One of the main points of the book I have recently written on the change in western culture toward postmodernism is that objective truth no longer holds the value it did at the end of the last millennium. At the least, this means that the idea of truth itself is ridiculed on every hand. Philosophers like Jean Paul Sartre and Michael Foucault have led us to believe that the idea of truth is a mirage; the only thing that we know for sure is our own existence. Reality is what we create in our own lives. In that sense, according to these influencers, life is existential; it consists of one’s personal experience in the present.
This approach to life effectively eliminates the idea that humanity is accountable to any outside authority. No particular perspective or world view is able to offer any more meaning than another. Every philosophy or religion is only relative to the people who hold those views — not adequate as a comprehensive explanation about life in general. By this philosophy “truth” is merely a matter of one’s own making. The contradiction or irony of this view, of course, must necessarily relegate such a view to relativism as well. But, in any case, this idea that truth is relative to one’s own experience appears to be the dominant idea in the popular culture of our day.
One outcome of such a philosophy is that life is really all about power rather than objective truth. No wonder then, in our day, we see so much disregard for human dignity or personal value. In this philosophical environment, real expressions of hatred, racism and pure savagery are sure to thrive. We should naturally expect to see more vitriolic comments between ordinary citizens as well as our political leaders. The more that people try to assume the moral high ground in terms of their confession of care for others, the more obvious it becomes that they really don’t know anything about it. It doesn’t take long for their hypocrisy to become evident.
Of course, it is a given in this kind of society that religious pluralism is okay. No particular religious view, it is thought, should be any better than another. The role of religion is simply to give any particular group of people a frame of reference for their own purposes, not a comprehensive world view that is universally applicable. Since objective truth, in the popular culture of our day is non-existent, there is no way by which to evaluate any religious idea. Christianity too has been relegated to just one more perspective. In fact Christianity is now regarded as a threat to the world’s well-being because its ideas, it is assumed, have been used to dominate and control large parts of our society. For this reason, many have come to regard the Christian faith as an enemy that must be quelled in one way or another. There are both subtle and overt ways in which this is currently happening here in Canada.
One of the values currently regarded as a corner-stone of Canadian society is the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. In part, it postulates that no one should be discriminated against on the basis of their personal views or preferences respecting race, religion, or sexual orientation. But what if one’s religious views are in conflict with another value? This is currently the case in a number of instances in which the Christian conviction about sexuality, for example, is in conflict with views about sexual orientation. While Christians feel called to respect people who have differing views on sexuality, based on the objective authority of the Bible, they hold that God’s purpose for sexuality has always been a life-long union between a man and a woman for mutual blessing, and for procreation.
Recently, the current Canadian government has made it impossible for charities such as churches and other Christian organizations, who do not approve of abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality, to apply for government funding to hire summer student employees. A recent article in the Calgary Herald speaks of the discrimination of the government against those who do not support its view on this matter. This is a classic example of the kind of discrimination against Christian faith based on pluralism. It all comes back to postmodern ways of thinking in which there is no room for any authority, to which we may be accountable, outside of ourselves.
Thankfully, God, the Bible, and the Good News that came by way of Jesus Christ are objectively true, so that there is a means to orient ourselves to life as meaningful, respecting human dignity on every hand, and offering real hope in a world of huge human moral corruption. You can read more about all of this in the book itself: Thoughtful Adaptations to Change: Authentic Christian Faith in Postmodern Times.