Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Question 3: What is Post-modernism cont.

Positives of Post-modernity
I know of some people who are very down on post-modernism, but I think there are some advantages to post-modern thinking.

(1) Post-moderns focus more on knowing “why” than they do on knowing “what.” In other words, post-moderns want to know “so-what” For so many years I think the teachings of the church focused on knowing the facts without knowing how these facts were lived out in our lives. Post-modern thinkers are helping the church rediscover the Christian life. In Brian McLaren’s book A Generous Orthodoxy, he compares the concepts of “orthodoxy” verses that of “orthopraxy.” He says that orthodoxy is about having “right beliefs” while “orthopraxy” is about right living. I think post-modern thinkers are trying to understand right living.

(2) Post-moderns can see truths in multiple arguments. This dawned on me one day when a good friend of mine named Daniel was in a class with Dennis Flaugher at the church. Dennis presented a number of different views of the atonement (Jesus restoring us to God). Then Dennis had everyone divide into groups and discuss which view they chose and why. In Daniel’s group, each person carefully accepted one view and defended it. Then, when they asked Daniel which one he chose, he stated that he could see truth in all of them. Daniel’s response articulated what I believe most post-modern thinkers would suggest. This approach allows a Christian to be influenced by arguments that they may not agree with. For example, I am not a universalist ( I do not believe every person will go to heaven), but I do find some truth in the things they argue. I do believe that God loves every person and that God desires the salvation of everyone.

Negatives of Post-modernity

(1) Post-modernity can cause people to have a negative view of the world. If you do not believe this, listen to pop singers and rappers. Post-moderns have been taught to question everything and in doing this, have lost any kind of meaning to life. I love the sitcom Seinfeld. I was sad when it went off the air. However, the show was advertised as a show about nothing. Unfortunately, post-moderns are finding that they do not believe in anything and life looses all meaning.

(2) In our quest for finding truth in multiple arguments, post-moderns are embracing an idea that there is NO truth. To me, this is very sad. Christianity has become so watered down because we do not want to offend anyone. I have discovered that to a large group in the church universal, Jesus is offensive. Many Post-modern Christians are turning to Pluralism (meaning that all religions are equal paths to God) The problem with this is ,as Jerry Walls, in his book Heaven, the Logic of Eternal Joy says , “[A view such as this] requires Christians, as well as adherents of other religions that make exclusive claims, [such as the incarnation, atonement, resurrection, and the Trinity] to give up what is distinctive to their faith and accept a generic substitute in its place." Pluralism not only forces Christians to surrender the things that we hold dear to us, but those people who belong to other religions are forced to give up a belief in those things they hold to be exclusive. For example, Islam would have to believe that Muhammad was not the greatest prophet and that the Koran was just another religious self help book. I am not sure about you, but I do not see Muslims choosing this option.

My hope is that we can continue thinking and believing in Jesus as the “way, the truth, and the life.” In so doing, we will hold onto those beliefs that are essential to our faith and understanding of God. I also hope that the post-modern influence will help us continue to ask what it means to follow Jesus. In other words, how can we live the way Jesus did so that others will see the truth of his life. I also hope we will be able to love those who worship a different god despite our disagreements. We can do this without denying what we believe about Jesus.

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