Postmodern Deconstruction on a Global Scale

Prof. Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (July 2012)

During the past two decades postmodern reforms among virtually all nations worldwide have rapidly increased. Considerable tension is caused in society as the old order yields under pressure and starts conforming to the demands of the emerging new world order. The tension arises from the fact that many people remain committed to the principles and beliefs of the old order, and for that reason regard the sweeping reforms of postmodern society as unacceptable and resist them. The main objection against the emerging new order is that it is humanistic and antichristian, without clearly defined objectives, and without fixed moral anchors. Nevertheless, the majority of people support the reforms which have already become an unstoppable force for change.

The following are the three main stages of human development which are relevant to a discussion of the present transition towards postmodernism:

Premodern. All cultures moved through an extended phase of pre-modernism, often lasting for millennia. This phase is generally associated with technological primitiveness, illiteracy, and a mystical worldview which gave rise to various forms of superstition, as well as the belief in magical powers which play a dominant role in controlling human life.

Modern. The impetus for entering the modern era came from different sources, of which the Christian religion is the most important. After Christianity was introduced to many societies across the world, far-reaching reforms set in, either gradually or rapidly. Literacy programmes were introduced to enable people to read the Bible, thus giving rise to a formal educational system based upon the Christian worldview. Modern healthcare facilities were supplied to replace indigenous therapies based on the belief in magical powers as the most important causes of disease and illness. Democracy was instituted in the political system to enhance human rights and replace the authoritarian rule of hereditary leaders. A legal system was developed in conformity with the principles and needs of a Christian society. As part of the reforms, a new work ethic was promoted, leading to surplus production, trade, a free market and the development of a monetary economy. These new cultural institutions of the modern era in Europe gave rise to the evolving of nation states in which the major cultural groups, e.g. the Germans, Greek or French people, developed into independent nations with their own sovereign governments. This development model was introduced to many parts of the world, but in some cases (e.g. Japan) only Western technology, the free market system and democracy were taken over – not the Christian religion.

In parts of Eastern Europe and Asia, pre-modern and even developing Christian societies, were forcibly subjected by proponents of the communist ideology, thus transforming them into modern (though poorly developed) communist countries. In the Arab world, modernness was introduced through the wealth afforded them by oil exports. Urban development flourished and a modern Arab culture, teamed up with Islamic fervour to dominate the world, strongly established itself in the Middle East. The premodern worldview persisted in most of these societies, but the oil wealth and the introduction of Western technology gave a deceptive appearance of full-fledged modernity to these societies.

Postmodern. The spread of this ideology comprises a move to establish a new world order which offers unrestricted liberties to people – politically, morally, spiritually, and in all other spheres of life. Political domination by dictators and one-party governments is not acceptable, while strict moral standards are not upheld as these impede people’s freedom of association and sexual orientation. The prescriptive lifestyles imposed by fundamentalist religious groups are also rejected. In the final instance, postmodernism pursues the ideal of a pan-humanism, or globalism, which envisages the formation of a world state. The characteristics of this state are a population of planetary citizens that live in a united world without rigid boundaries, a one-world government that honours the same set of universally accepted human rights, a centrally controlled world economy with one currency for all, the eradication of the gap between rich and poor countries, as well as rich and poor individuals, and the formation of an alliance of world religions in which all faiths join hands with the aim of ultimate convergence under the leadership of a commonly accepted world messiah. Association with one or more of the existing religions, or with none of them, is completely voluntary, while eclectic combinations of religious institutions, as well as close ecumenical ties, are encouraged. The ultimate objective with postmodernism is to reach the stage in which all people will be able to say: “We are one – we have one leader, one currency, and we all worship the same universal God of all faiths”. The coming multireligious messiah will give final expression to this global ideology.

Deconstruction

At this stage the world at large is far advanced with the process of breaking down, or deconstructing, the institutions pertaining to modernity. In the traditional Western world this process manifests as the rejection of the Christian civilisation, or the radical reforming of its typical institutions. Former Christian constitutions have already been replaced by secular or multireligious constitutions, Christian education has been discontinued as a service previously provided by the state, Christian morality is abandoned in areas where it restricts human freedom, Christian marriages are no longer regarded as the only building-blocks of society, national sovereignty under a Christian government is not seen as a non-negotiable principle of ordering society, while culturally-based nationhood is played down in favour of larger geo-political structures which will pave the way towards regional, continental and ultimate world unity.

In the former communist world (excluding China) postmodern reforms led to the dismantling of communist regimes as well as rigidly enforced socialistic lifestyles. Multi-party elections were held, religious tolerance and freedom of choice was accepted, leading to the establishment of sovereign governments in the former socialistic republics that were under the control of the Kremlin. Private ownership of land and economic assets are allowed, including the development of a free market economy. These new states are not Christian in their worldview and public institutions, and consequently lack moral stability and a clear sense of God-given nationhood.

China maintains a clumsy and irrational combination of communist rule and a Western-style economy. However, personal liberties and freedom of choice are harshly restricted by the communist leaders, and this very big nation functions without strong public support for its own government and its autocratic policies. Pressure is mounting between the populace and its leaders, and has the potential of ending in a major revolution.

Japan and other similar countries were propelled into the modern age by copying Western-style economic and political reforms, but without the moral and religious basis for the structuring of a sound society. Postmodern reforms take place without having to dismantle a strong ideological tradition.

Among the Arabs, postmodern deconstruction has been vividly demonstrated by the Arab uprisings in recent times. The modern elite who enriched themselves, were (and are) strongly opposed by means of militant mass actions. Here again, the deconstruction of existing structures and institutions is pursued without advancing a clear alternative, other than demanding unrestricted freedom.

Institution of postmodern reforms

The question that should be asked by world leaders and all thinking people is: What are the major implications of postmodern reforms and what are the major risks involved? The present situation in Europe yields an ideal opportunity for a case study on the effects of the current transformation process. By means of fundamental reforms away from modernity, Europe has taken giant leaps towards a new world order, and as a consequence is already suffering greatly:

·        The uprooting of Europe’s Christian tradition in government and society has already progressed to the stage where frequent references are made to post-Christian Europe. Christian morality is no longer subscribed to, and unbiblical practices such as homosexuality and the wide distribution of pornographic material are rife. Islam is making rapid inroads into Europe, but this development seemingly is of little concern to people who happily go along with the global, ecumenical and multicultural nature of the postmodern society.

·        National sovereignty as a divinely-determined principle (cf. Acts 17:26) is no longer held in high esteem and has willingly been sacrificed in favour of European unity, which will be a major power-block in the emerging global government. The national governments of European nations have already been relegated to the level of regional political institutions which are subservient to the superstructure of the European government in Brussels.

·        The economic independence and self-determination formerly enjoyed by countries in this region have been rigorously curtailed. Many of the economic functions and decisions now lie with the European Government and its affiliated bodies. Even national currencies are in the process of being replaced by the euro. For how long will rich countries like Germany be able to carry the economic burden of the many countries in Europe that are faced with bankruptcy? Who will accept the ultimate responsibility for this disaster?

In spite of measures for unity, there is a very real possibility of a total disintegration of the euro zone because of the high debt levels of countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Several other countries are also economically deteriorating and may soon be faced by the possibility of bankruptcy caused by high public debt, as well as a crisis in their banking sector due to non-payment of mortgage bonds by unemployed or underpaid customers.

However, as indicated above, this is not merely an economic problem arising from overspending, excessive lending and a lack of financial discipline, but rather the result of cultural disintegration as well as the breakdown of religious values and accompanying moral norms. The very foundations of the traditional nation state are being shaken to the core and in some cases are on the verge of crumbling. The fabric of society is losing its vigour and cohesive power.

There are many indicators of an impending socio-political and economic collapse. Together with the loss of full sovereignty there is a congruent dwindling of national pride. When citizens are no longer proud members of their nation who are willing to make sacrifices in building and strengthening their nation, they become disloyal and unproductive (particularly civil servants). Such people are selfish, inclined towards their own interests only, and usually demand the free services of a welfare state, low taxes, an easy life, a reduced retirement age and high pensions.

Political parties find it very hard to please the electorate in order to gain enough support to win elections. Extravagant and unrealistic promises are made, and once they get to power they quickly raise the debt levels of the country to finance their excessive development plans. When the debt level reaches a critical stage in which not even the interest on government bonds can be fully paid, the governing party is voted out and their successors inherit the virtually unsolvable problems which developed over many years.

The implementation of forced economising inevitably leads to an economic slump, poverty, unemployment, public demonstrations and ultimately the downfall of the new government. Civil servants and politicians become corrupt and enrich themselves while they have the uncertain privilege of ruling and administering the country. The electorate also become corrupt and try everything possible to evade the increased income tax imposed upon them.

These circumstances are aggravated by the loss of religious identity and accountability to God on how a person should conduct his or her life. Religious disengagement has obvious implications for personal integrity and the honouring of the Protestant work ethic. Together with the loss of national pride and loyalty to the government many citizens, instead of being an asset, become a burden to the state. Immigrants usually pour into such countries to take up low-paid jobs, thereby further undermining the cultural identity of the nation.

Postmodernism is a sure way of destroying any Christian state which, through hard work and dedication, established itself as a politically sovereign and economically self-sufficient state among the community of nations.

Biblical prophecies

What can we expect in the light of current developments in the world? Here again, the Bible is the answer. Christians who have a high regard for the Bible as God’s inspired Word to humanity are not left in the dark as to where the present radical reforms towards postmodernity are leading us. Biblical prophecies describe the emergence of an antichristian new world order in the end-time, and it is clear that Europe, the Middle East, Russia and China will play a very prominent part in the unfolding scenario. These prophecies afford us with a wider picture within which we should consider the present deconstruction of the old order and the emergence of an ominous new order.

According to Revelation 13, the last seven years before the second coming of Christ will see the establishment of a world government, an alliance of world religions, as well as a centrally controlled world economy which will all function under the direct leadership of the Antichrist. There can be no doubt whatsoever on the literal implications of these prophecies. The Antichrist will have “authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:7), he will be openly worshipped by all the citizens of his global empire (Rev. 13:4, 8), and he will gain absolute control over the world economy, in which only one currency will be used (Rev. 13:16-18).

In the coming new world order, national sovereignty, economic independence and self-sufficiency will be things of the past. The Antichrist will boastfully declare: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.” (Isa. 10:13).

In the prophecies on the Antichrist in Isaiah 10, he is described as “the king of Assyria” and “the Assyrian”. His policies and actions are discussed in the context of a restored Israel in the end-time, when the Assyrian will try to annihilate Israel: “Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks. ... Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian (Isa. 10:12, 24).

It should be borne in mind that Assyria was a mighty empire during ancient times, and the core of its territory included the present Iraq and Syria. Daniel refers to the ruler of this territory as the king of the North (i.e. north as seen from Israel), being engaged in a confrontation with the king of the South in Egypt (Dan. 11:40-45). From these prophecies it is evident that, among Israel’s hostile neighbours, two antagonistic power blocks will be formed in the end-time – the one in the north (Syria, Iraq and their allies) and the other one in the south (Egypt and its allies). They will both try to destroy Israel and make Jerusalem the capital of an Islamic world state. In the end, the king of the North, under the direct control of the Antichrist, will prevail. 

Furthermore, Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe an end-time Russian/Arab invasion in Israel, in which Persia (the present Iran) will also play a prominent role as a sworn enemy of Israel. Revelation 9:13-21 describes a Chinese-led invasion of the Middle East and the Western world. The tension is building up from all sides. Both China and Russia are using the Syrian conflict to confront the rest of the world by condoning the radicalism of the present regime in Damascus, and insisting on its continuation. When all these facts are considered, the uprising in Syria has the potential of accelerating the fulfilment of end-time prophecies on the revelation of the Antichrist and the institution of his new world order.

The situation in Syria is very complicated indeed. Not only is there a civil war between the government and opposition groups, but also a major clash between Shiite and Sunni Muslims (as is the case in Iraq). President Bashar al-Assad is aligned with the Shiite leaders in Iraq and Iran, while the main opposition groups are aligned with Sunni leaders in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. In a global context, Assad counts on the support of Russia and China, while the opposition groups enjoy the backing of virtually the rest of the world.

A worsening situation

A broad spectrum assessment should be made of the current worsening situation in the world, in which the unprecedented economic problems in various developed countries are also related to political and military development in the Middle East. One such analysis comes from a prominent American academic. He is Prof. Nouriel Roubini, chairman of Roubini Global Economics and teacher in economics at the Stern Business School of the University of New York, who co-authored the book Crisis Economics (2012). In it, he highlights the very dangerous situation which is currently unfolding in the world.

Roubini says that a threatening storm is brewing on the economic horizon, and dark clouds are rolling in from the euro zone, America, China and elsewhere. The burden of fiscal restrictions and government debt has reached the point where various countries can no longer meet their liabilities. A chaotic disintegration of the euro zone remains a very real possibility.

In the US, the growth rate of the economy has decreased to a mere 1.9%, and unemployment figures are rising. In China, fundamental reforms are needed in the economy and political system of the country to be able to successfully weather the storm.

Furthermore, the rising tension in the Middle East between Israel and the US on the one side and Iran on the other side regarding the issue of nuclear weapons, may reach boiling point in 2013. The present round of negotiations will probably fail, and even stricter sanctions will not deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Should the US or Israel resort to military options to solve the problem, the oil price will skyrocket and trigger a worldwide recession. Compared to the 2008-2009 crisis, governments and banks do not have the capacity to solve the present credit and insolvency crises. A global economic meltdown is by no means an unlikely scenario on the short term.

The way ahead

Do not be fooled by promises of a better future, should we embrace the emerging new world order. From a biblical point of view it is absolutely certain that the end-time world is not heading for a Utopia but instead for a “great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21).

The coming tribulation period under the rule of the Antichrist will be introduced by the ideology of globalism, leading to the universal acceptance of a world leader, a world government, an alliance of world religions and a world economy. A false sense of peace and unity will be instilled by these reforms, and all the people will follow the Antichrist in amazement for what he has achieved.

But when this new world order fails to meet the expectations of the international community, the Antichrist will declare himself to be God, demand the worship of all people, institute a military dictatorship and ruthlessly impose his policy upon all people.

Only then will most people realise the fundamental difference between Christian modernism and antichristian postmodernism. We are not only faced with a political and ideological choice as to the nature of the world in which we want to live – we basically have to make a religious choice. Jesus Christ was “destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel” and also in the rest of the world (Luke 2:34).

Rejecting Him amounts to rejecting the Christian way of life and therefore also the foundations of the Christian civilisation. The inevitable consequences of such a fatal decision are spiritual blindness, moral depravity, uncertainty on personal and national identity (who you really are and what you should be), corrupt and unjust lifestyles, a lack of respect for authority, as well as unrighteous and oppressive forms of government. These are the fruits of wilful exposure to the kingdom of darkness and allowing them to sow chaos and disorder, to instil their distorted values and to cultivate a culture of sin.

Accepting Christ is the only way of rising into a new life under His authority and living daily in accordance with His divine guidelines for correct behaviour. When He comes again, He will establish His reign of peace and righteousness in terms of the precepts of His Word.

As for now, neither the kingdom of God nor the kingdom of Satan has been physically revealed and established on earth, but both are intended to be in the end-time. We have the choice of aligning ourselves with one of the two. If we accept Christ as Saviour and King, we should resist all antichristian reforms in society. If we don’t become disciples of Him we will inevitably end up in die kingdom of darkness and become followers of the Antichrist (cf. John 5:43).

The way ahead for the world depends on a choice of either returning to the triune God and His Word, or proceeding along the way of postmodern reforms towards an antichristian new world order. No political or economic manoeuvring will solve the present problems, as these actions do not address the root cause of rebellion against the God of the Bible and His Son (cf. Ps. 2:1-3).

After the major part of the world population have united themselves against the counsel of God in a way reminiscent of the times of Noah and Lot, He will remove all true believers from the scene of the impending judgements on earth (Luke 21:36; Rev. 3:10). God will then surrender the wicked to the rule of the Antichrist and also pour out His divine judgements upon them (Rev. 6 to 19).