Living with “limited human understanding” has not been a very popular concept in the past couple of hundred years.  The enlightenment project and Rationalism of the 18th century and the scientific method of the 19th  and 20th  centuries were supposed to have saved the world from limited human understanding.

Those centuries of progress were supposed to have removed mans minority.  For example, a minor is one who is incapable of making legally binding decisions, because his or her understanding is limited.  So when one comes of age his or her understanding is no longer limited.  It was said by the advocates of modernity that man was no longer a minor, but was capable of saving himself. 

Do you suppose rationalism and the scientific method are the reasons we have so many brilliant people in the world today?  Humanity has not been restored.  Ignorance abounds as skepticism prevails.  Inconsistent and fallacious reasoning is rampant.  The modern man in the postmodern western world, saturated with industrialism and technology, is not happier today than he was 300 years ago.  In fact the most part of the enlightened modern world is topsy turvey. 

Now postmodern man has emerged to save us from the modern man.  The postmodern man says there is no such thing as absolute truth.  The postmodern interpretive theory is simple.  “All you have to do is redefine your terms.”  It’s all in the metanarrative.

In a popular academic work by Steven Conner there is a quote by a postmodern liberal named Michael Ryan.  He said:

Rather than being expressive representations of a substance taken to be prior, cultural signs become instead active agents in themselves, creating new substances, new social forms, new ways of acting and thinking, new attitudes, reshuffling the cards of ‘fate’ and ‘nature' and social 'reality’.  It is on this margin that culture, seemingly entirely autonomous and detached, turns around and becomes a social and material force, a power of signification that discredits all claims to substantive grounds outside representation and this discrediting applies to political institutions, moral norms, social practices and economic structure. (Postmodernist culture, p. 225)


The postmodern culture says God is dead; therefore we have to reshuffle the cards of fate, nature, and reality.  The deck of cards according to the postmodern agenda plays out this way; political institutions, moral norms, social practices, and economic structures are signified by our culture and expressed by representatives of that culture.  Alasdair MacIntyre, in his book, After Virtue, identified the cultural representatives in three categories.  They are the manager, therapist, and aesthete.  They represent the cultural elites and everyone follows their lead.  Managers have authority in public life, therapists have influence in personal life and the aesthete resonates alleged beauty in modern media.  These cultural representatives are modern sophists.  Their social engineering is deceptive at the root. 

The expressions of our cultural dilemma are noticed when it used to be that we heard of adults committing suicide, but now that is a common practice among teenagers.  Saving owls is more important than saving babies.  Where will it all end?

The reason for all this is that “limited human understanding” cannot satisfy the deepest yearnings in the human soul.  The enlightenment failed to satisfy the soul. The scientific method is useful, but it is limited.   Consumerism fails to satisfy the dependent culture.  Our society is drowning in its own foolishness.  The restoration of society must begin with the church.  The syndicated columnist, Charley Reese, has said, “Religious beliefs have political and social consequences.”

If Christians expect to see an improvement in civil, cultural and moral standards, then they must first seek reformation in the church.  Today the culture dictates to the church.  If we ever expect to see any reformation in the culture, it must begin in the church.