For quite a time now I’ve had a series of presentations about the “post-modern/post-Christian” turn in epistemology (the nature and scope of knowing/knowledge). I’ve talked about in at least four states and read more about it than I care to acknowledge.
Now before I go on, I do believe the we have a changing epistemology, we are moving from “modernity” into something that is “post” modernity, though I’m always hesitant to say what that “post” is. However, I am beginning to wonder whether or not we are as “post” as I have been saying we are, at least in the post-Christian sense. This is mainly due to recent happenings in this year’s election cycle.
As you know, Democratic candidate Barack Obama had some trouble with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, which caused a near national firestorm. And even more recently, Republican candidate, John McCain had to “un-accept” the endorsements of both Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Here we have 2/3 of the potential leaders of the free world having to answer embarrassing questions surrounding pastors.
Apparently, Christianity still matters (or at least some elements/versions of it). For instance, 33% of all Americans still, regardless of ALL evidence to the contrary, think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. One many in Kentucky recently said, “Obama’s a Muslim. I’m not voting for him.” Now if you’re like me you’re scared that this man can vote because he is clearly uninformed — or perhaps merely internet rumor informed — nevertheless, his version or interpretation of Christianity still matters to him. (It’s also apparent that is you’ve spent 2 minutes outside the U.S. you’re suspect to some people.)
It all makes me wonder: What is the present place of Christianity in America? Clearly, less people are participating in churches. And certainly, the church and the Bible are no longer epistemic norms for life in America. Plus being a minister myself, I know that few people in churches actually want to practice Christianity. Yet, there remains some relevance and reverence for Christianity.
What’s the deal with that?