Max Weber is considered to be one of the founders of modern Sociology. A part of his legacy is that he predicted the demise of religion. Back in 1918, nearly a hundred years ago, he said this:
“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.” – Max Weber
In Weber’s mind, disenchantment with the world is a distinguishing mark of western culture. It means the loss of mystery and spirituality in the world, and signifies the rise of materialism and rationalism. Yes, a hundred years ago some scholars believed that everything had a scientific answer with the inference being we don’t need God anymore. Morris Berman wrote this:
“Translated into everyday life, what does this disenchantment mean? It means that … Jobs are stupefying, relationships vapid and transient, the arena of politics absurd. In the vacuum created by the collapse of traditional values, we have… a general retreat into the oblivion provided by drugs, television, and tranquilizers. We also have a desperate search for therapy, by now a national obsession, as millions of Americans try to reconstruct their lives amidst a pervasive feeling of …cultural disintegration. An age in which depression is a norm is a grim one indeed.”
Ironically, a few years ago Disney released a film entitled “Enchanted.” It begins in typical Disney fashion with an animated sequence of a princess ready to marry her charming prince. The forest animals help her with her dress. But just before the wedding, a wicked witch pushes her into a pit where she falls to the place where no one lives happily ever after. As she falls, the animated princess is transformed from a cartoon into a real life person. Oh, and that place she falls into where there is no happily ever after? New York City!
There is a lot is disenchantment with life today. Many wonder if “happily ever after” is even possible in the real world. Many are becoming convinced that there is no meaning and purpose to life, and if there is a God, he certainly doesn’t seem to care about my life or about our world.
However, there is an unexpected turn of events we need to consider. The undisputed fact is that Max Weber’s prediction of the demise of religion did not happen. On the contrary, there is a fresh movement of God’s Spirit in the world today. Re-enchantment is happening. Disenchantment is there for those who choose it, but many are choosing something else.
C.S. Lewis said, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
The NT says this about Jesus: “And his name will be the hope of all the world” (Matthew 12:21).