One of the starkest contrast between modernism and postmodernism is the former’s trust in the scientific method compared to the latter’s reliance on personal experience. In a modern world, what could be verified is what was to be depended upon, and everything else was merely conjecture. Rationality ruled and we were all its doting subjects.
Because I fell right on the cusp of the modern vs. postmodern transition, I tend to find myself exhibiting characteristics of both camps. My belief in the benefits of logical thinking is probably my most pronounced modern characteristic. I trust in order, I like sequence, and I consider things critically. When things make sense, I’m a happy camper. When they don’t, I’ll do my best to figure it out. Cause and effect are usually pretty observable and ascertaining either helps me understand the world.
However, what works for understanding the world, doesn’t always work for understanding Jesus. That’s because to my logical mind a lot of what He says doesn’t make sense. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” goes against every natural inclination in my body. “Humble yourself and you shall be lifted up” is completely counterintuitive. “Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth” seems completely ludicrous in light of humanity’s plight. My head can’t wrap around it, and these seeming contradictions are stumbling blocks for faith.
But the fact that a perfect God paid the price for my sin also doesn’t make sense. His bottomless forgiveness is an injustice to logic. His decision to use me to bring Him glory is completely counterintuitive. None of it fits within the bounds of rational thinking.
And the point is this. Oftentimes I use the wisdom of the world to try to justify partial abandonment to God. I think “does He really want me to give to those in need . . . or can I trust that they’ll use what I give them rightly?” I may question “should I really look over an offense or will I be taken advantage of again?” If I don’t vent (i.e. gossip) will it cause irreparable harm to my psyche or can I trust that all is in His control? Logic screams in the face of God’s commands and yet His forgiveness of my sin also doesn’t make sense. My wisdom doesn’t account for an infinite God, His wisdom is limitless. His ways are surely not mine, because they are incalculably superior. How can I believe in His mercy but deny His directives? How can I trust Him for salvation but not in everyday nature of human affairs? My wisdom doesn’t leave any room for Him to work, and is that really the position in which I want to be?