Postmodernism (Postmodern Christianity)

Postmodernism (aka Postmodern Christianity) is a vague term to describe a philosophy which covers a multitude of diferent disciplines. However, postmodern Christianity has developed which is influenced by postmodern philosophy.

Christian postmodernism is a relatively recent development within Christianity and although the label "postmodern" and the ideologies are debated, it is fairly clear when these philosophies are employed, which is mostly in liberal circles. Essentially it views realities as plural and subjective, and dependent on the individual's worldview. It challenges orthodox assumptions and promotes a multiplicity of diverse interpretations of truth, being, and ways of seeing. There is a rejection of sharp distinctions. Essentially, religious truth to them is highly individualistic, subjective and resides within the individual.

This obviously is going to run counter to the Bible and orthodox Christianity where there are clearly absolutes, and most of the Bible has one essential and clear interpretation. Where there can be more than one interpretation, we "let Scripture interpret Scripture" and employ the science of hermeneutics (Bible interpretation). We have a few thousand years of experience by billions of people so it's not very difficult to interpret what was written in it's original context and understand what God intended for us. However, there will always be those who take opposing views and we see a lot of this in postmodern Christianity.

"Continental philosophical theology is the most recent form of postmodern Christianity. The movement was fueled heavily by the slew of notable post-Heideggerian philosophers that appeared on the continent in the 1970s and 1980s. Groundbreaking works such as Jean-Luc Marion's God Without Being and John D. Caputo's The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida ushered in the era of continental philosophical theology."[1]

James Dobson said that Postmodernism “holds that there is no truth, no basic right or wrong, nothing good or bad, nothing evil or noble, nothing moral or immoral.” James Dobson (2003)[2]

"The idea that we live in a postmodern culture is a myth. In fact, a postmodern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unlivable. Nobody is a postmodernist when it comes to reading the labels on a medicine bottle versus a box of rat poison. If you’ve got a headache, you’d better believe that texts have objective meaning! People are not relativistic when it comes to matters of science, engineering, and technology; rather, they’re relativistic and pluralistic in matters of religion and ethics. But that’s not postmodernism; that’s modernism! That’s just old-line Positivism and Verificationism, which held that anything you can’t prove with your five senses is just a matter of individual taste and emotive expression. We live in a cultural milieu which remains deeply modernist. People who think that we live in a postmodern culture have thus seriously misread our cultural situation."[3]

FOOTNOTES:

1. "Postmodern Christianty," Wikipedia, Accessed May 27, 2014
2. Focus on the Family, editorial comment on Dr. James Dobson’s "Restoring The Foundations: Repealing Judicial Tyranny" speech, Montgomery, 8/23/03.
3. Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith (3rd Edition), pg 18.


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