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Postmodernism is WaterworldBy Evan Nehring
As we step into the worldview conversation, there's only one place to stop. Postmodernism is a system of alternate reality that jettisons the certainty of God and the Bible, allowing other worldviews to appear rational. In a sense, postmodernism has taken the “if it feels good do it” idea of the 60’s and 70’s and given it an intellectual basis.
The success of this alternate reality has allowed the other non-biblical worldviews to flourish. Naturalism, spiritualism, utopianism and religion are all at odds with a Christ-centered, biblically grounded, faith-filled worldview. But if someone can convince you that the Bible doesn’t reveal absolute truth, naturalism, spiritualism, utopianism and religion are all fair game!
Postmodernism denies the existence of absolute truth.
A postmodernist thinks truth is fragmented. He doesn't believe in a truth that's the same for everyone; he believes in "stories" or "narratives" or "discourses" that are different for every group. One race tells a story about pioneers carving out civilization from the wilderness; and other tells one about another race taking over their land. One religion tells one about God saving man; and other tells one about man saving himself. If you try to ask, "but shouldn't we find out whether any of these stories is true?" the postmodernist will mutter something about "people who want to impose their stories on others."
A postmodernist thinks personality is fragmented. He doesn't believe in a soul, a self, an "I" that keeps its identity and is responsible for everything it does. At most, people wear masks or play roles -- different at every moment.
The foolishness of the idea of no absolute truth is that every religion and every philosophy has exclusive claims. Hello? Atheism is pretty intolerant if you think about it. And we can always ask, “Is it absolutely true that there is no absolute truth?”
But there’s a deeper issue. Besides defining what’s right and wrong, truth gives meaning to the human soul. Truth gives bedrock stability and purpose.
Kevin Costner’s movie, Waterworld, is a picture of earth’s post-apocalyptic future. The small remnant of humanity floats around on makeshift rafts and barges with no hope of dry land. They dive to see the submerged ruins of ancient civilization, only to resurface and float some more. In a sense, the people of Waterworld are free. But life is chaotic, even barbaric.
Postmodernism has brought much of our culture to Waterworld: floating and drifting with no absolutes. Multiculturalism rides shotgun and declares that no culture can be deemed inferior to another. Yeah, I watched Apocalypto and have a very graphic picture of the inferiority of a savage pagan culture.
If we look at the worldview graphic below, postmodernism works to untie the ropes holding worldview to biblical Christianity. People are then “free” to drift away from Jesus and away from Truth in any direction they choose.
What's Good about Postmodernism?I like the postmodern narrative emphasis, that everyone’s got a story. Every time Jesus healed someone he walked into their story. Every story has value, but the great divine narrative brings meaning and hope into our stories. Who am I? Why am I here? If my story is all about me, my meaning in this great universe is tiny, insignificant. If I have divine mission in the story of the ages, even the smallest role becomes vital.
I like the relational nature of postmodernism. Everyone is important. That’s true! Let’s use that relational desire to gather together worshiping at the throne of Jesus rather than sitting on our own thrones to be worshiped.
I like the non-judgmental posture of postmodernism. It has a ring of “Let him who has no sin, cast the first stone.” We can stand squarely on the bedrock of Truth without being consistently red-faced and angry. The bedrock of Truth resolves our insecurities which push us to lash out defensively. Perhaps if we’re casting stones, our rock is too small.
 J. Budziszewski. How to Stay Christian in College. (Colorado Springs, CO: TH1NK Books, 2004), 54.
Comments Are Always Welcome...
Have you dug into postmodernism much? Does this discussion help you recognize it around you?