Postmodernism?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Burglwood, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Burglwood

    Burglwood
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    I'm a student at a Christian University with Baptist ties. One of the major topics floating around our campus is "Postmodernism." In fact I am in a seminar right now that centers on the subject. I was just wondering what some of your views on the "Postmodern turn" are. This would be extreemely helpful in my thinking about the subject. Thanks a ton for your time and efforts.
     
  2. Brandon C. Jones

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    An easy read that came out earlier this year is D.A. Carson's "Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church." It's focus is not on postmodernism per se, but it would make for a good intro. to the subject.
     
  3. Petrel

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    Another Cedarvillian!

    I have mixed feelings about postmodernism. In many ways it is detrimental--relativism and a kind of apathetic nihilism both draw from postmodernism. On the other hand, postmodernism also allows for more flexibility in thinking, which may provide an opening for Christianity.
     
  4. IFBChristian

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    Postmodernism... What is that? I have never heard of it before. Would someone care to explain to me what postmodernism is?
     
  5. All about Grace

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    I wouldn't spend much time on the BB trying to discuss or learn about postmodernism. Most of the discussions here tend to focus on issues reserved for the fundy world. There are some great emerging church books and sites out there where you will find a lot more help.
     
  6. Rhetorician

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    Hey all,

    Post-modernism is just what you might think it is. When we came out of Rationalism, Renaissance, and Reformation Modernism became the "battle cry." Modernism is something like "science has all the answers" and "science is going to save humankind" from all of her ills. But Modernism has proved to be faulty too. Look at the atomic bomb and proliferation for example.

    Come to find out the "ultimate humanism" (code for man worshipping mankind and his achievements) was found to be bankrupt too.

    Modernism was supposed to bring about a technological utopia. Post-modernism is the idea that there is no moral absolutes. There is no "authorial intent" in any ancient language or document like say the US Constitution or the Holy Scriptures. Those documents were culturally cast in language of that time. Languages shift with time, culture, societal influences and such. Therefore, any document that was drawn up hundreds or thousands of years ago cannot be judged or used as a measurement of what is going on in our time today. Those societal norms may have been OK for the time but are out of step with the modern mind set. "Post-modernism" is the philosophy and deconstruction is the methodology. They take the ancient documents and "deconstruct" them and reconstruct them according to the mores of society today. Each one can deconstruct/reconstruct "after the dictates of his/her own heart." We are left with "each man did what was right in his own eyes."

    That is why the liberals can put and want judges to interpret the law through the latest fad of the day like women's liberation or homosexual marriage. That is why it is not hard for them to find those things in the US Consitution.

    Religously, that is why the liberal theologians can "deconstruct" the scriptures and ordain homosexuals, let them marry, or ordain women. "We know that Paul was a sexist" is what they would say. The Feminist Critique, Liberation Theology, Ecological Theology, and most new theologies that are concerned with social ethics have embraced "Post-modern philosophy" and "deconstruction methodology" on some level.

    That is why when we talk about inerrancy and "Authorial Intent" of the origianl writers of the Scripture they just go bullistic.

    Caveat! This is way oversimplified. There is much more to it than I have set forth here. Please go and do some reading for yourself. Read Stan Grinz Primer on Postmodernism for a good one volume work. It will help.

    I hope I have helped a little!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  7. John of Japan

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    Excellent summary, Rhetorician.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Gold Dragon

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    As someone supportive of postmodern Christianity and the emergent church, I enjoyed the way this article describes postmodernism.

     
  9. Gold Dragon

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    This is the concept of relativism, which is related to but not equivalent to postmodernism. It is entirely possible to be postmodern and not deny moral absolutes.
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    This is incorrect. Postmodernism doesn't deny that there is authorial intent, but our ability to perfectly know that intent.

    Modernist hermeutics like the historical grammatical hermeneutic also acknowledge this.

    You have made a faulty conclusion.
     
  11. Gold Dragon

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    These are more liberal modernist issues. In fact, liberalism is a modernist position. But I would agree that liberals have been much quicker to understand and embrace postmodernism, but conservatives are starting to get on the ball.

    I love talking about inerrancy, and authorial intent and don't go ballistic over it. I would say that modernists often miss the boat in overemphasizing concepts like inerrancy and authorial intent or thinking that authority comes from those ideas.
     
  12. Marcia

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    While I think the pomo church has some things to offer, I think that other views coming from them are dangerous.

    For example, statements are made that sound good but, imo, are misleading, such as what Gold Dragon quoted:
    This seems to ignore the fact that the primary way God spoke to the Jews was through his prophets, scriptures and the law. The "sensory" experiences were in addition to that. If there had been no revelation from God through the prophets and OT scripture, these "sensory experiences" would mean nothing.

    I think the phrase, "the physicality of the parables" is a nice way to ignore the fact that parables were given in words. They weren't experiences. Sure, people had reactions to them but I would not call a parable an experience.

    What I find most disturbing in the pomo movement is the denigration of the written word and propositional truth. I've had pomo Christians say to me that Jesus just "told stories" and did not give propositional truth. Well, I can quickly find a lot of propositional truth claims made by Jesus.

    A page with links on pomo:
    http://tinyurl.com/9jqtu

    Someone good to read on this is Gene Edward Veith.

    And don't me started on McLaren! :rolleyes:
     
  13. Gold Dragon

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    I would agree that Jesus used propositional truth. But he also used stories. Propositional truth has its place. But one that should be denigrated relative to the worshipful position it has been placed by modernism.
     
  14. Marcia

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    Gold Dragon, I don't think modernism elevated propositional truth. I think God did. Truth comes from God and is based on Him.
     
  15. Rhetorician

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    To all,

    It seems that Gold Dragon knows more about the topic than me. Weight carefully what has been said by both of us.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  16. Gold Dragon

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    This is good advice for everything we read and hear anywhere from any source, especially if they agree with you. [​IMG]

    I wouldn't know about that. But the points you present are quite a common charicature of postmodernism given by modernists and critics of postmodernism. Many aspects are true to some extent but still charicatures nonetheless. Either way they present good starting points for discussion, clarification and correction.
     
  17. Gold Dragon

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    Truth definitely comes from God and is based on Him. That statement says nothing about propositional truth or how that truth is expressed.
     
  18. All about Grace

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    The best way to "understand" postmodernism and the emerging church movement is to read its authors. Postmodernism prides itself in being undefinable, so an attempt to define it simplistic terms contradicts its very nature.

    As one of the primary spokesman within the postmodern movement often says, "If you call yourself postmodern, you are not."
     
  19. Marcia

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    That is a good point. I would say that the pomo church excells in ambiguity.
     
  20. tinytim

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    In some ways I am thankful for postmodernism. I realize it has it's downfalls, but along with people questioning the aged authorities of modernism, comes people that are starving for truth. People want the real thing. people are searching for spiritual truth.

    That is where we come in. We have the truth.
    I have found that this postmodern generation accepts truth when it is presented as real and something that is beneficial to them.

    Look, there is so much information out there. We are being bombarded by facts, advertisements, pop-ups, useless trivia, everyday of our lives.
    We have to pick and choose what is going to be useful.

    That is what this post-modernism generation does.
    If it is not useful, then it is useless, and we don't need that stuff floating around in our heads.

    So.... We need to present the Gospel (Truth) in a real and useful way.

    When we believe what we preach we make it real.

    When we make it real, others accept it.
     

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