The Threat of Postmodernism

by Daniel Stearsman

Is there a corner of society immune to it?  It permeates coffee shops and fills talk radio. On college campuses, it is sacred to professors and students alike. It is often a core belief in human resources departments and at universities in departments of diversity and multiculturalism. To borrow the mantra from Visa® – “it’s everywhere you want to be” (Erickson 11).

Defining postmodernism is no easy task. Under postmodernism, definitions are flexible, tangential, and not firm. Gone are the days when definitions were clear, precision was necessary, distinctions were certain, and categories were clearly earmarked. Consider the threats of postmodernism and what the church can do to guard against it.

THE THREATS OF POSTMODERNISM

1. Postmodernism is against foundations of truth

In the mid-1900s, truth was viewed as virtuous and a path to progress. Eager bodies went to school to gain a clear understanding, to solidify a foundation, and to get a trade to make a living. Postmodernism intently and carefully disassembles and reconstructs foundations in morality, science, history, and most certainly in religion. Words lose any objective reference and meaning.

Meaning becomes what each individual may construct with words.  Further, postmodernism attempts to shatter a foundation where knowledge, truth, and reason advance clear conclusions that can be defended. In postmodernism, one can get close to truth (approximate truth), but never really arrive at truth. What determines truth now is “feeling, aesthetics, personal relationships, mysticism, unexplained leaps, coincidences, and a panoply of other subjective perceptions” (Carson 102).

2. In postmodernism, history loses objectivity

When history is objective, there are reliable facts that are true, independent of one’s perspective. When history is objective, Abraham Lincoln is the 16th president regardless of how anyone views history. The fact of his presidency is certain. Postmodernism denies this possibility. One may get close to truth about the past, but any hope of accurately depicting the past is futile…

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The Threat of Postmodernism | 1st Century Faith Today