Lately I’ve been reading my friend Mike’s blog. He is far more of a theologically deep thinker than me, or thus I declare. I could be wrong. In any case lately He’s been really good at answering responses to his blog posts. Something that I usually neglect to do because of the breadth of people who exist on the internet that want to randomly participate in dialogues. There are simply too many. Not to say that said dialogues wouldn’t be good, but rather that I would prefer to talk to real people in real life about the things I think about.
In any case, Mike has been having this great thought process about this concept of a Neo-Atheism and been doing a good job of interacting with people as they interact with his ideas. Neato I say. I was reading a blog post of his that I couldn’t finish at the time because something interrupted, but the bit that I did read was the discussion of atheism lacking an ontology to match its eithic. That means it lacks a dimension of what it means to be human that backs up the drive to do good. ( I had to google search ontology to tell you that. Another reason I made that declaration regarding Mike earlier.) Essentially, I interpret that sentence as why care about people or society if we are all bound to not exisit at the end of life? I think this is one of the problems with atheism. Another one is why do atheists want other people to stop believing things other than atheism? It would seem that the atheist could and should be content to sit back in his/her own supposed knowledge and understanding and allow other people their “illusions” (i.e. Karl Marx). This doesn’t seem to be the case. Whereas people who believe in an eternal creative God who empowers His creation to participate in its own redemption certainly have something that needs to and must be shared. Sorry atheists…I’m not being objective very well.
Ummm…but I suppose that postmodernist thought seems to have rejected the idea of objectivity anyway, but on the other hand perhaps being empiricist atheists you don’t really care for experiential truth whatsoever and regard the only true objectivity to be a scientific or historical one, but then you would be coming to that objectivity with philosophical presuppositions anyway…it’s not as though an electron doing something really tells you whether or not there is a God…Bah.
Anyway, back to the point I was thinking of. The discussion Mike had came to the idea of the metanarrative. This is a key feature of Christianity. I will roughly define it as a story that encompasses existence. God’s story specifically. The biblical metanarrative places our existence and the world within the context of God’s story of redemption. The argument at the moment I was reading from one of Mike’s thinking dialogue buddies was talking about the nature of the christian metanarrative and whether it would be possible to put said metanarrative into a generic form and have it do the same thing. That is where my idea to blog came from.
The story of God interacting with people (the metanarrative that we are a part of) is one that is marked by God’s self-disclosure. His revelation. Specifically His revelation in Jesus Christ. While the viewed effect of Christianity at times does not look different from a variety of other do-gooding folk (bless them. They are doing great things probably the work of God without knowing it.) it is absolutely different in that the work that Christians do is being done in and through the Triune God. The thing that I took from Mike’s friendly thought-friend was the idea of a metanarrative as seen as APART from Christ. As though Jesus didn’t change anything…As though we could just build houses and feed people and that would be enough to sustain a generic rip-off of the Christian metanarrative.
Here’s the issue I have with that. I’ve got to be honest and frank. Either God worked in and through Jesus Christ in space and time and reconciled man to Himself or He didn’t. There is no other option. There’s no “well…mostly.” or “sort of…” If Jesus Christ lived as the incarnate God, died on the cross, and rose on the third day then the Christian metanarrative is the only metanarrative that matters. Any generic metanarrative that takes things from the Christian metanarrative without Christ is dropping the ball. Christ’s life,death, and resurrection is the point where the metanarrative changes forever and the world cannot be seen as the same again. Before one can claim a definitive option to the Christian metanarrative one must first deal with that great question posed by CS Lewis, “Who was Jesus?”
Generic metanarratives that take the manifest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers (good works) and run with them are missing the point. We don’t (or shouldn’t) do these things because they are what simply must be done, we do them because the Lord moves us to do them. We do these things as a part of the eternal communion of the Triune God. We are moved to action and participate in the work of God.
This is the reality of the Christian metanarrative, like Christ each individual Christian must say, “I can do nothing by myself.” We move, act, live, and love in and through God Himself. A generic metanarrative that interacts with the world claiming to have taken that which makes the Christian metanarrative as beneficial without Jesus as a part of the Holy Trinity misses the emphasis of the Christian metanarrative that makes it absolutely unique and beautiful and (by my reckoning…true). God revealed Himself to us. It is by this that we know Him. The apostles told it like it was. Christ rose from the dead through the power of God.
To construct an alternative to the Christian metanarrative that can ever vie for philosophical ground…it would seem that one must denythe resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Yet at that point it would seem that the foundation of said metanarrative cannot fully engage in dialogue with the Christian metanarrative. For the centerpiece of the Christian metanarrative is Christ as resurrected and exalted Lord. The very foundation of our worldview begins and ends with faith, it is necessary to have that faith to see the Christian metanarrative as true, and that all begins (for me at least) with the resurrection. Thus…In the quest to possibly create a generic alternative to the Christian metanarrative, atheists must start with Jesus. Unfortunately for their perspective, He’s not dead.
It would seem that anonymous thought guy has some ‘splainin to do…