Postmodernism

by Kathryn

At TLC Cell group this evening (Wednesday 07 November 2007) the issue of postmodernism in modern day Christianity reared its head. Does it have it’s place? Is it a cop out and too non-conformist?

7 Responses to “Postmodernism”

  1. Mark - slightly off the rails Says:

    Postmodernism is modern day Christianity reared it’s head about 15 years ago with the thoughts of Derrida & Foucalt, although it is interesing to hear that it got mentioned in Cell Group. I wondering in what context it was discussed?

    Regarding whether it has a place – it already has a place, the question is – is it a welcome place & should postmodernist thinking be embraced, or is it a cause for concern? A key thought here is to recognise that our Culture & the Christian Gospel are seperate things, and our understanding of each is affected by the other. The Gospel, of course, transcends every culture and therefore has both the right & ability to transform culture, but that same Gospel is also inevitable understood by people within a culture which is partly why ‘our’ understanding of the Gospel is never the full Gospel and why (this is the exciting bit)it can & should constantly challenge us to be transformed (into the image of Christ; the perfect embodiement of God).

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Below is the explanation of how and in what context postmdernism was brought up in Wednesdays cell group.
    We were looking at world view and I felt I was a little wishy washy and had quite a bit of sympathy with the postmodern world view. This then brought forth a brief discussion. We then went on to the agape website with Liz and the rest well, you see…………..

    I would love to have an all consuming passion and envy the certainty of others in their belief. I would dearly love for my faith to encompass my whole being and fill my soul, bringing me certainty and leaving me feeling assured, secure, accepted and significant. I look on as others abandon themselves and think in wonder – you go girl,(I make reference to the female gender as at Agape at least this is what I have witnessed or at least what my eyes choose to see). I am not being flippant I admire the man who stands up and preaches on a busy high street. I admire those who step out of their comfort zones and continue to push their own boundries because of their overwhelming belief and desire to share the good news they have discovered and they know to be out there.
    However, I digress Postmodernism reared it’s head because I am unsure. I felt that my world view was sympathetic to postmodernism. I am somewhat troubled by my hesitancy to conform. I realise I am a bit wishy washy. I fear certainty would assume I knew better than others and would lose acceptance, empathy or compassion for others. I fear my tolerance for varying viewpoints would be hindered and sanctimony and bigotry would take hold of me.
    I admire the certainty of what is written in the bible is true, but I struggle with how that truth is interpreted; where are the dinosaurs, why is/was inequality and what about human and civil rights why was slavery accepted by a christian lead society. Why then do we now have 2.4children and work longer hours to buy fancy cars and dine out waste resources, detroy the environment, buy posh china, concern ourselves with fiction and materials that will neither help us or one another? Should we not be activists and salvationers, am I being to extreme? How can I choose bits that suit me, how can any of us? How do I believe ‘the truth’ and not be ever so slightly postmodernist or is it somrthing else entirely. I am tormented for not knowing ‘the truth’ I hope you can accept my questioning as learning and exploration. I do not intend it to hurt, patronize or even to play devils advocate. I hope this explains my reasons for asking the question. I search for answers and I believe there is a God please forgive me if in my ramblings I have said anything to offend, I am aware of my ignorance, I am seeking you are found and I welcome all feedback, negative, corrective or otherwise. Kathryn

  3. Colin Says:

    Thank-you for the interesting & thought provoking contributions thus far.

    I thought I knew what a postmodern Society was , so I thought I’d just look it up to make sure.

    I quote, ” most definitions are hopelessly vague and often inconsistent”

    However,I think there are some things we can say. In a post-modern society there are no absolute values, only relative ones; nor are there absolute truths. There are no universal or ethical laws, everything is shaped by the culteral context of a particular time & place.

    Therefore in a post-modern culture it doesn’t matter what you believe, laws are relative & I think the view that “as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else its Ok” type of philosophy develops.

    In Deuteronomy 12 V 8 the people are reminded not to do here today, “everyone as he sees fit” , an attitude which seems to sum up our present society.

    The Christian gospel still holds to absolute truth. Jesus in John 6 V 47&53 says “I tell you the truth”. In John 14 V6 even more emphatically states “I am the way the way and the truth and the life”

    As ever the gospel comes down to a person Jesus Christ and what we believe about Him.

  4. Liz Says:

    In my opinion, tolerance of other views/beliefs is one of the pillars of post-modernism, and surely this would do us no harm as a way of thinking as to outsiders, parts of the church and their beliefs are viewed to be intolerant of many other ‘ways of life’.
    Just a thought.

  5. Mark - slightly off the rails Says:

    Tolerance is often raised as a postmodernist objection to strongly held religious convictions.
    Tolerance of other views/beliefs is, of cours, not uniquely a mark of postmodernism, it is also a strong Christian characteristic. The issue about tolerance can be faced by a simple question – i.e. are you willing for me to believe something is right and something else is wrong? If so, you are showing tolerance. However, if I am not allowed to believe that something is wrong (eg. a wrongly held view about who Jesus is) then it is not I who is being intolerant! The nature of tolerance is that you must allow me to be believe that something is ‘wrong’, otherwise you are not allowing me the freedom of personal conviction that is craved within modern culture.

    I fear I’m now sounding rather ‘abstract’. A really helpful place to get some really good thinking on this is at bethinking.org where there are excellent written & audio recording on such issues as:- Truth & Intolerance, Understanding Postmodernism, Does Bellief require warrant?, and one of my favourites – How do Thinking and Faith fit together? Check out the site at http://www.bethinking.org/search.php?q=postmodernism

  6. xheight Says:

    Simply….Postmodernism is just a label to justify a fractured society. So where do we go from here? DISCUSS!!

  7. xheight Says:

    Regarding “dinosaurs” what is the Leviathan mentioned in Job 3:8, Job 41:1, Psalm 74:14, Psalm 104:26, Isa 27:1, and then there is the Behemoth in Job 40:15. Explain???

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