Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Do we live in a post Christian 'imagination' society?

Do we as Americans live in a post Christian imagination - society? Many people would answer Yes. In fact, I have heard Christians say that and ask how to live as Christians in this kind of society. My answer to that would be what Jesus would say and in fact what he said as it still applies to our times no matter how modern or diverse in religions we are. Be salt and light, be the light of the world, do good and be ready to do good. Of course, debate can enter in the picture here as to what is good these days. We as Christians know what that means. So speaking as a born again Christian social scientist, I would say that it means to freely give of yourself, die to your wants/desires and praise God for all your blessings. And, in that dying to yourself, come to accept that what appears to be bad situations for us, is God's mercy and grace at work in our life. Therefore, we are not living in a post Christian society if we as Christians can live according to God's will in this 21st century society.
What about everybody else who is not Christian or deny that they are or deny any existence of God, are they really living in a post Christian society like they think they are? My answer to them as a sociologist is this. No matter how far we think we have come from our European ancestry and Judeo-Christian thought, we still live in it. What does that mean? It means that we cannot escape our socio-historical foundation or default mode program which was written though many many years ago by people still tied very closely to their European roots (George Washington was a British solider in the French Indian War) still stands as a foundation for American society and its civil religion. We cannot escape the fact that Martin Luther gave us the Protestant idea of individualism that being the idea that anyone who excepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior can have a personal relationship with Him regarding their salvation; and the Catholic idea of the victim who must overcome. Both interestingly, promote or stand up for the one 'individual' who by his/her own reaching out to God can be saved; this individual is the American hero, the underdog.
If the individual is no longer important in this country and we become a more top down society where by the masses are controlled by powers that seek to destroy the underdog... then we do live in a post Christian society. If we do live in a post Christian world, then the individual means less than it did in the Christian world we used to live in.

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