Jun 12, 2009

Modernity Defined

Before the postmodern culture arrived on our doorsteps, we walked through a time in history that we call ‘modernity’. The modern era is defined by the period of time from 1789 – 1989. This is a 200-year period in time, between the French Revolution and the collapse of Communism. “While admitting that no dating of any historical period is ever unchallengeable, this one seems to cry out for special recognition. It was announced with such a spectacular beginning point (the opening up and storming of the wall of the Bastille prison in Paris with all its egalitarian fervor). It closed with the precise moment of collapse (the literal fall of a highly symbolic visible concrete wall in Berlin that the entire world watched tumble). The end of modernity can be timed precisely to the exact hour, even instant, of the fall of that wall in Germany”.[1]

Modernism is centered on human reason, education, science and technology. It believes that man with his enlightened understanding and technological genius can take hold of truth. Modernism is the great advocate that truth only comes through reason. Christianity however states that truth comes through revelation. Modernity thinks that if we can prove things by human mental processes then these things are true. “The modern understanding linked truth with rationality and made reason and logical argumentation the sole arbiters of right belief. “[2] Education, wisdom and knowledge were sought after in a huge way during this era. These were sought not merely for the income that they would bring but rather for the furtherance of a perfect society that could be formed through them.[3] The focus of this period of time is on the human rationale. Science, education, reason and technology jumped to the forefront of society and took her place as the judge of truth.

With modernity came biological science telling humanity that she is not created by God but is simply a product of her own choices. If one is homosexual, violent or has an addiction, then this is a product of genetics and environment. The sin nature that Christianity believes in is not viewed as truth. With modernism came the thought that everything is under natural laws and causes without God. Society will get better as we evolve as a people; humanity will progress toward a perfect society (utopia) as we grow in human reason, science and technology.

[1] Dockery, The Challenge of Postmodernism, 23
[2] Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, 13
[3] Matzat, Evangelism in a Postmodern World. (Internet) July 1998, www.mtio.com/articles/aissar2.htm, accessed 26 August 2003.