Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Modern Era

Centuries ago, the Age of Reason and Enlightenment emphasized a powerful way for humanity to engage the world. It asserted that men and women are individuals with the power to reason, judge, act and influence. No longer were common folk hapless feathers floating on the wind, buffeted by ignorance, superstition, and blind acquiescence to worldly authorities. We became thinking and self-determining. We became modern.

On a broad scale, people began to apply the five senses and logic to solve problems in the realms of science, medicine, government, education, industry, economics, psychology and even religion. The result has been an evolution and improvement of society unlike anything ever seen before. Scientific and engineering inventions like mechanized manufacturing, railroads, steamboats, internal combustion engines, automobiles, electricity, telephones, airplanes and radio completely changed the way we work, travel and live. Standards of living improved exponentially, so the average Western person today arguably enjoys more creature comforts than royalty did in centuries past. In politics, people questioned the wisdom and validity of absolute monarchies. The American and French revolutions ensued, bringing democracy, human rights, equality and the rule of law. Today democracy has extended throughout the West and into Asia, South America, Africa and even parts of the Middle East. In religion, people questioned the exclusive franchise that the Catholic Church claimed to have on truth and salvation. Protestantism and other forms of spirituality flourished as religion became a matter of personal conviction and conscience.

Today, we take pills to heal our diseases, talk to people anywhere with cell phones, watch global events live on television, use the Internet to learn about or buy anything we want right now, and travel the world by car and airplane. No wonder God looked on mankind as they came together to build the majestic tower of Babel and remarked, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” (Genesis 11:6)

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