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Christianity’s greatest weakness today is its strength. 

It’s interesting to see how flaccid the “new atheism” movement is today. While the infamous “four horsemen” of atheism once strode valiantly across the meager lands of fideist Christians, they now find themselves described as “cultural Christians,” even saying “I think that the hypothesis of theism is the most exciting scientific hypothesis you could possibly hold and the idea that the universe was actually created by a supernatural intelligence is a dramatic, important idea” (Richard Dawkins). Why the softening? Christianity is winning.

As Brett McCracken recently pointed out, we live in a “metamodern” age, which means that people are no longer satisfied with the postmodern notion that truth is subjective. While we still hold onto that postmodern creed, we also grasp tightly the modern idea that there is objective truth “out there” somewhere. Hence, we’re not pure modernists or postmodernists but metamodernists. This means that we, like carried-away children, like to make things up but pretend that these made-up things are reality. Our minds are filled with the visions of an active imagination while our chests swell with the conviction that everything we know is real, somehow. 

We live in a world where men can be dogs and the existence of aliens is supported in the same conversation in which God’s existence in Christ is doubted. McCracken refers to an analysis of the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” which demonstrates that the movie’s bizarre and constantly surreal depiction of a nonsensical world is anchored in the reality of family and love—this oscillation between the surreal and real describes the West today.  In this environment, Christianity has an absolute monopoly on the cultural landscape. There is nothing that comes remotely close to Christianity’s ability to hold tightly onto that which is mystifying while also being grounded in reality. 

The current trends described above are the groping for Christianity. Movies like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” are secular attempts at representing the reality of Christianity. The film—through the lens of ubiquitous metamodernism—depicts a world of outlandish events tethered to the mundanity of familial love. The stage it sets is simultaneously another world yet this world. Is this not what God has created? 

Christians believe in another world of the angelic host which minute-by-minute repels the horrific nightmare of the demonic realm as it lunges for the throats of human souls, all under the watchful and sovereign eye of the eternally divine Creator of the cosmos, who is simultaneously one God in three Persons, which are simultaneously not one another but are God individually (autotheos). This God became an incognito human to some, and Lord to others, who was raised from the dead so that His followers might live forever by partaking of His flesh and blood, which is simultaneously real yet just bread and wine. The world as we know it is swirling with a ubiquitously bizarre, yet exhilaratingly immanent, spiritual reality that exists alongside the mundanity of dirty diapers and mother-daughter relationships. 

Tom Holland, in his magisterial volume tracing the pervasive influence of Christianity in the Western world from the time of Christ to today concludes by summarizing Christianity this way: 

“It is the audacity of it—the audacity of finding in a twisted and defeated corpse the glory of the creator of the universe—that serves to explain, more surely than anything else, the sheer strangeness of Christianity, and of the civilisation to which it gave birth. Today, the power of this strangeness remains as alive as it has ever been.” Holland, Dominion, 541.

In the age of the atheist four horsemen, Christians shied away from the spiritual reality of Christianity, opting to rather refer to the here and now ramifications of the gospel. This is not wrong per se, but it is to ignore the day we live in. Ours is a metamodern age which is not afraid of what McCracken calls the “incoherent.” When sceptics ridicule Christians for believing in a God who administers justice through the vehicle of an eternal hell, or in a Bible that seems to contradict so much ironclad science, we should not shy away but lean into these things. “The world is not what it seems, my friend,” the Christian can say with a smile, because the atheist knows—with increasing intensity—that this is true. 




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