It seems to me that we have a crisis of authority in our world today. Speaking from my own experience, I grew up in a church in a very religious town. The authorities of church, teacher and home all taught me a certain set of truths and values. Everything was fine and dandy until I ventured out into the big bad world and found out that other people have other ideas. Not only other people, but other Christians. And many of these turned my old notions of truth and values on their head.
Combine this revelation of pluralism with a dose of learning to think critically, and suddenly I refuse to simply take anyone on their say-so. Other authorities have been proved wrong—sometimes dreadfully so—and this means that I don’t trust your authority either.
The problem with this is that, no matter how postmodern we get in our ability to deconstruct, we’re still walking around as a bunch of modernist autonomous authorities-unto-ourselves. We are deeply suspicious of others and we do not know how to entrust ourselves to others.
I am part of the problem. I don’t trust anyone’s authority. I have seen no good reason why I should. I don’t know the way out of this, but I know that we must find it.