Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Major Stumbling Blocks To the Christian Faith in the 21st Century

In a recent Church History class my professor, Dr. Ken Collins, asked us to discuss a question: In light of what you know of history and the current culture, what do you see will be the major stumbling blocks to the Christian faith in the 21st century? We split into groups of four and five and discussed the topic for half an hour. When we all came back together to share, one topic came up again and again--post-modernism.

Without having the time to go into a full description of post-modernism at this point, let me say that it is one of the premiere underlying worldviews of our day. It involves a skepticism concerning what we can know as factual or whether or not there are any truth claim (such as Christianity) that can be understood to be universal.  I believe this is a very real problem in our culture and in the world at large. I hope to write more extensively on the topic soon, but if you are someone who is reading this and wondering what in the world I am talking about, you should know that it affects you more than you know. If the old saying is true that "knowing is half the battle," then make sure to read up on the subject so that you can have some intellectual power for the coming battle.

Some of the other things listed were:
--The New Atheists (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Dennet)

--The rapid pace of life keeping people too busy to have true fellowship and community for the Christian life.

--Lack of unity among believers

If these really are stumbling blocks for people, what can we, as Christians, do to have a learned response such issues? Besides reading I would highly encourage you to check out William Lane Craig's books or what some of his debates on Youtube, or one of my favorite intellects of our time--Ravi Zacharias. He has published numerous books on these very subjects and has two excellent podcasts: Let My People Think and Just Thinking.

Can you think of any more stumbling blocks? If so, please leave a comment.


  1. I'm one of the very few that actually love postmodernism...I actually think it makes Christianity that much more accessible and believable. It strips off all the weight of proof the Enlightenment tacked on. All you're left with is faith, which is really all we have anyway.

  2. My guess is that you are a Kierkegaard fan. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrea. Your point is well taken...there are some advantages to loosing the Modernists baggage. However, some believe that postmodernism is really hyper-modernism. It is certainly ironic that the postmodern claim that there is no universal meta-narrative is itself a universal meta-narrative.

  3. Ah! Is it that obvious? But my real intellectual crush is on Paul Tillich. I think myth and metaphor are the very best tools we've got.

    (And I agree, many postmodernists are infinitely more dogmatic than Christians. They're just as scared as we are to step outside the scientific method, because they have nothing to catch the when they do)