It is difficult to define the post-Christian world in one sentence or paragraph, or even in one book. One of the main reasons for this difficulty is because a trait of the post-Christian world is relativism. Relativism is a belief that all points of view are equally valid because all points of view are relative to the individuals experiences. There is no such thing as absolute truth because all truth is subject to context and culture. As a result, facts cannot be trusted because what is factual today can be falsified tomorrow. Morality is also relative and open to individual choice and interpretation.
Closely connected to relativism is the idea referred to as deconstruction. Starting in the world of literary criticism, deconstruction is a belief that no single meaning of a text is possible. Moving away from literary criticism, deconstruction involves critically evaluating why any belief is believed and why what anyone says is to be taken at face value. Deconstruction goes beyond questioning everything to questioning the possible meanings of everything. The goal of deconstruction is not to destroy meaning and belief but to point out hidden assumptions and contradictions that affect our ability to truly understand.
A third trait of a post-Christian world is distrust. The prevailing attitude in a post-Christian world is to speak out against traditional establishments like religion. Societal institutions have been corrupted by power and can no longer be trusted. Distrust leads to a fourth trait, disillusionment. Since nothing can be trusted, nothing can be known with certainty. In a post-Christian world people have grown weary of all the unfulfilled promises of science, technology, government, and religion.
Concerning religion, another trait of a post-Christian world is pluralism. All religions are equally false and/or equally valid in that all religions offer paths to God or gods. As contradictory as it may sound, the only religions to be denounced are those that claim any type of exclusivity, especially Christianity. If Christianity is not denounced, at the very least it should be deconstructed.
A sixth trait is environmentalism. In a sense, protecting the environment is the religion of choice in a post-Christian world. Human societies, especially in the West, have raped and abused the earth, and so defending “Mother Earth” is of critical importance. On a positive note, understanding biblical environmental stewardship can be attractive to many people in a post Christian world.
One last trait of a post-Christian world is the significance of globalization. Nationalism and patriotism hinders a broader relationship with the world. All peoples are interconnected and all boundaries are arbitrary. Seeking the greater global good is of primary importance.
A Blessing in Disguise
Living in a post-Christian world is really a blessing in disguise. Since the days of Acts, at no time in history have people been as open to God as today. However, these same people who are open to God are closed to traditional, organized religion. Today’s generation is tired of facts, figures, and a nicely put together apologetic. This does not mean apologetics is not important, and that a systematic theology is unnecessary. It simply means there is a different starting point in a post-Christian mindset.
People today are looking for something real, meaningful, and lasting. In their search, they are willing to accept messy paradoxes, even contradictions. A post-Christian mindset doesn’t need everything to fit nicely together. In fact, if fits too nicely, this generation will reject it. Now, like no time since the days of the Apostles, disciples of Jesus have an opportunity to show the world the difference following Jesus makes, the good, the bad, and the ugly—without having to know all the answers.
While the modern mindset shouted “prove it,” the post-Christian mind whispers, “live it.” The modern mind stumbled over the miraculous and supernatural (prove the existence of God; prove the virgin birth; prove the infallibility of Scripture; prove the resurrection; etc…) while the post-Christian mind embraces—even longs for—the miraculous and supernatural. In the past, unbelievers were introduced to a good apologetic for the faith and then applied that truth to their lives. Today, many people want to know, “Does it work?” or “What difference will Jesus make in my life?” before they examine the deeper question of “why.” Their thinking leaves the doors wide open for every believer to share his or her faith and to live his or faith out in the public arena.
In a post-Christian world, the differences between Christian and non-Christian are more obvious, attracting the person looking for meaning and purpose in life. For years we have preached that following Jesus is about relationship, not religion. Above everything else, people in a post-Christian world are looking for real, genuine, authentic relationships.
 The seven traits I have listed here – relativism, deconstruction, distrust, disillusionment, pluralism, environmentalism, and globalization – are more of a representative list than an exhaustive list. Several different traits could have been added.