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Part One The Postmodern View of Truth

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1 Part One The Postmodern View of Truth
What Is Truth? Part One The Postmodern View of Truth

2 Our New World of Postmodernism
Our nation was built upon principles of truth: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” (Decl. of Indep.) Our postmodern world is sadly suffering from truth decay … among many, truth is no longer 1) knowable, 2) absolute, 3) objective), or 4) universal Our modern way of thinking can be summed up in one word: “Whatever…” (said with a tone of apathy)

3 Pre-Modern Modern Post-Modern
c. 200 B.C. to 1600 A.D. c to A.D. c to present Life is governed by the objective truths accepted from the divine Truth is determined by empirical facts and moral principles Life is governed by human discoveries and human reason (science, logic) Truth is determined by empirical, scientific proof Life is governed by feelings Truth is a “construct” of our own mind (a culture const. or an individual const.)

4 Postmodernism Postmodernism is a philosophical belief that one cannot be certain about things (truths, realities) Postmodernism has affected all major aspects of our society: law, politics, science, literature, education, architecture, art, the media, religion, etc. The belief that one cannot be certain is not new (Gen. 3:1; Eccl. 1:9)

5 Postmodernism Frederick Nietzsche once said that “convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies” A belief becomes “truth” for a postmodernist at the moment one makes a “choice” to believe something; a “truth” for that moment and time A “truth” for the postmodernist is what works, what one prefers, what brings one pleasure

6 Postmodern Catchwords
Subjective Individual worldview Pluralistic Relative Construct (ivism) Scripted / significance Narratives / fictions Multiculturalism Situationalism Deconstruction Tolerance Choice

7 Postmodern Lingo “That may be true for you, but that doesn’t make it true for me.” “The way I live is my choice. You don’t have a right to impose your views on me.” “Whatever…” (said with a tone of apathy)

8 Our New World of Postmodernism
What brought about postmodernism? 1. The failure of modernism (particularly the late 1800’s) to bring about a perfect world order 2. A cosmopolitan, multi-media-saturated environment 3. The vast diversity of religious and philosophical perspectives available to everyone 4. A fixed sense of identity, or one best way to live, had become lost

9 Our New World of Postmodernism
What brought about postmodernism? 5. The belief that language comes from man alone and cannot describe realities (truths) outside of man 6. The belief that written texts do not have determinate, singular knowable meaning (truth) 7. The belief that truth is formed, not by reality, but by power relationships

10 Postmodernism and Religion
Religious beliefs (realities) are plural, subjective, and derived from one’s individual worldviews Individuals “construct” their own truths and values (realities); no pre-existing body of knowledge No one should impose his or her ideas on other people; all ideas are equally valid; tolerance is the only binding principle; no judging or criticism People will drift in a sea of constant doubt and change; agnostic; no certainty; no proof

11 Postmodernism and Religion
There are no objective truths; no fixed order; truth and morality are relative People will be shaped by an arbitrary set of values given to them by society If there is no objective truth, what is there to learn? Why read, study, prove, etc.? If there is no objective truth, then there are no wrong answers to questions

12 Postmodernism and Religion
People are afraid to be certain, afraid of authority or to speak with authority People are free to believe whatever they want Religion is about a “feeling” not a set of values and ideals (true or false)

13 Postmodernism Doesn't Play By Its Own Rules
“There is no absolute truth…” (except for the statement that there is no absolute truth) “All social constructs (beliefs) should be deconstructed…” (except the belief of postmodernism which should not be deconstructed) “People should not condemn…” (unless its condemning condemnation) and “people should be tolerant of all others…” (except for people who are intolerant)

14 Paul's Response to Postmodernism in Romans 1
There is such a thing as objective truth (vv ) There is such a thing as objective truth because God is real (v. 20) If you reject God and his objective truth, you no longer have a basis for either reason or morality; anything goes; man is god (vv ) If you live a life of vain reasoning and immorality, you will reap serious consequences (v. 32)

15 Postmodernism vs. the Bible
NT Christians were not “scripted” by their culture, but they were formed by the gospel (1 Cor. 1:22-29) There is one way to God, not multiple ways: one savior (Jn. 14:6; 18:37-38; Ac. 4:12), one gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), and one church (Eph. 4:4-6) The gospel is to stay the same, not be “deconstructed” (2 Tim. 1:13; Jude 3)

16 Postmodernism For further study on the subject of postmodernism, consult the following: Gene E. Veith, Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (Wheaton: Crossway, 1994) Donald Carson, The Gagging of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995) Stanley J. Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000)

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