Postmodernism truly confronts and questions many important issues of the Bible.
Postmodernism puts the Bible and truth on trial. Since there's many controversial issue of our society that involve postmodernism and the Bible, it is quite clear that both are vying for the right to be the final authority on these issues. Both are vital for studying many contemporary issues that the church should be abreast of. These discussions on all the different topics should be addressed within the church community.
The church is being challenged to consider the way we look at philosophy and science. Many of these issues continue to dominate the news, colleges, schools and churches. People need answers. Whatever they learn opens their mind to new thoughts about these touchy issues of life that the average Christian overlook on a daily basis. Christians should never overlook these social conditions but they sometimes are. In many cases, we are aware of such issues but just don't have the evangelical or compassionate perspective to address them. Like, the very question, "Is there a God who created the universe or exist," come from heart of the postmodern intellectuals. 1 As I look at the oasis of the church landscape, we need to put some mechanism in place to address some, if not all, concerns of truth and reality. Most churches on a whole do not have a Bible based response to these pressing questions. The problem is that there is not an effective unified Christian response to postmodernism. We need one effective Christ-like response.
The postmodern mind in medicine is knocking on the door of morality. Once doctors and scientists believes that there is no universal truth, and do not hold to the bible as being the true word of God, then human cloning with continue to develop until humans will start being cloned. For instance, the announcement came of the cloning of the sheep named Dolly many years ago. This opened the floodgates to human cloning within the scientific community. Even though there are many positive outcomes from these researches, it also has some very dangerous implications.
Richard Seed, a Chicago physicist, who is in favor of human cloning, made a stunning statement about this scientific progress. "We are going to become one with God. We are going to have almost as much knowledge and almost as much power as God." 2 This is the danger of a postmodern thinker... someone who doesn't believe for a second, that there is a God, a God that has set the laws of morality in place. Men like Richard Seed cannot see that this is against God's nature. They see these advances as a celebration of the sciences.
The Bible and postmodernism again is at odds with each other. The very subject of homosexuality has surely become a controversial issue of our time. Some research and studies assume that homosexuality is genetically determined. Many postmodern researchers claim that homosexuality is biological, while Christians recognize homosexuality as psychological. Postmodernists are again going against what most Christians believe is the truth. If there is no truth, everyone will do what is right in his own eyes.
The Bible (Holy Scriptures), which is the guide to objective truth, is thrown out the window and so-called scientific explanations are giving to appease the nay sayers of truth.
The church must capture an understanding of how this culture thinks. A need to gain an understanding on how we can reach the postmodern mindset with the Gospel message is needed. Christianity is base on universal truths and reality is that we must shape the future with this truth. Debates dealing with these issues are flooding the church. Our responsibility would now be to see how we could make a difference in this universe and that we are part of the world community. We live in this world and cannot close our eyes to these issues around us. Our mandate from Jesus' example should be lived out and not by just a few of us -- but by all. Christianity is faced with a challenge and the world will be looking at her.
So why is it important and necessary to answer the like of contemporary philosophers such as Lyotard and Derrida? Their philosophies have continued to influence thousands if not millions of people. C.S. Lewis said:
"To be ignorant and simple now-not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground, would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense, but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered." (Lewis, WG,28) 4
We cannot allow Rorty and the likes; get a free pass into the academic textbooks without a fight. Truth is on our side and it must be used. Rorty maintains:
"True sentences are not true because they correspond to reality, and so there is no need to worry what sort of reality, if any, a given sentence corresponds to - no need to worry about what makes it true". 5
Rorty denies the very fact that truth corresponds to reality. Rorty would like us to give up on the search for truth and be content with interpretations. How could all interpretations be true? The postmodern era is where everyone just wants to decide that they can believe in everything, in nothing, or in some things. If someone wants to believe that Jesus did not exist, that can be truth to him or her. If another person wants to believe that Jesus did exist but he didn't die on the cross and rose to everlasting life that could be truth for them.
Once the existence of Jesus is questioned, in all accounts, the existence of God will be questioned as well. Out of the postmodern minds, popular theories like the Wrong Tomb and the Hallucination theories will continue to dominate the debates. These are common sense theories that to me don't make much sense. Postmodernism rejects the idea that God exists. Because of this, the struggle to prove that God does in fact exist will always be a challenge.
I have been going to church all my life and have seldom heard a sermon based on postmodernism. It seems that the churches has ignored this subject and are just probably not as informed as they should be in the many issues that seem somewhat "outside the church." The average Christian has not been taught or is not aware of the fact that much of our worship to God depends on our defense of the Faith and how we deal with the postmodern community around us. The church's failure to be more involved in these debates will in someway hamper the way we witness to the world. It would be hard to present the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel should be presented in a way that those that are confused could come to the church and receive good philosophy. The misconception is that many Christians believe that the Bible and postmodernism can't work together to some extent. Both can mix very well to some degrees. The mixing can and should take place because that is the only way the errors will be exposed. For instance some believers shy away from science, thinking that science is not good. There is a mis-education among evangelicals in this area. God created the world scientifically. He gave man the knowledge to study science and make progress in this area.
The fact is, postmodernism is complex. It is not as easy to understand because of it is not easily understood. And once something is not understood in its fullest context, it is therefore hard to explain (are for that matter) harder to challenge and show the errors. Some Christians will even doubt and have doubts because of the challenges that we face concerning postmodernism. 6
Truth and knowledge is attacked at the very foundation. The doctrines of postmodernism rejects truth but at the same time claim that their thesis is true and ours is false. According to Stanley Grenz, "by replacing the modern worldview with a multiplicity of views and worlds, the postmodern era has in effect replaced knowledge with interpretation." 7 In essence they seem to be saying that the truth is there is no truth. But that is not true and the church must reject such claims.
Dennis McCallum, shares a story that best describes postmodernism:
A friend of mine told me that when Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias visited Columbus to speak at Ohio State University, his hosts took him to visit the Wexner Center for the Arts. The Wexner Center is a citadel of postmodern architecture. It has stairways leading to nowhere, columns that come down but never touch the floor, beams and galleries going everywhere, and a crazy-looking exposed girder system over most of the outside. Like most of postmodernism, it defies every canon of common sense and every law of rationality.
Zacharias looked at the building and cocked his head. With a grin he asked, "I wonder if they used the same techniques when they laid the foundation?"
His point is very good. It's one thing to declare independence from reality when building a monument. It's another thing when we have to come into contact with the real world. (McCallum, "The Real Issue," 1) 8
Postmodernism has no place in the real world and the World needs to know that.
1. RBC Ministries, Can I Really Trust the Bible? (RBC Ministries), pg 30.
2. Carrie Earl, Human Cloning (Focus on the Family, 2002).
3. Jeffrey Satinover, The Gay Gene? (Focus on the Family Magazine, 1999),pg 1.
4. Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), pg 611.
5. Ibid 613
6. RBC Ministries, Why We Believe (RBC Ministries), pg 32.
7. Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), pg 619-620.
Earl, Carrie. Human Cloning. Citzen Link Magizine, (www.family.org/cforum/research/papers/a0016367html) 2002.
McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999.
Satinover, Jeffrey. The Gay Gene? Focus on the Family Magazine. Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family, 1999.
RBC Ministries. Can I Really Trust The Bible? Grand Rapids, MI: RBC Ministries, 2000.
RBC Ministries. Why We Believe. Grand Rapids, MI: RBC Ministries, 2000.