Examples of Metanarratives: Modern Religion

There is another metanarrative that is especially interesting -- that of religion, particularly Protestantism. Christianity in particular is fairly unique in that its tradition goes a long way back. However, Christianity since the Enlightenment can be seen as a metanarrative like any other:

a) It totalizes reality, in the sense that anything can be fit into the larger picture, as friend or foe of God.

b) It is based on the rational self. Even though there is tradition, with Luther's proclamation of the priesthood of all believers this adherence to tradition was undermined. There is a stronger sense of what "makes sense", and the more conservative the Protestantism, the more "rational" in this sense it becomes.

c) It legitimates some actions and beliefs, and marginalizes others. Beginning from the "rational" foundations, one can make ethical pronouncements on all sorts of things. There is a sense of "right" doctrine and "wrong" doctrine.

d) It is abstract. It is not generated from a lived experience, but rather from the rational metanarrative. The religious rule comes first, and the application to the situation comes second. In fact, it is seen as compromise with the world to tailor theology to concrete practice. Furthermore, there is no sense of history at all. People are part of the rational movement, not of a traditional belief.

e) It is emancipatory. Belief in the system gives salvation.