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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Postmodernism causing a challenge to the community of Faith.

Written by: on February 10, 2020

Human life is about history, and every generation has a point of reference from where they have come from and where they are going. It has said several times that if we do not know our history, then we cannot connect from where we are coming from hence the difficulty to focus on where we are going. The history of human begin from medieval experience to our postmodernism period we are in today. Generation after generation has been coming up with new things and approaches to life from a different perspective but an improvement of the earlier. We have seen every generation countering the previous generations and intellectualism that was there with a new approach to life. Every generation feels it has the best option for life development of human life and its environment. The question that comes out to us that belongs to the community of Faith is; Where is God in all these changes or developments?

Hicks Stephen is a Canadian-American philosopher and a professor at Rockford University, Illinois, USA. In his book Explaining Postmodernism, argues that Postmodernism is best understood as a rhetorical strategy of intellectuals. That is the intellectual world; there has been a changing of the guard. They tell us that modernism has died and that a revolutionary era is upon us in the name of Postmodernism.[1] He raises a good number of postmodern vanguard intellectuals who made a significant contribution to the development of various options and theories of postmodernism ideologies. He describes them as the elite group that set the direction and tone for the postmodern intellectual world. This still brings out the question, where is the position of Faith in all these reasoning. Is Christianity intellectually evolving? The community of Faith seems to be sandwiched in between these theories that are not making any reference to God’s purpose for the world, a theological reflection.

Where is Africa in all this intellectual development of postmodernism debate? The speed at which all these are happening is far beyond what the African community can comprehend hence their strong rootedness in spiritual matters of God. From the time of Reason and Enlightenment, we saw the west grow from the industrial revolution to the digital world, and this has always affected the whole world. When you move across African communities in most countries, what you see is a total opposite of what the west is doing and investing their energy in. While the west is overriding modernism with postmodern theories, Africa is yet to come to terms with innovation in both the intellectual, social, and political development of the continent. This is a debate of another day but is a serious concern as you read what Hicks is raising here affecting humanity. He reasons that Postmodernism rejects the Enlightenment project in the most fundamental way possible – by attacking its essential philosophical themes. Postmodernism denies the reason and the individualism that the entire Enlightenment world depends upon. And so it ends up attacking all the consequences of the Enlightenment philosophy, from capitalism and liberal forms of government to science and technology.[2] When most African intellectuals are impressing this, the postmodernist is rejecting in totality, and this confuses the African community, and we remain to think there are two worlds here and not global as it meant to believe. Africa is left wondering where and what position it can play ion this postmodernism world.

Hicks brings further the philosophy of Immanuel Kant in the picture of postmodernism development. He describes Kant as a decisive break with the Enlightenment and the first significant step towards postmodernism…. Kant marks a fundamental shift from objectivity ax the standard to subjectivity as the standard.[3] Kant reduced religiosity to rationality, religion to morality, and Christianity to Ethics. As this is going on, I still ask the question, Is the whole world moving towards Postmodernism, or some parts of the world are moving while others will be pulled into it blindly. Is this connected to the thesis of Charles Taylor on the Age of Secularism? Kant’s philosophical theory of influence is felt all over. Even while the African continent was moving slow, it is caught in the web of the same. I agree with Kant’s landmark theory that “Truth is an epistemological concept, But if our minds are in principle disconnected from reality, then to speak of truth as an external relationship between mind and reality is nonsense. Truth must be solely an internal relationship of consistency.”[4] Postmodernism is causing a challenge to the community of Christ faith.

[1] Hicks, Stephen R. C. Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Expanded Edition. China: Ockham’s Razor Publishing, 2011. Location 450 Kinde edition

 

[2] (Hicks, 2011, Loc.680 Kindle edition)

[3] (Hicks, 2011, Loc.1138 Kindle edition)

[4] (Hicks 2011, Loc 1157 Kindle edition)

About the Author

mm

John Muhanji

I am the Director Africa Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting. I coordinate all Quaker activities and programs in the Quaker churches and school mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The focus of my work is more on leadership development and church planting in the region especially in Tanzania.. Am married with three children all grown up now. I love playing golf as my exercise hobby. I also love reading.

2 responses to “Postmodernism causing a challenge to the community of Faith.”

  1. mm Nancy VanderRoest says:

    Thanks for sharing your blog, John. I liked your reflection when you asked “Where is Africa in all this intellectual development of postmodernism debate?” Great question – and I appreciated that you noted that Africa continues to stay strong rooted in spiritual matters of God. Thanks for also exploring the idea that some parts of the world are moving while others will be pulled into it blindly. This is so true, I’m sure. Thanks for your enlightenment, John.

    • mm John Muhanji says:

      Thanks, Nancy for your response. It is true that what we are experiencing is a purely western ideology and the Africans are left out but are later forced to adopt. The African fibers of life both moral, cultural and political have been polluted by the West ideology which claimed to be more superior than what we had. Now, this Postmodernism is coming to mean is better than what we already have. Christianity is under threat by proponents of this.

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