No matter ones worldview, truth serves as the foundation from which the individual derives knowledge and then, using reason, he determine meaning.

The English poet Wordsworth gives one example.  He saw truth in nature and used his observations to find his way. We gain some insight into Wordsworth’s exploration of reason and meaning in his poem,  “The Promise of the Rock.”

Sin–blighted though we are, we too,
The reasoning sons of men,
From one oblivious winter called,
Shall rise and breathe again;
And in eternal summer lose
Our threescore years and ten.
To humbleness of heart descends
This prescience from on high,
The faith that elevates the just,
Before and when they die;
And makes each soul a separate heaven,
A court for Deity.

The figure below shows the relationship between reason and meaning in the three worldviews under consideration.

Reason and Meaning

Both Modernism and Post-Modernism share in the view that reason and meaning are disconnected and non-relational.  Both embrace the supremacy of humanity as the arbiter of reason and meaning. Only within the Kingdom worldview can reason, combined with meaning, function as a valid judge of society, culture, politics, morality, and emotions.

Observers of the growing post-modern culture in the United States will quickly see what can happen when personal satisfaction becomes the foundation for reason. Take the average American kid who is told that..

  1. every feeling is valid,
  2. you must not repress any emotion,
  3. and you must do what is right for you.

Now what happens when a friend at school calls him a name that makes him feel bad? It is only reasonable for this kid to…

  1. feel justified in his anger,
  2. find it necessary to express his anger in a cathartic way,
  3. and it becomes totally reasonable to beat the other kid with a baseball bat because it felt right for him at the time.

There is no reasonable moral argument against such action in a post-modern society!  Anything and everything can be justified by reason that is rooted in an existentialist reality. Anything and everything is reasonable to the person who lives outside the bounds established in God’s self-revelation.

No matter how outrageous that may sound,  a cursory reading of the news will show clearly how the post-modern philosophy is lived out by those who chose to abuse their bodies through experimental sex, deform their bodies through surgery, destroy their lives with addictive substances, and abandon their future for the pleasures of today.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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