Informing Postmoderns

10 Mar

I recently submitted an essay for my course on the title, Critically discuss the Christian Churches Response to Postmodernism and it’s Implications.

As I’ve yet to receive the mark I’m not sure if it’s worth posting here as I did with my Christology essay. However it was the first time I’d done any thinking/reading on the topic of postmodernism (or modernism/pre-modernism for that matter!) and it has flagged up a few areas the Church can be seriously informing postmoderns.

One of the main elements of postmodernism is its rejection of human reason as a source of authority or as an avenue for enlightenment. This is essentially a rejection of the foundation of modernism, “We’ll get there by reason alone!”

Now the Church shouldn’t be afraid of this rejection. Rather it should be in full support. The modern reliance on reason was very ‘man centred’ and quit contrary to what we find in the Bible.

What the Church can uniquely do is inform the postmodern as to why reason alone has failed. Humanities fallen state and its inherent finite-ness(?) were bound to result in the disappointment postmoderns now feel.

This is turn provides the Church with an opportunity to suggest an alternative to reason as an authoritative source.

Revelation.

It’s really a return to pre-modernism and shouldn’t be outlawed by postmoderns. Rejecting revelation as a source of authority was a modern ‘experiment’ which the postmodern will agree failed.

Anyway, more thoughts perhaps when I find out if my essay was total nonsense or not!

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6 Responses to “Informing Postmoderns”

  1. emyrjenkins 10/03/2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Another good blog!

    I’d be very curious to know your mark. I didn’t realise you went into such detail about postmodernism in your course. I did quite a bit on postmodernism as part of my degree course.

    At the time quite a few writers were pushing the idea of Neo-moderism which was quite interesting to read up on. Where you say “One of the main elements of postmodernism is its rejection of human reason as a source of authority or as an avenue for enlightenment” is interesting. Neo-moderism (I think) would say that this is what the author said and therefore what it means, and that there is little room for interpretation.

    When the Author is God I think this allows for a very authoritative view on Scripture (if you belive that God wrote it)

    Of course, everything I’ve just said could be gibberish (if your a postmodernist)

  2. Gethin 10/03/2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Sounds good. Would it also be important to remember that the great Revealer is also the Creator who made us with a rationality that can understand his revelation? So we understand the general revelation of the creation; and with the life-giving power of the Spirit, we understand his special revelation.

    So I’d guess maybe post-moderns take their rejection of reason somewhat too far – we reject rationalism, which says ‘sola ratio’, but we thank God for giving us rationality which helps us understand his revelation.

    Thanks for sharing stuff you’re learning 🙂

    • sammydaviesjr 11/03/2010 at 7:07 am #

      Thanks Geth, it’s not that I disagree…but

      That’s the kin of arguement that the church has (shrewdly) developed to reach base with the modern type. In as far that it does that, great.

      It does seem that in the very first step your making the modern shift of removing God and placing the emphasis soley on the person. Having read (very little) for my recent essay I’d say this is unnessicary for the postmodern and a little unbiblical (as the focus there is clearly why God says and does through his Spirit rather than on this rationality that we’ve been given).

      It’s not a massive point, but kinda the point of the original post.

      • Gethin 13/03/2010 at 7:59 pm #

        Hmm, ok – removing God and placing the emphasis solely on man was certainly not my intention – that’s something I’d certainly disagree with. I think what I mean is that while we reject having reason as a foundation or a source of knowledge, postmodernism seems go somewhat further and reject rational knowing as essentially impossible – even the understanding of revelation. So in postmodern views someone could reveal something to me all they like, but not only is there no way for me to know whether it’s true or not, but I can’t even have a category for the concept of truth so it’s all basically ‘whatever’ (which I think is the word which sums up current western culture in many ways).

        So we don’t begin with man; we begin with, as Schaeffer put it, the fact that “He is there and he is not silent”.
        And so we reject the use of reason as a foundation for knowledge, but we also reject their absolute rejection of reason – as Creator and Revealer, he has made us in such a way that we can understand his revelation. I guess today we might want to add to Schaeffer’s thing and say “He is there and He is not silent, and this is not ‘whatever'”. Is that somewhat clearer? Is that what you thought I was saying all along and you still disagree?

  3. sammydaviesjr 14/03/2010 at 7:20 am #

    Gethin, in hindsight my first response was probably a little strong given what you’d actually said. It’s not that I disagree with you, my main point is that all your speaking about (and a lot of what the church s trying to communicate) is a little unnecessary.

    My question is why we would feel the need to ‘fill the postmodern in’ on a topic that isn’t necessary for salvation? Will it really help them to know Christ better?

    Secondly, I wasn’t advocating that the Church take on the whole kit and Kabudle of their world view. You’ll note that the direction was from us to the postmodern not the other way round. That’s not to say that I don’t think we’ve got something to learn from postmoderns but that primarily I saw an area where the Church could address one of their concerns and turn it into an area of witness for Christ.

    Funny you should bring up Shcaeffer whose policy (wittingly or unwittingly) could almost be described as converting people to modernism first, then Christ second.

    Anyway, I think we’ve maybe strayed from the original point of the post.

    • Gethin 16/03/2010 at 8:47 am #

      Thanks. I’ll think about this.

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