Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Modernism, Post-Modernism, Christianism

It annoys me the way some Christians (usually the more left-wing variety) throw 'post-modernism' around as it means they do not have to hold legitimate reasons for their beliefs. What they don't seem to understand is that same post-modern philosophy that tells them they are free to believe as they want to, also tells them their 'truth' is entirely subjective and just as valid as the 'truth' of other, competing religions. These Christians tend not to notice the latter edge of the two-edged post-modern sword. More right-wing Christians tend to realise this and thus hold post-modernism as yet another attack of that dirty philosopher Satan.

Post-modernists like Jacques Derrida say that language is an imperfect form of communication due to the constant shift of meaning. Context, time, place, variations of meaning, even the experiences and emotions of the reader or hearer all play a part in how meaning is conveyed and received. This means that truth communicated via language is always subjective and relative, never absolute. This flies in the face of many premises of modernism, but it also flies in the face of the absolute truth and therefore exclusiveness of Christianity.

Post-modernism also challenges the Bible as 'the word of God'. As language is such an imperfect form of communication, how can the Bible even claim perfection seeing as it uses language? More so, the reader's use of language and all its imperfections make a perfect or inspired book a moot point. How can perfection be be received through such an imperfect means, let alone be given? It can't.

Post-modernism may let the Christian off the hook for defending their beliefs but they must also accept that their beliefs are therefore relative, subjective and just as valid as those of any other belief or philosophy...including Islam, Hinduism and even...*gasp*...Atheism.


John W. Loftus said...

I just skimmed this Blog, but it looks very good. I put a link to it on Debunking Christianity.

SocietyVs said...

I really enjoy your deep thinking and the arguments you raise - although myself being a Christian - I still enjoy the light of honesty. Keep up the interesting posts!

Raymond said...

Hi there. Are you from China?

I'm from Hong Kong, and the two religions growing in influence there are Buddhism and Christianity. There aren't as many fundie preachers over here, but there are quite a few that don't seem to understand the meaning of religious diversity (when I tell them I study the philosophy of religion in uni, they ask me if I cant to be a Christian priest - they never think that I might just want to teach).

My blog is

Thanks for the good read. You've been linked by Debunking =).

泉州的外国人 said...

Thanks to all for your kind comments. I wonder how long until others get nasty? LOL!!!

Raymond, I am in China but I am Australian and yes, caucasian. My wife is from Shenzhen, next door to you, and my son was born there too. We live in Quanzhou, Fujian. I have lived in Asia for a collective 6 years and 2.5 here in China. I am slowly learning the language and see myself here for the long haul. I absolutely love it (as long as I don't look too hard at what goes on higher up the food chain) ;P

Raymond said...

what a coincidence. I am ethnically Chinese, but I am studying philosophy and religion in Australia (although I will go to a uni somewhere in the northern hemisphere to continue postgraduate). I have lots of Caucasian friends. If you intend to stay in China with your family I recommend you visit Xi'an, if you haven't already. It's China's Rome and even now you can tell when you're in the city because they still preserved the medieval city walls.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mr. Derida is right. The problem with post-modernism is due to that prefix: “post” and not “pre”.
This means it comes *then*, after.
And so the “modern cutting” has happened.
Christianity does not understand the true nihilism and cannot response to its challenge, for post-modernism is partly similar to nihilism in this:
Nihilism affirms there is no “Fundamentum”, no more *The* Value but many, theorically as many as possible, “Values”, plural.
In this world view Christianity is a legitimate “value” among *other* values.
The actual representatives of Christianism, thinking that post-modernism is their own side, demonster that they do belong to today. For they fail to understand that Christianism either is *The* Value or is nothing. To be “one value among other ones” is a true lost for it.

Cartee said...

and yet, look at you: expecting to communicate something with those words you chose. Seems almost like you're trying to communicate a particular idea. I wonder if Derrida ever thought of that.