Murray Jardine’s Making and Unmaking of Technological Society: How Christianity Can Save Modernity from Itself, is an exhaustive narrative that traces the history from early pagan culture through the various stages to contemporary Western culture with its problems and issues. He affirms human creativity and outlines how technological advances led to modern life styles and standards of living unimaginable in earlier periods.
However, he points out that our capacity for creativity seen in this development has not had any moorings to a moral system that provided correctives. In other words, society has strayed far from a central reference point making everything even ‘morals’ relative. Without this particular locus, modern society has slipped in to the excesses of consumerism that threatens humanity’s survival.
Modern society is now seeking desperately to rescue itself from this entanglement and searching for a viable solution. Jardine suggests Christianity. With its high virtues represented in the Bible and the best of Christian tradition, particularly Christian compassion, Jardine believes that Christianity is the answer to the mess modern society has created for itself.
The solution Jardine suggests is really one that takes society back to its original point of reference, to a faith – based compassionate community of believers and most importantly to Christ himself. It is a solution that Christ gave two thousand years ago when he declared that he is Via, Veritas, Vita – The Way, The Truth, The Life (John 14:6). And His church is the only channel by which humanity can continue to perpetuate itself meaningfully and purposefully. Jardine’s writings and other readings from Cavanaugh, Hunter, Douthat all point to this same reference point. In the final conclusion, the West has come full circle so to speak, in “Making and Unmaking” of culture and society.
For the East and in particular for India, that is experiencing the dawn and flutter of technological advancements and a society that is keenly embracing western modernity, its only reference point is Western culture as it stands today. Should it continue on this path, it will live the history of the West. But after a hundred years when it is time to ‘unmake’ and ‘remake’ to which locus will Indian society turn too?
The answer lies with the indigenous church today. Discipled to be compassionate community/fellowship of believers, it has the power to interject, pause and change the course of history for India. The seeds of the gospel sown now and the churches planted “make” the kind of society that Jardine concludes to be the answer for the West today. As larger and larger numbers of people turn to Christ and as these nucleus of believers in rural India build community and an ethic of compassionate love, India can experience what the West is seeking to do now.
Jardine, Murray. The making and unmaking of technological society: how Christianity can save modernity from itself. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2004