A Look at Postmodernism—Part 3

I’ve again relied upon Crystal Downing’s book How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith.

Clearly postmodern thought is a reaction against modernism’s movement to its logical conclusion: nihilism. If Man is the height of creation and all we can know is what can be proved by scientific empiricism, then there are no answers to the biggest questions we have: How did the world come about? Who am I? Why am I here? What comes after I die?

The problem with postmodernism, however, is that, rather than turning to God, these thinkers still looked to Man for understanding. From Downing:

[Nicholas] Wolterstorff argues that all truth, including scientific truth, is built on assumptions that must be taken by faith.

And again

The efficacy of reason itself is a matter of belief.

On the surface, this statement seems to carry veracity. I seem to remember saying something similar to Rudicus in the discussion of the existence of God. But here’s the thing. If all we have is belief, then nothing can sort out one belief being more nearly true than another.

So one person might believe in Buddha and another in a holy cow. Someone else believes only in what science can verify as truth, but the next person believes if he can just commit a grand act of sacrifice he will be eternally in bliss with the maidens of his imaginings. Belief drove over 900 people to follow Jim Jones in suicide, and decades later belief did the same for the Heaven’s Gaters expecting transport to some outer-space paradise.

The logical conclusion is that belief is not enough to make a truth statement.

Interestingly, the Bible bears this out.

That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them [revelation]. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made [creation declares the truth of God]
– Romans 1:19, 20

In many respects, while postmodernists try to escape the confines of failed modernist thinking by rejecting reason as the sole source of truth, they do little more than turn over the coin of Mankind’s self-importance and put on display the underside.

Published in: on September 5, 2006 at 10:02 am  Comments (5)  
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