Postmodernist believe that morality comes by the greater demand of the people, thus meaning that the people decide what’s right and what’s wrong not God. Christian on the other hand believes in a contrasting worldview; reason for maintain goodness. This reasoning derives from that of the creator and constantly points to truth, whereas Postmodernist believes that everyone has their own truth.
As an adult, one may spend a majority of their life span in the workplace and sadly unpronounced to one’s self, is constantly being influenced by this selective truth. This influential dominating progressive selection of truth not only influences work life, but also one’s personal life and beliefs’ as well. In this paper I will discuss the contradiction of this selective belief.
Summary of Postmodernism
Postmodernist establishes man as the final authority, truth maker, this leads man to a godless place questioning all theism metanarratives and denying the one God given single truth. Before the induction of Postmodernism, generation of pass cultures also had their own metanarratives, but Postmodernism goes a step beyond recognizing that any and all people can have their own metanarrative equaling that of other opposing belief systems. [1: Charles R Swindoll and Roy B Zuck, Understanding Christian Theology (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003). 20.]
This system as Heath White puts it, a perspective classified as a life style induced with attitude. The strength and weakness for any worldview can be tested, in his book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith, Groothuis illustrates that there are criteria that each belief system must meet in order to be a worldview. The following summary of Postmodernism’s beliefs is purposed off of Groothuis criteria for worldview evaluation.[2: Heath White, Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2007).] [3: Douglas R. Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011]
Source of Ultimate Authority in Postmodernism
The source of ultimate authority in the postmodern worldview is the human mind or where a human mind is promoted. Because there is no such thing as final truth, there is a lack of an objective source of authority. Postmodernism source of ultimate authority is in the individual, they believe that religious truth is highly individualistic, subjective and resides within the individual.
Postmodernism ultimate reality consist of nothing fixed and ultimately unknowable, their belief system is structured in the thought of nonexistence reality; the world is not there and only a figment of the imagination. There is no such thing as absolute truth, which means no one has any clue on reality. Knowledge is one’s perspective.
As mention in the introduction, a culture with this belief system may collectively agree on a set of authority to keep order in that society (i.e., different forms of government), and perhaps they may even agree or decide on a spiritual path that finds meaning for the majority of individuals to look toward for authority.
Ultimate Reality in Postmodernism
Ultimate reality for Postmodernism can be viewed through the lens of religion, not all postmodernist are atheist, so they too can define and understand through natural science (or materialism), that a higher being could potentially exist. Unfortunately under postmodernism, each of these different “realities” within their own cultures and languages may also be possible too. If science or religion brings meaning to that belief system, then that science or religion is considered ultimate reality and this is true for them also.
Source of Morality
Postmodernism source of morality is gathered from ethical systems in atheism, naturalism, and evolution. They believe there is no authority beyond the self. Postmodernist source various morals via little narratives, because there is no grand narrative instructing them on what is real and how to behave. Each community develops its own little narrative to fulfill their needs and purpose.
The overall moralities are communal moral standards, which are decided by both coercion and consensus. Postmodernism’s view of morality is nonexistence and moral values are simply another human convention with which to reflect a cultural lens, and “matrices of power renders morality as little more than a subjective enterprise in a futile search for a consensus.” In one culture having relations with under age women may be accepted and considered one of the norms, while in another culture it is illegal and sunned upon with the greatest authority. [5: Scott B. Rae, Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009). 89.]
Lastly, morality maybe subjective within a single culture; not everyone may believe in the same thing. Thus, postmodernist has no true source of morality other than one’s self.
Evaluation of Postmodernism
For the purpose of evaluating this worldview, I will be using Groothuis criteria for test and evaluating worldviews. Groothuis illustrates that these criteria are universal and can be used to evaluate any worldview.
1. Does it explain what it ought to explain?
This is where postmodernist fall short and lack substance in their belief system. Postmodernist have shifting beliefs and if something is true today in one section of the world, it may not be true in another section of the world, and ultimately influences the change of truth in the former over a period of time. Nothing is stable in the world of Postmodernism because it has no center, no central agreement, and no central origin. Postmodernism believe that man has no creator, which leaves man’s creation as a mystery or that of descendants of apes. Society cannot function without a history of origin and bases of founding beliefs.
2. Does it have internal logical consistency?
Postmodernism lacks the ability to have consistency because it has different beliefs of non-beliefs. It floats on the rule of contradiction. Nothing in the world can be consistent, because everything in one’s world is a figment of the imagination and has no real value. This very belief cannot be considered dependable or true for all, this is impossible. For example, non-denominational church ensue it has no denomination, but if multiple churches claim non-denominational status and believe collectively not to believe in the current rigorous religious strong holds belief system, unfortunately they to become collectively a denomination. Sire states it this way, “the rejection of all metanarratives is itself a metanarrative.” [6: Sire, James W. The Universe next Door: A Guidebook to the World Views. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.]
3. Does it have coherence?
Postmodernism lacks the ability of coherence because it has no significant meaning for life to progress forward. Postmodernism believes something is true for a being, only as it coheres with their other perceptions about the world. The value of truth is relative, but there is no coherence in the truths that are believed and accepted. With every believer creating their own rendition of proof and reason, there is an abundance of contradictions.
4. Does it have intellectual and cultural fecundity?
Postmodernism fails to meet this standard of criteria as well by questioning, truth’s conclusion and origin. However they do encourage believers in this system to explore and pursue their truth. But if every believer is exploring their own belief system and they all contradict one another, that creates a population of religious pollution, too of which is harmful for society to progress forward collectively.
5. Is it simpler to explain?
Postmodernism is not simple at all and simpler beliefs are preferred than complicated ones. In a philosophical world Postmodernist present itself as being intellectual simple, but as the Bible says it, the purpose of life needs to be simple enough for a child to understand it. A child who needs rearing cannot possible understand the possibility of what maybe right in a wrong situation, may also be wrong and what is wrong may be right.
Christians believe that there is only one truth and that’s Jesus Christ. Without the crucifixion and the resurrection of the Son, born from a virgin mother, sent to the world as a living sacrifice from the Father, there is no need for this belief system. The proof of change is also the compass pointing to true North. The word of God causes reproof in the soul and it is demonstrated by way of righteous living.
Utilizing the same questions from the criteria above, I will evaluate the Christian worldview:
1. Does it explain what it ought to explain?
In the open pages of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, reader is presented with a statement of facts and these facts illustrate the purpose and origin for all creation. In the closing of the Bible in the book of Revelations, the reader is reassured of the reward of living an obedient earthly life attuned to the truth in the purpose of the creator displayed in the book. Christianity explains life throughout all its pages in the books. In the book, Paul an apostle of the risen Christ explains to the reader, that the word of God is profitable for teaching, so every line and paragraph written in the Bible is presented as instructions for survival. The Bible also gives you comfort in knowing your not alone and there is always someone willing to accept your burden if you will just let him. The Bible gives comfort in making aware that every circumstance will also come to pass and create in the believer strength, because all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to his/her purpose (Paraphrase).
2. Does it have internal logical consistency?
The Bible has been translated in the beginning from Hebrew to Greek, and to now over 200 languages in just over 2000 years and it still produces the same consistency in its’ meaning; love thy neighbor. Though there may be apparent contradiction in some form or another in different section of the word, we cannot truly equate this to a contradiction because the story is not over. Things may seem to be at contrast during the process, but in the end it was the overall design of the father that implemented that artist master piece. In the Bible scripture mentions, does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 'Stop, you're doing it wrong!' Does the pot exclaim, 'how clumsy can you be (Isa.45:9)? The question we must ask ourselves is, “can we truly comprehend what is and is not a contradiction in God’s divine process?
3. Does it have coherence?
Christianity is as coherent as truth can be. For some logical or creditable truth may not align with their personal belief system, but we as Christians understand that this belief system is flawed and influenced by the devils agenda to create and sustain separation between man and his creator. God is all powerful and defines truth this requires accepting a reality that is significant and doesn’t change. God’s truth today, is God’s truth for tomorrow and of yesteryears.
4. Does it have intellectual and cultural fecundity?
To pursue the likeness of Christ, to study to show thy self-approved, Christianity challenges intellectual and cultural fecundity. Groothuis affirms, “The universe as a contingent and designed system is best explained by a noncontingent Creator, who depends on nothing outside of Himself and who created the universe to operate in various goal-related ways. Living systems presuppose intelligent design and cannot be explained on the basis of merely chance and natural laws.”
6. Is it simpler to explain?
Christianity is simple, look to the word of God for direction, follow the word of God for ease and understanding in this life. Christianity is simple that it explains the creation, fall and redemption of man and God’s redeeming love for mankind.
Defense of Christianity
While Postmodernist claim truth has no center focal point, what is true for one may not be true for another, there is not a single metanarrative that exist from which truth comes from, this statement alone contradicts itself.
The Existence of God
This contradiction stems from the belief that all truth is relative, and by virtue of believing that all truth is relative, that stated truth in itself is a metanarrative, which defines and shapes their beliefs. It is philosophically and scientifically known that something cannot originate from nothing. Same in the realm of truth, truth relies on one centered truth, which resides in oneself, unknown and unaware to self; where did it come from? It must be from some form of a tangible thing, it cannot come from nothing.
Aristotle coined the term it is either true or not, it cannot adhere to both attributes. With this being said it cannot be true for one human being and false for another. Imposingly as well different truths cannot contradict each other; logic requires that one admits conflicting truths reveal at least one, if not both, to be untrue.
At the core of man, there is a center compass that knows good and evil; this is illustrated throughout the Bible. Whether you are a reader of his word or not, whether you have heard his word or not, whether you have met the risen savior or not, God professes his love for mankind in his nonverbal communication; stars moon and earth.
Objective Moral values
This compass is revealed in man’s wants; he doesn’t want to be killed, robbed, attacked, cheated and lost. He wants justice, righteousness, love and compassion. Object morals do exist, whether man wants to accept them or not. Groothuis presents “goodness to deity argument”:
- If a personal God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
- Objective moral values do exist.
- Therefore, a personal God exists.
The Bible states that we are made in the image of God and while we were yet sinners, God still loved us. God created mankind to have a relationship with, to seek his truth; this is the center point of man’s existence. The bases for man’s investigating claims of existence can be found in the Scripture, “Now we understand that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe you came from God (John 16:30)”. Scripture has proclaimed the ultimate truth in Christ Jesus.
Moral truth exists, so God exist and since God does exist that means scripture is dependable. When the Bible mentions that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is lord and was raised from the dead, we accept that as Christians being the ultimate truth and rested assurance that everyone in due time will come to the knowledge of faith. By placing trust and faith in God the Father, the Son and the Spirit, we accept his saving power and his triumph over death, which can raise the dead; as he raised the Son. With this belief we too share in the amazing future of being raised from the dead to spend eternal life with God in heaven.
In conclusion modern society promotes the Postmodernist agenda because of its freedom and natural alliance. The world we live in is connected more than ever before and in this conglomerate thing we call the World Wide Web, cross culturally and collectively there are multiple people with different belief systems and cultural bias. Society believes for us as a people to live in harmony, ultimate truth must take a back while moral relative truth allows for expansion and coexistence. This view point doesn’t diminish one another view point and makes for a great global consumerism contextual world meeting point, but as I mention in the paper, it’s the bases for this belief collapse under the contradictions of fallacies. At the very truth postmodernism tries to redefine what already exist and reveals its true colors as an imperfect worldview and paints its way into a corner of moral truth; the ultimate truth establishing God’s existence.
Christianity gives coherent explanation for the world man dwells within establishing truth, reality, authority and morality. Christianity gives the reader the awareness of a true being, perfect in every way; whose existence is not only possible, but necessary. Christianity metanarrative explains the universal condition of humans; fallen state and enables man to know about reality and their creator.
- Charles R Swindoll and Roy B Zuck, Understanding Christian Theology (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003). 20.
- Douglas R. Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011
- Heath White, Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2007).
- Sire, James W. The Universe next Door: A Guidebook to the World Views. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
- Scott B. Rae, Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009). 89.