taking place as modernity diminishes. But, it is obvious that modernity has been post modernism’s fuel, and without the historical framework of modernity and the industrial age it would not be a developing organism. We also call it postmodernism because it is such a difficult sociological condition to categorize in a comprehensive title. Sociologists and even theologians sometime choose to render the post modern society confusing, especially when they will not do the research to diagnose it correctly. It is something that is almost a natural sociological progression in the lives of anyone under the age of thirty in the early years of the first decade of our new millennium.

While we can describe post modernism through several angles of description, probably the most obvious description for this sociological mentality is that of the evolution from an industrial age of factories and large-scale production by the masses into an age of technology that can be learned and practiced by the individual.

With the availability of the personal computer and the global linking capabilities of the internet, anyone can be anything they want to be, or go anywhere they want through the medium of technological advances. Software has made it possible for us to produce a variety of products in the privacy in our own home that just two decades ago we would have had to contract out to other companies or institutions. As technology and software continue to develop so will the post modern era continue to evolve.

Obviously, this has a very beneficial side to it, as well as a potentially dangerous agenda to it. When an individual can accomplish more tasks on their own they are actually more productive. But, when they experience this productivity without the socializing affect of group effort and teamwork, they become more self-empowered and can easily fall prey to some format of self-deification.


A Rewritten Past


                 The post modern mentality has a strong tendency to reject the traditional historical past. The past is not rejected factually as much as it is historically, only because of its perspective in how it has traditionally been interpreted and told to us over the last several generations. Many heroic historical figures are reexamined in light of what they actually may have done or not done. This may be expressed in the  examination  of  their  motives and their desired results. Their ethics and morality is often redefined as their motives are often made to appear more self centered or introverted.

                 Examples in American history would be the observation of Abraham Lincoln’s motives for desiring the country to become one nation once again after the southern states withdrew from the Union. Thomas Jefferson is now remembered more for his supposed sexual relationships with his black slave(s) than for writing the Declaration of Independence. Some very strong postmodernists would even question how these extra marital affairs with his slaves may have affected his entire concept of humanity and morality in composing the text of the Declaration of Independence.


               George Washington has been rewritten in American history as a more greedy person who married a rich widow for her money, regularly spending far above his financial means and eventually dying of syphilis. In reality, they are creating a concept of Washington’s lifestyle that may equal the morality and ethics of the vast majority our current society.

Religious history is also severely scrutinized. Christianity has been exceptionally reexamined because of its unique ability to survive despite harsh persecution during the last twenty centuries. Historic figures such as Martin Luther and Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine) are now seen more for their personalities and opinions, rather than their theological dissertations. Luther is the radical rebel that spawned Protestantism. He is often strictly viewed as a felon on the run who suffered from various mental disorders. Augustine is referred more to as a sexual libertine (which he was prior to his conversion to Christianity) than recognized for the vast theological contributions he made to the Western Christian church.    

The Apostle Paul is referred to as the “inventor” of Christianity as a religion. He is rewritten as a man who found his way into Western history books by inventing and perpetuating a religion based on a man he may never have met personally. Even variations from the Gnostic community have risen up to rewrite the historicity of Jesus as a married man who had descendants and preached a mystical form of religion that promoted the divine feminine.

The Holy Bible is perceived by the post modernists to be a simple book of moral values containing legends and myths to illustrate those ideals. If there is truth contained in it, it is certainly not to be considered as an absolute truth but rather as a relative

truth depending on the needs or preferences of the reader. Biblical miracles cannot be proven, thus, they cannot be accepted as historical fact. All of the historical figures whose existence cannot be proven through non-religious historical accounts are dismissed as mythological figures and their lives and accomplishments are reduced to legends, which may or may not hold any moral or ethical value to the reader.

The deity of Jesus Christ is constantly questioned in a post modern society, simply because of the shortage of non canonical historical documentation that would collaborate such claims. Because the four Biblical gospels are the  strongest  voices of  such a teaching, they are  reduced to biased propaganda that promotes or issues credence to that particular religious preference.              

This whole attempt in the restructuring of our historical past is one that neutralizes everyone and everything to normalcy. The major flaw is that normalcy cannot be accurately defined other than through a vague interpretation of a series of poorly exposed equivalents. A post modernist (consciously or subconsciously) desires everything and everyone to appear equal and on the same level. They do not admit that anyone or anything is exceptional or special – especially in the areas of morality and ethics.

We also see this mentality revealed in the way children and young adults are graded in the publicly operated educational systems. This mentality often bleeds over in to various competitive parallels such as the fine arts, sports and even intellectual pursuits. Ultimately, it means that no one should feel inferior because of someone else’s achievements.          


Massive Cynicism


The post modern society contains an immense amount of cynicism that flows from a skeptical mindset. This characteristic can be traced to the upbringing of most of the current sociological participants in environments that were based in an anti-authoritarian mentality. This is actually a typical pattern that the history of mankind has repeated as often as every four or five generations. Many traumatic events took place in the middle part of the 20th century that gave seed to this mentality. Events such as World Wars I & II, the use of the first atom bomb for massive human destruction and more directly related to the United States, the Viet Nam war, were all catalysts in the progression of this mentality.

Even though historically cynicism has had a designing role in every society, the 21st century era of post modernism has experienced this in an exceptionally exaggerated way. This massive cynicism is expressed openly towards institutions, educational systems, religious practices and governmental or authoritative agencies.  

Institutions such as the media press are ridiculed and mistrusted by certain divisions of the society, yet the general population still looks to the news media for “the news” on a daily basis, assuming that the information they are receiving from them is being disseminated to them in fair and unbiased manner.       

Massive conspiracies are continuously promoted by groups and individuals without fear of contempt towards any previously respected authority or institution. We first saw this noticeably drawn to the attention of our society after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Other major conspiracy theories have revolved around the government’s suppression of information regarding unidentified flying objects and retrieved extraterrestrial life forms. Conspiracy  propaganda  and theories are  rampant  around  the  entire issue of  global terrorism. Jesus addressed this particular aspect of post modernism very directly when he said in Matthew 24:6 "And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”

The most obvious of these conspiracies to the Christian, is the most recent challenge to the accuracy of the perpetuated history of Christianity. This is most obvious in the Gnostic revival of the last two decades. Gnosticism works well with post modernism in that it challenges the deity of Jesus Christ by challenging the accurate historicity of the scriptures and the church’s ability to accurately communicate that historicity down through the last two thousand years.

Questions that challenge the accurate conveyance of the original texts of the Bible are more prevalent than ever, especially in light of the discovery of the Nag Hamadi library in 1945. Generally the main conspiracy theory in this regard is aimed directly at the historical leadership of the Christian church. The claim by postmodern Gnostics is that the early church fathers rewrote the stories around Jesus Christ to give Him an identified position of deity and to preserve and enhance their own power over the people that were adhering to the Christian faith at that time.


The Truth About the Truth


The institution of truth in and to our society has completely  been  re-worked  under  the  post   modern influence. We have already seen how it has influenced our perception of literal history. But one must see how the post modern perception of truth influences our worldviews and our basic philosophy of living.     

In the post modern society truth is considered to be relevant and not absolute in its very nature. Thus, if truth is relevant, one can perceive and apply truth to his or her life as they so desire, if they so desire. Relevant truth is flexible and/or deniable. Absolute truth is permanent, immutable and exclusive.  

What the post modernist rejects is that if there is an existing absolute truth, there must also be a parallel and definable falsehood. If there is a right or correct morality or ethical action, then there must also be a wrong or incorrect morality or ethical action. This means that everything cannot be equal in value. It also means that to share ideologies or specific truths in one arena of life, religion or philosophy is theoretically impossible. Someone would have to be completely right and someone else would have to be totally wrong.

So how does post modernism deal with this philosophical and sociological dilemma? Post modernism wraps the philosophical blanket of tolerance around the whole issue of truth. This creates an environment and philosophy that says, “I’m ok – you’re ok.” or “if that works for you – that’s fine, but this works for me.” This mentality attempts to remove the exclusive nature of truth. This cannot be done in the sin-tainted mind of man without some measure of bias. Thus, there cannot be a pure and undefiled format of tolerance. At the conclusion of this thought and process, someone, something or some circumstance must be lessened, diminished or even persecuted to some extent.

Jesus tells us in John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father (God), but through Me.” This statement is extremely exclusive in both its theology and philosophy. It cuts deeply against the post modern mindset. Jesus is saying that He is the truth. He is not saying that he is an optional or potential truth. He is claiming to be, hold and portray the very essence of truth. He is also saying that He is the only and exclusive bridge between God and mankind. In a highly influenced post modern society, this projection by Jesus is simply not acceptable or to some even comprehendible.  

Nevertheless, because the truth is the truth, and the truth cannot be changed warped or disfigured, what Jesus said to His disciples in this verse has remained viable and life transforming throughout the past two millenniums. Jesus is the expression of God’s truth for our lives. 


The Sociological Predicament


The last concept of post modernism that we will discuss is the aspect of the individual. We have discussed this somewhat earlier in this document, but it must be defined with more accuracy to understand this strong influence and mentality that our society inflicts on us.

With all of the technology and intellectual influences of our society, it becomes exceptionally easy for someone to become a mental isolationist. In some instances these influences lead the individual into a state of literal isolation. One who is mentally isolated compartmentalizes their life issues and circumstances into self-discerning grids of understanding. He or she derives their own unique “world view” and usually out of an externally imposed tolerant mentality keeps it within themselves as the standard by which their words and actions are influenced.   

In this mindset it is exceptionally easy to become the master of our own destiny rather than to seek and submit to God’s plan for our lives. In this thought pattern it becomes far too easy to live out the philosophy of the first fallen God created being, Lucifer, when he said “I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:14

It is only Jesus Christ who can save us from ourselves in this consuming internal and sociological predicament. Through His sinless life, His death, burial and His bodily resurrection, He has provided a way for each one of us individually to experience the truth of His eternal life and for us to live together as one body functioning to perpetuate the gospel of Jesus Christ in our culture and society, as well as in the next generation.

The Apostle Paul, through the  inspiration  of the Holy Spirit must have unknowingly looked down through the corridors of time and saw our post modern sociological influences when he wrote this passage to the Romans. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:2-5 If we are part of the body of Jesus Christ here on earth, we must not think like our culture and our society, but perceive the world as Jesus did. If we truly see ourselves in the light of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we will be able to functionally transmit the gospel in this post modern world, as many distinct members unified in one faith based solely and completely in Jesus Christ.            

Please click on the link at the top of this page to listen to the course lecture.

Central Institute of Theological Studies


P.O. Box 750491 Dayton, Ohio 45475