THE POST-CHRISTIAN CONDITION
What is it?
With every passing day, we are repeatedly reminded that our times are considerably different than our childhood days. The way people think and process information is distinctively different than our parents’ and grandparents’ era. While our forebears processed thought in an age of industrialism and modernized manufacturing, today’s world engages information from mindsets powered by high technology, social media, performance cultures (sports, pop music, chic glamour, cinema, etc.), globalism and secular diversity.
Since the middle of the twentieth-century, the last sixty or more years have experienced the hardening effects of postmodern thought, producing a condition of thinking within western culture that is substantively “post-Christian” in effect. By “post-Christian,” we mean a previous generation when elements of Christian virtue were present to some degree in the society’s decision-making, but now are missing. While our parents’ and grandparents’ thinking contained tenets of Judeo-Christian ethics and virtues (producing some degree of order and stability), this era’s post-Christian-conditioned thinking possesses few, if any, elements of Judeo-Christian morals that can structure and undergird life and conduct.
The challenge for anyone today—Christian or non-Christian—is not only to recognize that a different, “post-Christian” thinking exists among people, but also to know how to engage this thinking effectively in ministry, business, education, health care, political and communication venues. From a Judeo-Christian point of view, the opportunity to influence an entire culture for Christ awaits those who use the kind of principles that can connect minds that were previously disconnected from the gospel’s message and claims.
The Post-Christian Condition recognizes that a new state of affairs exists in the twenty-first-century. In the previous century, times appeared more certain or “foundational,” people appeared to be more trusting, institutions were more respected and authorities were more admired. The post-Christian conditioned mindset distrusts belief-foundations, criticizes institutions, disrespects authority and operates with a pragmatic and skeptical view of life. When you add a challenging economy and an attitude of entitlement among young and older to this equation, you see a culture with an existential (survival mode) mindset, wondering if the next pay check will last long enough.
Despite this admission that our culture has a different mindset, there has been a failure—for some a refusal—for leaders to rethink their strategies and methodologies to reach this generation of different thinkers (young and older). The Post-Christian Condition reminds us that people possess perplexing mindsets today; therefore, impact awaits only for those who deliberately contextualize their approaches and tactics to engage this culture in ways that meet them where they are, not where people think they should be.