Postmoderns look for God too

When we moved from premodern times (I believe, therefore I understand) to modern times (I think, therefore I understand), we took a lot of the old with us. It’s true that modernism witnessed the birth of atheism and secularism — those bastions of logic and rational thinking — but faith prospered. Revivals of religion are as much a part of the fabric of our culture as industrialization and innovation, because, by and large, we are still a people of faith. We want to know, yes, but we believe nonetheless.

This comes to mind with the National Geographic’s publication of the Gospel of Judas and all that another apocryphal piece of ancient text brings with it. What’s different this time around is that postmoderns (I experience, therefore I understand) — who are much more comfortable with God, the Holy Spirit, than a hierarchical God, the Father — are deconstructing everything that led up to decisions to canonize or not canonize literature over the centuries. While the institutional Christian church is justifiably uncomfortable with this, I can’t imagine it strikes God the same way.

God either is, or He isn’t, and I think more knowledge leads to more faith, not vice versa. My spiritual quest has including reading that which was read by early Christians, before “the church” decided what was and wasn’t edifying and “Holy.” This included that which was available to the disciples. One book, The Secrets of Enoch, for example, is quoted by Paul in the Bible, but it wasn’t canonized by the Council of Nicea. Other early writings, like The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs foretell of the coming Messiah in such strong terms that it’s easier to understand the general atmosphere among some Jews during the time of Christ. The First and Second Books of Adam and Eve offer a wonderful view of life outside the garden and give a vivid picture of “the Word” as a person. This only deepened my understanding of the use of that term in the New Testament.

So I say let’s all read the Gospel of Judas and all of the other writings upon which our faith is built. Let’s not be afraid of a little deconstruction, for who’s to say that that’s not yet another gift of God to the human race.

Comments

  1. I agree in spirit with the concept of all truth is God’s truth. However, I am still cautious about what I digest. Reading affects you in profound ways. That’s why there’s so much in Psalm 119 about reading, meditating, and studying on God’s Word.

    To read with an uncritical mind is to be tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of popular teaching. I fear that many Americans are not very discerning in what they read and tend to just soak it ALL in.

    With that said, I know you read critically and form your own opinions from that. I just don’t know if everyone does… I read the Gospel of Judas, and it’s pretty clear (the media doesn’t mention this) that it’s VERY gnostic in origin, and its teachings don’t jibe with the rest of the New Testament. However, for those who don’t know the NT, what are they to base their judgement of the Gospel of Judas (and other similar writings) on?

    Just because there’s a bunch of stuff written about Christianity doesn’t mean it should all have equal weight.

    Just sounding off. I really enjoy your blog!

  2. I appreciate your theology, Jeff, but where do you get your definition of “God’s Word?” This is important.

    For example, when Paul wrote to Timothy that “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God,” his reference was the holy book of the old testament. The Christian church has elevated the writings of Paul to the level of scripture, something with which I’m not so sure Paul would agree, because it changes the way we read those texts.

    This is why I say it’s so important that we read and study as much as we can, for a lot of what I view as seed sown by the Sower is being choked, not by the “cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life,” but by the dogma of the church itself.

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