Wednesday, May 04, 2011

GIANTS IN THE LAND – A REVISITATION

Before moving on to the next point (modernisms ahistorical universality), I would like to offer a statement of review and clarification. The consideration of postmodernism, in comparison to modernism, is intended to provide perspective regarding the cultural atmosphere in which our current “search” for truth takes place. I increasingly suspect that postmodernism is actually not post anything, it is more like twistmodernism, just a new twist on old thoughts. In the last two entries, we considered the postmodern reaction to foundationalism (certain beliefs are known because of certain prior beliefs or presuppositions – a way of avoiding infinite regress of thought) and the reliance upon method in one’s research or investigation of reality / truth. In a book entitled, Philosophy Without Foundations: Rethinking Hegal, author William Maker writes, “Because the rejection of foundationalism is conjoined with the claim that knowledge is determined by the context in which the knower is located, antifoundationalism generally can be said to endorse holism, that conception of knowledge according to which truth is defined not in terms of correspondence to objects but as the coherence of claims within the frame of reference defined by the tradition, style of discourse, or set of linguistic or social practices in which the knower is located.” Many things could be said at this point but, wanting to make one simple point I would suggest that this is not ultimately post or anti anything as much as it is a redefinition of the foundation upon which knowledge is built and “truth” is sought. The challenge that arises is that it erodes, denies, or attempts to eliminate other foundations upon which others have built. This has a huge, negative impact when it comes to Biblical Christianity. Certainly, I am not suggesting that cultural considerations are of no importance. Any good hermeneutics instruction will clarify this issue. However, making the cultural consideration the foundation for truth is a HUGE mistake that has HUGE implications and ramifications regarding the Biblical text. In a sense, I am shocked that such great numbers of people would “buy into” this concept as suggested by a handful of contemporary philosophers!

Regarding the issue of reliance upon methodological procedure, we run into a similar idea. Method has not actually been abandoned; there has been the replacement of one method for another method. Postmodernism is not actually post-method, it is only a new method of dealing with (in many cases denying) reality. The question to address is whether it is a better, or even good, method. I would suggest that postmodernism has drawn many unto a foundation that will prove worthy of collapse with methods unable to effectively analyze truth claims (a bold, un-validated claim at this point).

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NASB)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NASB)

Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” (John 8:31-32, NASB)

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