Journal Entry-Plausibility and Pluralism
Over the past centuries, religion has played a major role in influencing the Christian religion as regards their belief system, customs, conducts, and behaviors. As asserted by Sire (2015) in his book entitled ‘Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept,’ “any particular religious world will present itself to consciousness as reality only to the extent that its appropriate plausibility structure is kept in existence.” Culture is one such element that is used to determine the plausibility of a belief system. This essay discusses the anticipated different effects of cultural changes on Christian churches with respect to their priorities, natures, as well as persistence.
Influence of Cultural Changes on Christian churches
Over the past 4 decades, the Christian churches have found themselves a diverse and pluralistic culture against their anticipation. As illustrated by Netland (2001), this is characterized by emergence of many diverse ideas that are contending for attention as well as allegiance. He further explained that these new philosophies, ideas, and worldviews of Christian churches are result of cultural changes and interactions. On the other hand, such changes redefine the Christian culture. This type of interaction and progressive cultural changes have created so many effects on the worldview of Christian churches from different parts of the world especially regarding their priorities, nature, belief systems as well as persistence.
The first effect, as explained by Hunsberger and Gelder (2013), is the growing number of pluralists amongst the Christian believers. The pluralists believe that all worldviews are correct and can be tolerated even if they contradict the fundamentals of traditional Christian believes and views. About a century ago, pluralism was not promoted amongst Christian churches the way it is today. During those days, there were strict views and beliefs on some subjects and topics. However, as explained by Aslan (2013), cultural changes have watered down those strict Christian views and perceptions as they learn the differences that exist amongst people from different culture, region, and background.
According to Vorster (2013), cultural changes are enhancing the emergence and growth of secularism amongst the Christian churches. Nowadays, secularism is reigning in Christian churches. As a result, absolutes have subsequently ceased amongst the Christian believers. Pioneer Christians were absolute in terms of their beliefs and views. On the contrary, the modern Christians tend to be relative in terms of their views on many issues such as use of contraceptives, family life, alcohol consumption, use of drugs, as well as evangelisms (Vischer, 2003). They also hold relative views on certain contradictory doctrines and belief systems. In addition, there is an emerging tendency of stating facts only in the scientific realm not in religion realm as it used to be during the old golden days when there was little cultural interaction and change.
Cultural change has created so many effects on the perspective, priorities, as well as the nature of Christian churches. As explained above, two major things that have been contributed by cultural change include the rise of pluralism, and decline of absolutism amongst the Christian believers. This is because as people interact with each other through globalization, they learn to accept and accommodate one another. This has resulted in the loss of absolutism and strict views on some subjects. They learn about other cultures and in the process make some compromises on their own nature, priority, as well as perception (Cronshaw & Taylor, 2014).
Aslan, A. (2013). Religious pluralism in Christian and Islamic philosophy: the thought of John Hick and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Routledge.
Cronshaw, D., & Taylor, S. (2014). The congregation in a pluralist society: Rereading Newbigin for missional churches today. Pacifica: Australasian Theological Studies, 27(2), 206-228.
Hunsberger, G. R., & Van Gelder, C. (2013). The church between gospel and culture: The emerging mission in North America. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
Netland, H. (2001). Encountering religious pluralism: the challenge to Christian faith & mission. InterVarsity Press.
Sire, J. W. (2015). Naming the elephant: Worldview as a concept. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press.
Vischer, L. (2003). Christian worship in Reformed Churches past and present. Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans Publication Company.
Vorster, N. (2013). Christianity and Secularization in South Africa: probing the possible link between Modernization and Secularization. Studies in World Christianity, 19(2), 141-161.