Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Navigating the East German Cultural Stream

Larry McCrary has accurately described Western Europe as a river with three cultural streams. In the part of Western Europe know as the “former East Germany,” two of those streams are almost non-existent, and the third has become a quagmire for the Gospel. It is Larry’s second stream, the post-Christian, that has come to dominate. Several events in this region’s history have served to repeatedly dam up the flow and influence of Christian thought.

Scholarly Slaughter of Scripture. 

This was the birthplace of the Reformation. That is something that is hard to remember when 80% of the population declares themselves to be Atheists and refuse even a cultural tie to Christianity. However, it was here too that attacks began against the Bible that robbed it of a Spiritual Authority and made it nothing more than a (in scholarly understanding, a historically and thematically unreliable)

Political Persecution of the Church. 

Then came the Twentieth century with German “Christianity” repeatedly backing misguided or downright evil political forces in the first half of the Century. Communism dominated the second half of the century permitting some degree of “official church” but persecuting and holding down free expressions of Christianity. Atheism was the official sanctioned “religion” and taught to all East Germans during this time. Today, it is by far the dominant view and accepted without argument or question by most.

Resurgence of Pagan Spirituality. 

Today many East German Atheists are ironically not Materialists. They accept a spiritual aspect to life. While they have unquestioningly denied the existence of God, they turn to old ways and beliefs that seem to contradict their Atheism. Perhaps they do not really believe the spiritual aspect of these “entertainments” but there seems to be a fascination with Astrology, occultism, alternate medicines, Ufology, and the paranormal among young people in this area.

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