There are smaller narratives within cultures and subcultures that are helpful and necessary for normal living. But a metanarrative—given the disagreements, the many ways of viewing reality, and the variety of heritages, backgrounds, races, and belief systems—is simply impossible. Further, it is arrogant and offensive to even suggest that there is one metanarrative.
At the risk of sounding arrogant and offensive, let me say here that there is, in fact, a true metanarrative. It is called the Christian faith. It is a stable, clear, and profound metanarrative.
Or to put it simply: Christians are right.
America and much of the world has gone through a massive cultural shift over the past thirty years. That shift is called postmodern, post-Christian, or perhaps transcultural. Whatever the name, the old and traditional views of anthropology, sexuality, social norms, religion, and culture have been set aside for the new views of tolerance, acceptance, and freedom.
Most thoughtful Christians I know are concerned about the cultural shift and feel, as it were, as if believers are standing by a cliff, telling people to be careful. Those folks to whom Christians express their concern are tolerant, albeit dismissive. Believers stand by the cliff, giving their message, “Look at the blood down there. Don’t get so close to the cliff! It will kill you.” But folks keep jumping.
America and much of the world has gone through a massive cultural shift over the past thirty years.
In the seventeenth century, Galileo was tried by the Inquisition and found guilty of heresy because of his teaching that the earth was not the center of the universe and, in fact, it moved around the sun. He was forced to recant his views (he needed the job and valued his life), but it is said that as he walked away from his trial, he muttered, “But it still moves.” Christians are in that place now. Against an entire cultural shift that dismisses Christian verities as nonsense at best and outright lies at worst, Christians are still muttering, “Doesn’t matter. It’s still true. Truth isn’t determined by a vote.”
The cultural change is a tragedy of epic proportions if one believes (as I do) that the Christian faith is true—that it is not only true but the best thing to happen to human beings; that the Christian faith is about the unbelievably good news of God’s love and forgiveness; that life is not meaningless or hopeless; that this is a way to live a reasonably full and joyful life; that people can live forever.
This is not about Christians being right and everybody else being wrong. It is about believing the right truth in the right way. The most dangerous thing about the Christian faith, for those who believe it, is the danger of being right. In fact, if believers do not learn to live and to speak right when we get it right, know when not to wave the red flag of our rightness in front of the unbelieving bull, and learn to manifest not only the truth of Jesus but his love and compassion, it will kill us and everything we love.