The Changing Dynamics of Christian Communication in a Postmodern and Post-truth Multireligious Society

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Babu Joseph Karakombil


I am glad to be part of this ASPAC MER seminar at the Catholic University at Kupang in Indonesia and the opportunity to share with you all some thoughts of mine on this very important topic, “Christian mission in the postmodern and post truth society.” While focussing on the challenges we face in a post-modern and post-truth society, I thought it might also be relevant to add the sitz-in -laben in most of the Asian countries, namely the religious pluralism. This is significant in so far as it is the lived experience of many of us living and working in Asian countries where religious pluralism has created some of the finest aspects of human civilizations, but at the same time it has also generated serious social and political upheaval and polarization. Unfortunately some of these trends are propelled by political machinations aimed at gaining and consolidating political power. Have the post-modern and post-truth trends abetted such socio-political churning or they are still to catch up with most of the Asian countries? The answer to this question cannot come in neat binaries for the simple reason that it is a complex situation: while on one hand one can certainly find some influence of the post-modern and post-truth trends in shaping and forming the contemporary social and political discourses in this part of the world, one can also trace the deep rooted beliefs and practices to the pre-modern mind set. As Meera Nanda rightly says, “Modern India has embraced the end products of the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment in the west – namely modern technology and a liberal-secular framework of law encoded in the Constitution. But it has done so without challenging the cultural authority of the supernatural and mystical world view derived from the idealistic strands of Hinduism (Nanda, 2006; 191). Contemporary Indian ethos is therefore a curious mixture of religious and mythical flavours that align with the fruits of modern scientific and technological developments. It isn’t a rare sight in India, where highly qualified scientists and technocrats appeal to the soothsayers before conducting significant events in their personal and professional lives. Astrology in India as well as in most of the Asian countries seems to be a coping mechanism for the stress and uncertainty of life. As Christopher French, Professor of Psychology at University of London says, “Anything that appears to provide a glimpse of what is waiting around the next corner may give someone a better sense of control, even if that sense of control is illusory.”


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