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"And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and {saying,} 'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.'" -- Acts 17:2-3

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Christianity and Postmodernism

Is there such a thing as truth? Has truth become relative or subjective? Does the meaning of any written text depend upon the observer? Many philosophers have decided that absolute truth is a phantom. Postmodernism attempts to bring meaning to the meaningless universe, but in doing so does it rob Christianity of its power to proclaim the "truth of the Gospel"? This page explores the issues relating to Christianity and Postmodernism.

  • Postmodernism and the interpretation of biblical texts for behavior. Biblical Theology Bulletin, Fall, 2003, by John F. O'Grady

    "Postmodernism has many meanings and many names. Whatever it actually means depends on different cultures and different individuals. That explains enough the current American situation, as well as the general condition in developed countries. * * * Can biblical scholars and religious leaders ever be clever enough to be aware of, and respond to, the lived existence of ordinary believers? This article offers no definitive answers-- [it] only attempts to orchestrate the problems."
  • Postmodernism Gale Encyclopedia of Popular Culture by Sam Binkley

    Beginning in the early 1980s, postmodernism began to emerge as a vanguard movement in the idea market, with all the equipment for a successful intellectual coup--its own fancy vocabulary, a cryptic set of canonical texts, and a seemingly inexhaustible ability to come off cleverer than any of its challengers. Indeed, the ability of the postmodern rhetorician to inflate the significance of familiar issues by describing them with thick jargon has proven a fruitful intellectual stratagem for postmodernists, one whose success rivals that enjoyed by structural functionalist sociologists of the 1950s who, under the leadership of Talcott Parsons, stormed American sociology in a whirlwind of technical sounding lingo."
  • Blind spots: Christianity and postmodern philosophy Christian Century, June 14, 2003, by Merold Westphal

    Though the postmodern philosophers are mainly atheists, or as Derrida puts it, "rightly pass" for atheists, their arguments actually show not that God does not exist, but that we are not God, either individually or collectively. Objective knowledge of reality--seeing reality through, as it were, "God's eyes"--is not possible."
    Douglas Groothius responds to Mr. Westphal's article with Postmodern fallacies: a response to Merold Westphal Christian Century, July 26, 2003, and Merold Westphal replies with Merold Westphal replies (Response to Douglas Groothuis' Response to Westphal's Original Article) Christian Century, July 26, 2003.
     
  • Toward a Theological Understanding of Postmodernism Cross Currents, Winter 1997-98, Vol. 47 Issue 4, by Daniel J. Adams

    The postmodern era can best be understood in terms of four major characteristics: the decline of the West, the legitimation crisis, the intellectual marketplace, and the process of deconstruction. Indeed, we can say that these four characteristics define the meaning of postmodernity.
  • Theology and Science without Dualism Cross Currents, Spring 1998, Vol. 48 Issue 1, by Elizabeth Newman

    In this essay, I will argue that we can have reliable knowledge that does not conform to an objectivist model, but that also does not regard a chaos of interpretation, in which all knowledge is inevitably domination, as the only alternative. The aim of my essay will be to give a nondualistic account of knowing more radical than both objectivism, and its after-image, relativism.
  • Postmodernism and the Desire for God: An e-mail Exchange Cross Currents, Fall 1998, Vol. 48 Issue 3, by Edith Wyschogrod and John D. Caputo

    In this essay, I ask where one belongs if knowing, whether scientific or theological, is not to become objectivistic, relativistic, or hegemonic. First, I will show how, despite efforts to the contrary, the dualism of objectivism versus relativism continues to haunt both modern and postmodern imaginations. Then I will describe more fully a knowing place, biblically informed, that moves beyond objectivism and relativism.
  • What are some pitfalls inherent in the postmodern outlook? by Douglas Groothius (.pdf document)

    If power, both individual and political, is not tempered by a conscience capable of contact with and submission to an objective moral law and Law Giver, it becomes its own justification. No amount of postmodernist whimsy, irony, or aestheticism can defuse this peril. As Pascal said, "Might without right is tyrannical."

  • What are some pitfalls inherent in the postmodern outlook? by Joseph Bottum

    What believers have in common with postmoderns is a distrust of modern claims to knowledge. To be a believer, however, is to be subject to an attack that postmoderns, holding truthlessness to themselves like a lover, never have to face. The history of modernity in the West is in many ways nothing more than the effort to destroy medieval faith. It is a three-hundred-year attempt to demolish medieval (especially Catholic) claims to authority, and to substitute a structure of science and ethics based solely on human rationality. But with the failure to discover any such rational structure—seen by the postmoderns—the only portion of the modern project still available to a modern is the destruction of faith.

  • Embracing Uncertainty: Some Perspectives on Evangelical Thought in Postmodern Times by Darren Mitchell

    Postmodern uncertainty, although with its upsides and its downsides, is not subject to the notions of superstitious abdication of responsibility to providence or fate, or that of fear before an all-powerful church and state. Rather it is a subversion of the totalising modernist paradigm which arrogantly supposed an objective, God's eye view of knowledge of this world.
  • The Antimoderns: Six postmodern Christians discuss the possibilities and limits of postmodernism a discussion with Carlos Aguilar, Vincent Bacote, Andy Crouch, Catherine Crouch, Sherri King, and Chris Simmons

    I think there is some reticence on behalf of emerging urban Christian leaders to buy fully into the postmodernist shift. We place a little more trust in reason, in what knowledge can do to empower people. Maybe we need to change our view as to what constitutes knowledge; maybe we only need a move away from the more radical modern view that it's certitude we're after, and maybe we should seek something like justified true belief.
  • The New Search for Truth by Dr. Thomas Hohstadt

    What we seek is an ancient/future knowing that resurrects premodern insights and reveals postmodern intuitions. It's a different "seeing" where epiphany replaces proposition. It's a different "sensing" where participation replaces empiricism. It's a different discernment where knowledge "of" Truth replaces knowledge "about" Truth--where "how" we know replaces "what" we know.
  • Era and Epoch, Epoch and Era: Christian Intellectuals in the Postmodern Turn by Scott H. Moore

    I believe that Christian intellectuals have much to celebrate in the cultural-intellectual turn which is Postmodernity. While much has been written about the dangerous character of many of the ideas which march under the heading of "postmodernity" and "postmodernism," here I would like briefly to offer a perspective for Christian intellectuals on how we might celebrate certain aspects of postmodernity.
  • Christianity and Postmodernity by Alan G. Padgett

    Christians, therefore, must develop their own theologically motivated and faith-full hermeneutics of suspicion to deconstruct differance and undo the negativity of French poststructuralism."
  • The Postmodern Moment by Glenn T. Stanton

    Modernism is dying because experience brought the Enlightenment project up short in some important areas. For instance, working in a closed, naturalistic system, science cannot answer the ultimate questions of why the universe is this way rather than another, or whether there's any meaning behind it.
  • Preaching and the Postmodern Condition by Jay Cooper Rochelle

    Preachers face an audience whose cultural perceptions are "post-modern." The author shows what this means among those who hear us preach and how proclaimers may begin to respond to it."
  • Lion of Judah Postmodernism Page
    Links to more than 25 individual articles and websites on Postmodernism.

  • Truth, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Postmodern Turn by J.P. Moreland (You may be required to register to read this article)

    In what follows I shall weigh in on the topic first, by sketching out the correspondence theory and the postmodern rejection of it, and second, by identifying five confusions of which I believe postmodern revisionists are guilty. I shall close by warning that not only are postmodern views of truth and knowledge confused, but postmodernism is an immoral and cowardly viewpoint such that persons who loves truth and knowledge, especially disciples of the Lord Jesus, should do everything they can to heal the plague that postmodernism has and inevitably does leave."
  • Postmodernism and Christianity by Catez Stevens

    Post-modernism would have us all in our separate relative ghettoes thinking we are novel. Jesus Christ unites us in a new citizenship not of this world. He is the Spirit and Truth for every culture in every age, and his blueprint for the Christian church remains the same.
  • Philosophical Objections to the Knowability of Truth: Answering Postmodernism by Andrew F. Uduigwome

    For another, if postmodernism can be shown to be true, then its main thesis (rejection of objective truth) is wrong. It is tantamount to saying that there is at least one objective truth and, that is, that postmodernism is true. In either case, the postmodernist rejection of rational objectivity is self-defeatist, self- refuting or self-destructive. It is either that it denies the plausibility of its own position or it presumes the reliability of reason and the objectivity of truth.
 

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear..." 1 Peter 3:15