Metanarrative: the West

A few weeks back, I came across two ideas that I had not heard in a while:

1. Western Civilization in the Medieval-Modern period, particularly the parts that stemmed from the Bible and the Christian worldview, have contributed positively to societal development.

2. There is a metanarrative developing in the West, where we live in an unprecedented time, characterized by postmodernism.

These aren’t new thoughts, of course. But it was who I heard it from that caught my attention.

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#1 was from an Indian-born thinker that began his course of inquiry as he was serving the poorest of the poor in India. Why was it, he thought, that the West, although imperfect, lacked the depth of poverty and suffering compared to India? I actually got to meet this guy, and after whetting my appetite on his website, I am eager to discover more. www.vishalmangalwadi.com.

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#2 was from an American thinker who had some good thoughts. My dilemma is that I am always thinking like Ecclesiates- “there is nothing new under sun…” But what if there is some sort of grand story (other than the explicit Grand Story revolving around Jesus) that is happening?

Just some thoughts in my journey…

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1 Comment»

  T.J. wrote @

I really liked talking about this with you last week, and I’m still kicking it around in my head as well.

Yes, western civilization has done some wonderful things for the world at large (often at tragic cost), but it’s weird to hear the narrative presented not with shyness or irony, but simply as a boldly positive claim. I definitely feel what I hope is a healthy level of slight cynicism at the idea that we live in a particularly super-important time–particularly in light of the fact that every Christian (and many nonChristian) society since the minute Christ ascended into heaven has believed they are in a truly amazing, fundamentally important and special time.

Perhaps we are.


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