I am convinced that most people believe what seems plausible to them. That is, made aware of an idea or assertion, most people will believe what fits with their previous experience and world-view. Truth rarely is considered in social isolation.

In the most recent issue of The Princeton Seminary Bulletin (my seminary alma mater), James Edwards reviews the book Above All Earthly Powers by David Wells (the 4th volume of Well's critique of "modern Western culture"). In the book Wells argues that the Church cannot accept the tenets of postmodernism. According to Edwards, Wells discusses the social factors involved in pluralism. The social setting for multiculturalism and postmodernism. His book points to the Immigration Act of 1965 as having had a tremendous impact on the American religious landscape. I knew this, but the statistics cited by Edwards got my attention. To quote:

Of the 35 million immigrants to the United States between 1820 and 1964, 82 percent were European, 3 percent Asian, and 15 percent were Canadians or Latin Americans. Of those immigrants, 94 percent considered themselves Protestants, Catholics, or Jews. With the Immigration Act of 1965, however, the country opened its doors to the world and the picture was virtually reversed. The total number of immigrants to America since 1965 has been lower, about five million, but Europeans now account for only 15 percent, with the remaining 85 percent coming from around the globe and bringing with them every religion, from Animism to Zoroastrianism. The United States is now the world's most religiously diverse nation.

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A few points:

First: I understand the experience of pluralism to be the experience that lends plausibility to postmodernism for most people. We are aware of other cultures through first-hand experience, or second-hand through the media, and find it plausible that since there are different groups living according to different truth claims, there must not be any one single Truth. As Christians, I think we must respond in two ways: first, within our congregations, I think we must teach and live that Truth finds its oneness and unity by being God's truth, bigger than any one culture and that this truth is illumined through the Word, Living and Written. We need to know and live a Christian faith-and-life view; second, within the larger culture, I think we must advocate the existence of objective truth, even if our understanding only approaches it, never entirely comprehending it.

Second: I am glad we passed the Immigration Act of 1965 and believe our country to be enriched by the new immigrants. We must, however, work intentionally at assimilation, or we shall become a collection of nations rather than one nation. Postmodernism both reflects and contributes to the tribalization of contemporary life.