Postmodernism in my eyes

Postmodernism is here, and nobody can object to that. In a matter of fact, people do not even realize that they are driven by the postmodern thinking. This type of thinking began after the Enlightenment age, “a period of European history running roughly from the seventeenth to the start of the nineteenth century. This period was characterized largely by an elevation of human reasoning over revealed truth[1].” The postmodern man is the one who claims objectivity but denies absolutes. His claims might sound absolutely true to the naïve hearer, even though he claims that absolutes do not exist. Perhaps a contradiction or an inconsistency, however in his own eyes is that he is absolutely right and nobody can question his absolute truths. The postmodern man proudly holds to an undeniable inconsistency, a dichotomy which he is unable to realize.

Dr. Cabal describes the understanding of a postmodern man as any experience of reality to be thoroughly interpretative[2]. He also points out areas of agreeance with the postmodern worldview, such as “human knowledge is not gained in a static immutable environment.”[3] Nevertheless, He strongly opposes its relativism saying “Postmodern conceptual relativism commits the existential fallacy by construing the fact of differing views of reality as necessitating that this is the way the world should be or has to be[4].” In my view, He also brilliantly points to the fact that “it is self-defeating to preach that no worldview can claim to be the truth when this sermon itself-if it is to be taken seriously-must inherently claim to be the truth[5].”

The Postmodern worldview presents to us many challenges. Just to name a few, the relativity of objective truth, the prophetic words of Schaeffer “arbitrariness of any basis for moral absolute,”  anthropology that rejects the view of Essential Nature of human beings, etc. These challenges must not be ignored, especially by those who want to bring a salvific message-The Gospel of Jesus Christ-to a completely confused and lost society. In light of these obstacles, the Christian worldview shines and help us to center our focus in God and His Word.

For instance, on an average day at my work, I suddenly found myself in a conversation on the topic of religion. My coworker clearly displayed her postmodern views arguing that “all religions are the same to me,” and “I think it’s stupid to believe in a book written by man”(skepticism). Following each claim she made I was constantly asking a clarifying question to see if I understood correctly what she was implying. However, she refused to answer any of my clarifying questions; Perhaps she never thought of enduring questions concerning what she believes. Questions as simple as ‘Why do you believe what you believe?’ ‘How do you know the Bible contains errors?’ and ‘Where are the errors?’etc. After roughly an hour or so I was able to present the Gospel beginning with the Holiness of God, explaining to her that our issue is a sin issue and our need of redemption through faith in the work of Jesus Christ God. In the end, she was clearly tired of the conversation, even though by her own admission she claims to like talks about religion. Unfortunately, she never spoke with me again. This is a clear example of how postmodern thinking displays a lack of desire in seeking and learning absolutes -or objective truths.

The Postmodern thinking could be a challenge to most of us, especially when dealing with absolutes. Nevertheless, the Modern thinking which comes from the Enlightenment, also presents to us challenges. “Modern man is a man of dichotomy. By dichotomy, we mean a total separation into two reciprocally exclusive orders, with no unity or relationship between them. The dichotomy here is the total separation between the area of meaning and values, and the area of reason. Reason leading to despair must be kept totally separate from the blind optimism of non-reason[6]”. In my view, both worldviews are hard to deal with, giving the time, the knowledge of the individual we are talking to, and the pressing moment, it can become a dispute with no gain in no time. I particularly found interesting how Schaeffer describes the way these worldviews have been spread throughout Art, Music, Literature, and Films in chapter ten of “How Should We Then Live.” This also is a challenge to us, as technology advances quickly and culture tries to adapt to it. We must be ready to face this progress and hold firm to the truth once for all delivered to us.

I hold to a belief that is parallel with what Dr. Cabal states when he claims that as Christians we should understand sin as an extrinsic abnormality and that we should cherish humility, as well as intellectual and religious freedom. Moreover, we should understand that the Image of God in us is intrinsic normal implying the notion of a divinely intentioned mechanism of knowing for all humans[7].

[1] Nash Ronald, Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 388

[2] Cabal Ted, An Introduction to Postmodernity: Where Are We, How Did We Get Here, and How Can We Get Home? (Summer 2001 Ed. Southern Baptist Journal of Theology), 5

[3] Ibid., 8

[4] Ibid., 8,9

[5] Ibid., 9

[6] Schaeffer, Francis. How Should We Then Live? L’Abri 50th Anniversary Ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2005. 164

[7] Cabal Ted, An Introduction to Postmodernity: Where Are We, How Did We Get Here, and How Can We Get Home? (Summer 2001 Ed. Southern Baptist Journal of Theology), 10

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