Humanist Consumer narrative
The humanist consumer narrative attaches importance and value to consumption in terms of possession of goods and services which essentially comes down to wealth. The postmodern society has been shaped alongside this narrative and education is the greatest mirror of the narrative. Ownership is given prominence and the more one owns the more he or she is regarded a winner and everyday people struggle to consume as much as they can afford, never getting satisfied and always struggling to afford. Those who cannot afford, hence cannot own are often considered losers in the eyes of the winners-able consumers. For Christians, this becomes complicated because Christians have the obligation of holding onto values and principles that address the real reflection of life and what things are important to human life. Christian values and doctrines do not subscribe to the humanist consumer narrative or state of affairs but rather has deep orientation in standards that are genuine, necessary and truly virtuous in the eyes of God. These standards are maintained through the extensive Christian teachings which give prominence to humility and satisfaction of the heart rather than the body. When Christians find themselves in a modern platform where humanist consumerism drives almost everyone’s life, in fact including most of the ever dedicated Christians, then the intersection between Christian values and the demands of life result in a crossroad which leaves a complicated view.
Fundamentally, worldviews can be set on grounds of mission and gospel but the two confusing crossroads are vivid in the current society. On one extreme is the creation story, fall and redemption while on the other extreme is the modern narrative/story. Cultural engagement as the bedrock of worldviews from the perspective of Christians is crucial in facilitating the best means of accomplishing the mission tasks here in the world. That the roots of modernism and post modernism are attributed to Christianity is a factor that adds to the tasks that Christians must embody despite the mixing that eventually led to grace and nature. That the world would be better solely through science does not hold considerable strength especially considering the invisible hand of God in everything that happens. The search for the ultimate way to be faithful in existence with culture’s relevance will inevitably continue to portray a form of contest that calls for more direction which is a possibility. The original design of creation seems to have been misguided through the idolatry embedded in cultural sentiments but still the potential of the Godly line is full of opportunities open for everyone to explore and make maximum use of. This applies to all people wherever they are in life in terms o f place and situation. The clear picture is that it is possible to redirect energies to good in the various forms of modern setting that takes different shapes like business, creativity, politics, sports and art among many others.
The humanist consumer narrative can be seen in application across the world over. In many families, children are brought up under environments that bear more exposure to consumer-related tendencies even than Godly foundations. Even in Christian families, the situation is not any different. Children are first exposed to fancy goods and services way before they start to have a clue of who God really is. By the time children gain some slight understanding of who God really is, they already know where to get the best hamburger, the best fashion line in town, the best television program, best phone, computer or laptop. It therefore becomes easy to agree with the fact that there has been some gradual fundamental change whose consequence is a crossroad where Christians now find themselves in a tight fix, not knowing which road to follow. Both roads present wonderful promises with overflowing goodness at a glance. No one chooses to own less and nobody would ever choose not to consume as much as possible. However, the truth will always remain to be the truth regardless of what views people hold from time to time. It is a fact that there are certain fundamental realities of Christianity that have been put to rest in pursuit of consumer satisfaction. This is at the expense of the true treasure inherent in following the principles of Christianity.
As Goheen and Bartholomew argue it out, Christians are caught up at the intersection between the bibilical outline and the western path which is all about humanity in the modern era where things are defined and driven by human ability. While Christians represent a wide community that believes in the bible as the true source of the world order and analogy, they also find themselves as part of the western accord which has transformed the world in ways that look astounding in the face of humanity. It is this transformation that has contributed a fair share of the intersection that has now yielded the crossroads. This is an environment that produces ultimate pressure for Christians so much as not to be sure whether right or left. The observation is imaginably right that it is impossible indeed for Christians to opt out of this narrative and take fully the bible narrative. True, this would mean disappearing from the face of the earth to some unknown miraculous place that will provide life purely on the basis of the bible story of the world. Since Christians must continue to stay synchronized in the bible directions and at the same time interact with the demands and occurrences of postmodern views, a clever choice of steps has to be made strategically. But how? And which way? These are the questions that stand at the crossroad.
Apparently there are cases where a number of Christians have abandoned either narrative in preference of one that they find appropriate to adopt in their lives. There are also numerous instances where Christians will try to balance between the two paths but this ends up in even more confusion. For most Christians, it is wise to do their best and keep life moving by taking the best out of every narrative. So for example they can find it right to stick to religious values during moments of worship especially the church going days while keeping to the extreme side of the coin during normal working days. Ironically it is during the normal working days that a Christian should seek more bible oriented intervention because this is the time when maximum stress and pressure is derived from the daily occurrences which sometimes are too much to handle. In such challenging moments, it is not hard to find majority of the Christians overwhelmed and forced to take routes that cannot otherwise be approved in a religious context. Most of what is done and accomplished in the urge to satisfy the consumer needs cannot find its place in the bible narrative. This comes close to implying that should one choose to apply all the Christian principles to situations that lean heavily towards consumerism tendencies, then conflicts will always arise that takes everyone back to the drawing board. This scenario presents a cycle that is clearly in form of a riddle whose interpretation is what the world Christians have failed to figure out. Different groups will come up with different views which make it all the more confusing.
Today university education has been shaped in numerous ways by the humanist consumer narrative. The academic syllabus in the different courses being offered in the universities are based on trends and changes that conform so much to the tenets of the consumer narrative. Students choose courses depending on their popularity and what the ultimate potential of that course will bring into the future life of the student. A student opting to study engineering for example must have been inspired by various exciting factors among them the ability to own massive wealth and property as a result of the opportunity they will get absorbed in. Curriculum is developed by taking into consideration what the world needs now and what it will also require in the future. Thus, it takes care of both the present and the future by drawing from the fading past which eventually becomes a beautiful history to learn from, and make improvements in order to ensure efficiency in the massive efforts to satisfy the unlimited consumer needs. The demands of the world now and in the future are in fact driven by consumer specifications. Therefore universities will have to remain relevant by providing education that will be useful in promoting the functions that work to meet consumer desires.
University education is an important pillar in one’s life and those who get the privilege of getting a quality one have every reason to count themselves fully made and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead in life. This is the level of education where people discover who they are and their true passion in life. It all happens due to the fact that the platform and learning environment in university is structured in such a way that one has the chance to learn as much as possible and not necessary in one line. The education is the kind that opens up the mind to another world where questions form around problems and solutions sought out through a thought process that is powerful and comprehensive. University education is the mother of majority of the great men and women who have made a mark in the world for good or bad. It is the foundation for the great leaders of today and will continue to produce immense results from the hard work that is constantly being put to ensure quality education is imparted to al students. Perhaps the one question present in every Christian’s mind would be the extent to which university education is being shaped in terms of relevance to Christian matters. In university, students are taught according to the standards of postmodernism where consumers are kings. The leanings are often demonstrated using examples that follow the humanist consumer narrative to the latter and for sure, Christianity and the bible are often left to those whose core business in the university is to study religious related courses. There is a clear decline of time and effort devoted to equipping students with bible-based traits which are crucial for a fulfilling life. Students have been left to wonder and discover for themselves. This leaves most of them confused a part from a lucky few who manage to recognize the need to keep within religious limits even as they seek to have their dreams actualized.
The part that gets the Christian community on toes over the shaping of university education by the humanist consumer narrative is the knowledge that the very students who go through the consumer influenced university education will come out to the world where they will be expected to carry the mantle of society leadership. Christians are also well aware that a person capable of providing sensible direction that is fair and acceptable to all the people must have some moral standards and it is vivid that morality is best founded on a Christian identity that speaks for itself, always demonstrating by examples, guided by conscious and good intentions. Unfortunately, the kind of influence that is presently being experienced by our universities does not leave enough room for Christian implications. The students will come out of university knowing all the good offers awaiting in the world, but a negligible percentage really understands what the bible stands for and where they should put their energy first-bible or world culture. This kind of shaping has made the intersection at the crossroad even more complicated especially in view of the fact that there are presently so many universities across the world with massive numbers of students, all aspiring to get to the top level of their careers. The same number of students getting into these universities is the same number that will come out and it is clearly obvious that they are likely to carry on with what the university education has taught them. The huge numbers serve to demonstrate that the humanist consumer narrative will continue to be perpetuated with these very students. As soon as they get out, their goals shift to consuming what the world system has to offer and owning as much as they can is a target no one wants to miss.
University education can still be the chance where the fundamentals of Christianity are indeed imparted to Christianity but this has to also take into account the difficult situation religion is facing in trying to find its place in a highly mixed up environment with different ways of life. But all is not lost for the university education because they can still manage to live truly according to the teachings and word of God. There are still dedicated individuals in the Christian community who can come to the aid of the students in as far as assisting them to keep in the house of God is concerned. Education is a key area of life which must be attained by all means and students from al walks of life must endevour to receive it. The contemporary setting for students is therefore such that they will still be able to engage their lives in ways that will please the living God. This should be good news to those at a loss of what to do next and how. There are still enough ambassadors of the word of God willing to teach the important lessons needed to live in the current society while still keeping religion deep in heart.
In conclusion, the modern contemporary setting is almost distinct in its own values that are undoubtedly distinguishing from the biblical setting. The two cannot mix, at least for a considerable percentage. Yet for those who subscribe to either part exclusively or partially, total disintegration from either is logically close to impossible. Disturbingly, integration is equally hard to achieve to perfection and uniformity will often prove hard to come by. In the midst of this entire muddle, a clear way must be sought for both communities to exist at balance without breaching the dictates and tenets of any, observing the limitations where they exist. However this does not find good landing in Christianity. The solution is for the Christian community to always keep a watchful eye on the progress of the modern society, constantly sustaining their values in the hardest of circumstances and bearing in mind that the word of God in the bible is the ultimate, undisputed guide.