Monday, September 20, 2010

Organic God

I did not realize that the roots of postmodernism are firmly in the Romanticism of 19th century Germany (and elsewhere).

"Postmodernism is a reaction against Enlightenment rationalism... and the sense of alienation that came from urbanization. This sense of alienation included a desire to connect with nature. Germany after World War I was characterized by a desire to reconnect with nature that included a desire for pagan religious ideas that were linked to nature...

"This same sensibility characterizes postmodern thinking today which, as I have claimed in another work, is a resurrected version of Romanticism. People want to be connected to nature and to react against the Enlightenment; to do so involves making decisions on a basis other than logic and rationality. Most people would be shocked to realize that their postmodern inclinations are those of fascist ideology which led to [the rise of] Hitler."

~ From the internet article "Ideas Have Consequences: A Partial Paraphrase and Review of Modern Fascism by Gene Edward Veith" written by Bob DeWaay and found here.

If that idea sounds far-fetched, you need to read Bob DeWaay's paper, as it really does help explain a lot. We tend to think that postmodernism is a truly new way of looking at the world. But we know from God's word that there is nothing really new.

"What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 1:9
There is no new truth and there is no new error. The Bible tells us everything we need to know to be equipped with knowledge in both categories, if we'll just read it and understand it. Farther down in DeWaay's paper was this:

"Again Veith explains: 'Fascists seek an organic, neo-mythological unity of nature, the community, and the self. The concepts of a God who is above nature and a moral law that is above society are rejected'" (Veith: 17).

The word that jumped out at me is "organic," which is a term growing in popularity in the emerging/postmodern/church-growth movement.

As in, for instance, "The Organic God." This "video driven Bible study" promises to get us in touch with Mother Nature, er, God as we've never known him/her before. A video trailer on the website plays haunting, Chris Isaak-esque "I Don't Want To Fall In Love Again" music as a female commentator speaks:

"Imagine if we could simplify our faith---strip it of all the pollution and additives--and know God for who he is... natural, pure, essential, organic.

"Imagine if we could experience his big-hearted love... his    surprising talkativeness... it would change us--forever.

"The organic god. It's like falling in love all over again."

I wonder if the "pollution and additives" the author wants to strip out of our faith are doctrine and theology. With those out of the way we can be really free to imagine this talkative God. At about two-thirds of the way through the video--I'm not kidding about this--a rock (?) shaped suspiciously like a woman's breast and dripping water from just where you'd think (pure, essential and organic water, I'm sure) appears. God as Nurturing Mother, maybe. It's earthy, it's sensual, it's organic. I'm telling you, somebody's buying this stuff at $159.99 a pop. (I suppose I must provide a link to the video so here it is. I hate to send anybody around this stuff.)

This is simply one more way to by-pass the Scriptures in order to find a better way to know God. The fact is, though, there is no other way to know him. Any God we think we can imagine or cobble together outside of his revelation of himself in the Bible is a false god. And happily, the true God of Scripture is so much better than an organic image we could fashion for ourselves.


Sola Sisters said...

What a great article, Jeri - thank you! I love Bob DeWaay's writing. It is so scholarly and biblical. One of my favorite quotes from this article:

"After the war, Grandpa Fred became a farmer in Iowa near where his father had homesteaded in the 19th century. On that farm, where I grew up, I learned from him that nature was likely to kill you unless you used all of your wits and available technology to prevail over it."

My grandfather also had a farm, and I know he was very thankful for the advances that had been made in agricultural technology. Technology, that is, that helped him subdue "Mother Nature" into cooperating with his desire for crops!


Jeri Tanner said...

I like that quote, too. The Bible itself isn't real encouraging about Mother Nature's cooperation with us in this age, is it? :)

Thanks for the encouraging comment, Christine.

Jules said...

Just now getting over here to read this, Jeri, and glad I did. This organic, neo-mythological approach is invading our entire culture, and as the culture goes so goes the church. How tragic. How terrifying.