Valedictory Address Prospects of Mission in the Postmodern and Post-Truth Society

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Lazar Thanuzraj Stanislaus

Abstract

On behalf of the SVD Generalate, I would like to thank all the persons responsible for organizing this symposium on “Mission in the Postmodern and Post-Truth Society.” ASPAC-MER has been organizing this seminar or symposium since 1997 in various places, mainly among the SVDs though some SSpS had joined at times. Over the years, we went on thinking that this association should organize the symposiums in one of our SVD administered Universities, so that the research papers, reflection and discussion would be enlarged to other collaborators and lay people. Widya Mandira Catholic University, Kupang took the initiative to organize it along with other staff and a number of students, and they have organized this symposium meticulously. My special thanks to Philipus Tule, SVD and Yasinto Yulius, SVD, for making wonderful arrangements to host this program in Kupang, and also to the lay collaborators who gave special attention to the details of this program. My gratitude to Jose Kuzhikkattuthazhe, SVD, the Area Coordinator for Mission Animation, who spearheaded the planning and motivating many participants to join this symposium. Understanding postmodern society and how it permeates the ordinary life of a person is not easy. The world is ever changing, the cyber world brings with it the Copernican revolution. Changes occur constantly. Thus, to understand the present is a challenge. In this situation, the post-truth society operates with ever-greater speed; fake news, fake videos, spin doctors in the media, political spokespersons and corporate marketers operate to gain advantage for themselves, leaving grassroots societies in lurch. Postmodern society has positive elements as well as negative elements. To advance the Christian mission in this age of postmodern and post-truth, which is rampant with skepticism, narrow fundamentalism, individualism and exploitation, remains a huge task. eople are swept away by the baseless claims of false narratives and truth that has been manipulated. To name a few trends of misinformation: that COVID-19 vaccinations cause autism, police brutality against people of color is a myth, the climate crisis is a farce, etc., are some of the false narratives. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence and statistical studies that run contrary to each of these claims, many continue to espouse these views because they resonate with personal experiences or personal likenings that have otherwise gone unexplained. In the postmodern world, “we are placed squarely between the times of modernity and that which is yet to be complete and unnamed. Making the right choices is crucial.” Christian mission requires discernment, commitment and action to counter the prevailing situation of the postmodern and post-truth society. This is not easy, but it is an ongoing process. If we make concerted efforts and sow the seeds of the Gospel values today amidst this challenging society, we will reap the fruits in the coming years” (Michael, 2020: 237-250).

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