Posted by Jim Grieme
If we would rewind about ten years, philosophically the term “post-modern” was used much more. In academia there have even been questions regarding whether we may be now in a “post, post-modern” age. Some may feel even the tenets of postmodernity are even now passe` and we really should not attempt to label the age in which we now live.
Allow me to attempt to define some terms. In Pre-modern times, truth was a self-existent fact which had intrinsic worth; truth simply “was” and the existence of truth had decidedly theistic (think “God”) overtones. This should be greatly attributed to the influence of a Christian-Judaic understanding of right and wrong—morality. This “age” ended around the fall of Constantinople, the Eastern Roman Empire in AD 1453.
Then modernism began to overwhelmingly control philosophic thought. Modernism understood there indeed was truth, yet “truth” was not fully acknowledged, was not granted real value until it was confirmed through the scientific process of thought and observation. This shifted meaning from being inherent in truth to being dependent on man and his observational—and therefore man’s “giving” this value to truth—confirmation.
Modernism lasted until well after WWII. Some use the date of AD 1945, the end of the Second World War which was concluded by the first use of atomic weapons. Like many individuals who have shifted their thinking due to a catastrophic experience, humanity experienced a similar post-traumatic stress reaction to the destruction brought using the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan.
Post-modernism then entered as a means of control for humanity; well, let’s say it was a means used by intellectual elites, liberal theologians and academics to be the control du jour. Beginning after WWII, there existed an observable, concerted effort to change the philosophic bent of the upcoming generations through education, art and eventually pop-culture.
Post-modernism rejected even the existence of an absolute, knowable truth. Post-modernism was humanity’s reaction to fear and stress; humanity, with its modernist moorings, found it had cut the very lines which had provided it stability by embracing postmodernity. It was now adrift in a sea of circumstances to which humanity was in a constant mode of reaction; paddling wildly to gain control of their direction but refusing to follow any “absolute” path.
So, the decision was made to first, reject absolute, concrete truth. Second, to distrust anyone who claimed to come to a truth assertion based on observation and experience. What was left? The individual. The individual then became the arbiter of what was true and what was not, what existed, what had meaning and what was real. Yet because humanity had rejected an absolute, knowable truth, one which in Pre-modern times was enunciated in a theistic argument, humanity chose to reject it all and then only trust themselves, individually.
Even in our own private choices, we gravitate toward those news channels with whom we already agree and avoid those which would challenge our notions. True, we may have come to realize there are some sources which have proven themselves to be inaccurate and untrustworthy, yet the decision to listen, not listen, read or not read should be made on accuracy rather than differences of opinion.
Yet do you not see how easy it is to descend into ideological tribalism which pits “us” against “them” because all “those people” are racists, prejudiced, Nazis or they’re just “crazy?” How many of us seek, on our own, to form an opinion based on truth, rather than only mimicking someone else’s thoughts?
An ancient Hebrew scholar wrote that the people who have rejected the truth presented through clear evidence have not simply rejected just “a truth” but the very means of finding any answers to their problems. No, once an absolute, objective measurement of reality is abandoned, then it isn’t a set of ideas has then been rejected. This action then produces the inability to reject anything! Once objective, absolute truth is abandoned, then we are forced to make up our own system of measure; everything, no matter how absurd, is then equally an option.
What we are seeing in the United States at this moment in our history is the natural, expected and inevitable outworking of postmodernity. Everyone defines everything by their own standard, through their emotions and then this in turn becomes an insatiable cataclysm of rising confusion.
Almost 2,000 years ago a man, who was also the Only Son of the Only God, did not merely drive out death and darkness, but He took it all on Himself and defeated it. If we have any desire to see healing in our homes, our cities, states, this country and our society, we must accept His truth and His demonstration of truth and love.
Ours just isn’t working; and we’re living with the consequences.
Posted in Apologetics
Tags: absolute truth, AD 1453, AD 1945, consequences, God, Hebrew scholar, Hiroshima, individual, knowable, modern, Nagasaki, Only God, Only Son, outworking, post postmodern, postmodern, postmodernity, premodern, private, theism, them, those people, Truth, United States, us, WWII
Posted by Jim Grieme
While forgetfulness is a universally experienced bane of humanity, what is now being considered—and even demanded—by many in today’s culture has not so much been forgotten as it has never been learned.
To be forgetful is one thing entirely and is a forgivable problem. Those with family members who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease understand the personal anguish associated with those who have lapsed into the terribly increasing nothingness of those diseases. These families would never blame their loved ones for forgetting; they only possess a deep longing for its cure.
Yet to not know, to be controlled by a veritable arrogance of this agnostic lack of situational awareness, often produces derision in the observers of those who refuse to know. The realization of those who witness this pandemic of ignorance is this: even if they had the opportunity to show those caught up in their blissful celebration, those affected would never desire to see the presentation of reality nor do they possess the mindset to appreciate what they would deem as an antagonistic view.
Their reaction would demonstrate the wisdom of not casting one’s pearls before swine; they would eat as food which should be digested as wisdom.
Ideas have consequences. Words have meaning. Meaning demands that absolute truth must exist. Truth ignored will bring consequences.
I do not believe in an esoteric version of truth; I believe truth is embodied in a Person. There exists One who is Truth. This Truth is absolute. This Truth exists. Someone may choose to not believe in Him, yet He cannot be dismissed or ignored; true, one may attempt to do so, but the consequences are profound.
If something in the wisdom presented by humanity—whether philosophically, scientifically, or practically—if such wisdom is true, the One who embodies Truth is the originator and the owner of such Truth.
Too many of the ideas being spread like nightsoil on a field are being seriously considered as viable options to consider. Are people forgetful? Yes, but that’s part of being human. Are people ignorant? Absolutely! Yet ignorance is an addressable weakness; yet to do so one must acknowledge their lack of knowledge and seek to overcome that lack with knowledge.
Today, because of the prevalence and overwhelming acceptance of postmodernity, everyone can determine their own truth. If someone speaks an idea into existence, then we are forced to accept it, unless the speaker is deemed to be unenlightened by those who “know the truth”—who know their truth—and then it is derided and rejected.
To get well when one is sick, it isn’t the fact a doctor exists somewhere and because there is a doctor “out there somewhere” the sickness will be cured. No, the one who is sick must admit they are sick. Then they must seek out a doctor who possess the “true” treatment regimen which will then make the one who is sick better or well.
Education, filling people with “knowledge,” will not cure the diseases which now wrack our society and culture; in many ways, unfettered knowledge possessed by those who lack wisdom, contributes to the turmoil we are currently experiencing.
The English, Franciscan friar, William of Ockham, invented what has been attributed to him as “Ockham’s Razor.” When a problem has more than two answers which address all the facts of the problem, the simplest answer will be the one most often correct.
The answer to the complex problems facing our world, our society and our culture, should not be addressed by complex and obviously recycled answers. It is time to set aside arrogance, to reject labels of unsophistication and patriarchy, and consider the One who is Truth, Life and the only Way out of our predicament. Jesus Christ is the only viable answer to the chaos we are witnessing and experiencing.
Unfortunately, many will reject this answer. Instead they will opt to once again keep doing what has always been done.
And they will keep receiving what has always been received.