Carl Trueman, a distinguished Reformed theologian and historian has just published a new book which has been described as “perhaps the most significant analysis and evaluation of Western culture written by a Protestant during the past fifty years,” – The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution. Not surprisingly, the book deals with the Western obsession with sexual identity and sexual freedom, that is, homosexuality and sex outside the bounds of marriage.
The controversy over sexuality in the West may seem far away and one wonders why we should bother with this Western obsession? But the reality is that many of our younger generation (including Christian youths) have bought into the same sexual revolution because of the dominance of the West ideas in the global media.
Trueman’s analysis builds on the writings of Philip Rieff (The Triumph of the Therapeutic), Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue) and Charles Taylor (The Secular Age), but he has the virtue of zeroing onto the roots of the sexual revolution – expressive individualism in an age of authenticity. To this we may add (1) the loss of divine transcendence which grounds objective morality. Morality becomes a matter of personal taste and manipulative power games, (2) the death of the soul which historically served as the basis for human significance and identity. Human nature becomes devoid of intrinsic essence or meaning. Selfhood is focused on the inner life of emotions of the individual. According to Freud, our sexual desires are ultimately decisive for who we are.
With the triumph of the therapeutic and erotic, personal aesthetics replaces ethics, and the therapeutic ‘self’ becomes a social construct which may be deconstructed and reconstructed at will, especially in the area of sexual identity. Based on Nietzsche’s genealogical approach to morality and Marx’s dialectical materialism, activists for transgenderism and sexual freedom reject Judeo-Christian morality (bourgeois family morality) as the source of sexual oppression and portray themselves as heroic liberators and champions of human rights. Continue reading “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self and the Sexual Revolution”
We are overwhelmed daily by information overload from the Internet. Brett McCracken explains,
The speed of information today is simply too fast. Too fast for sufficient vetting, fact-checking, prudence (should I really retweet this?) and commonsense critical thinking. This creates a variety of new problems that erode our collective trust in information: fake news, viral misinformation, conspiracy theories, and too-hasty reporting from otherwise reputable news sources.
The irony of the information age is that the more access we have to an unfathomable amount of information and accumulated knowledge, the less wise we seem to become. One problem with information glut is that it taxes our brains, forcing them into constant triage mode and sapping them of energy (and time) for the deeper, evaluative thinking necessary for wisdom. [ 2020 Proves We Don’t Need More Information. (We Need Something Else.)]
It is a strange sight to see some Malaysian Christians getting at each other in their heated debates about American politics twelve thousand miles away. Continue reading “Silence and Discernment in Midst of Political Cacophony”
YB Nik Zawawi’s retraction does not amount to an apology. He is merely offering to substitute an emotive word (terpesong) with a more descriptive word (ubah suai). He explains that he was referring to the ‘original kitab injil’ which was revealed to Jesus without any changes” (kitab injil asal yang diturunkan kepada Allah nabi Isa tanpa sebagai perubahan). He is reiterating the Muslim claim that Jesus was given an ‘original kitab injil’ which is different from the four present gospels and that this supposed ‘original kitab injil’ has been lost.
Assuming for the sake of argument that Nik Zawawi’s claim is true, the consequence is that Muslims, including Nik Zawawi are in principle unable to produce a copy of this missing ‘original kitab injil’. Since Nik Zawawi has no access to a copy of this so-called ‘original kitab injil’, one wonders how Nik Zawawi is able to declare that it prohibits the consumption of alcohol. His inability to produce a chapter and verse from the ‘original kitab injil’ to support his declaration shows that it is fabricated without any historical foundation. Continue reading “A Christian Response to YB Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh”