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A Critique of Modern Society
on 17 September 2013
In this book of three chapters Tom Wright critiques modern society and shares a Christian perspective. Whilst it is written by a Christian for Christians much of his critique would be shared by many a thinking atheist.
Tom declares that this world is intrinsically good, created by a good God who works within creation to heal the wrongs in it. In contrast, our modern society is riddled with two neo-Gnostic errors that treat this world as intrinsically bad: (1) a belief that there are multiple conspiracies to keep true knowledge from us, and (2) this world is so bad that God needs to sort out our ills from outside creation, even Armageddon would be welcomed and in the meantime religion is a means to escape this nasty world, which it does not matter if we ecologically lay waste. Note the popularity respectively of The Da Vinci Code, and the Left Behind series from the Christian right.
We are reminded that the powerful use power to retain it and do this (1) by making us believe that our vote every few years is all the power we need, (thus democracy is deemed vital even though in reality a good dictatorship can be better than a corrupt democracy) and (2) by stating that because religion and politics do not mix Christians need not call the powerful to account. But this is God's world, all of it, and Jesus is Lord, not just for personal salvation, but for all creation, and his Lordship is not just about how things are but also about how things will be in God's Kingdom.
Finally we note the postmodern challenge to life, where all truth and power is suspect and relative. In society truth is the other side of the coin from power, so power is wielded to determine what is true, even to the extent of ignoring, opposing or destroying other views. In contrast Christ's power is love at work and is more about yielding than wielding. It is a demonstration of what God is doing - judging the world, not in order to condemn it, but to redeem it.
My only negative point is that it would have helped to have some examples to illustrate how I could ground all the theory into what I could do personally. That said, this is a book that simply ought to be read. Like all the best books it is all common sense and obvious, and you wish that you had got round to writing it. Thankfully Tom Wright did.