July 23, 2012

The Death of Truth II: The Illogical Untruth of Postmoderism

Quod Est Veritas?
Christ and Pilate
Nikolay GayOil Painting on Canvas

John 18:37-38 ~ “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked. 

What is Truth?

To be able to define a Postmodernist’s stance, truth must be described. The Postmodernist believes in a plurality or multiplicity of truth. To the Postmodernist truth has become relative (Groothuis 20). A multiplicity of truth is not truth at all, no more than a plurality of morality is by definition morality, its confusion and disorder. A plurality of truth is counterintuitive to the idea of truth which in its basic essence is an accord with reality or a conformity to a standard or ideal. Truth is a fundamental or spiritual reality. Augustine stated that if man's mind is incapable of grasping truth, particularly if man is incapable of grasping the truth about God, then theology and subsequently morality are impossible to ascertain (Clark 1113). This is because real truth or absolute truths have moral and spiritual implications because this truth exudes from the essence of what God is just as it is stated in the John 14:6’s, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Clark 1114). There is nothing standard or ideal about Postmodernism as it accepts all truth as true. If it accepts all truth claims to reality as equally valid, how can truth possibly be standard then? It would need to be non-standard or irregular/uncommon and therefore non-conforming. It also makes every truth claim, biblical or otherwise, equally valid with Scripture. For a Christian, this is an absurd proposition. This is especially if a truth claim contradicts another which is bound to happen if all are accepted. Truth in its purest sense is by its very nature-absolute, or it is not truth. The idea of relative truth is a misnomer or contradiction. Therefore anyone claiming truth is relative to the observer or subjective is in reality being duplicitous and misusing words. Therefore we immediately see the disingenuous nature of someone making claims that multiple truths are true.

What is Postmodernism?

The first thing we must do to understand why the Postmodernist view of a plurality of truth is a detriment to Christianity (and subsequently society), is to figure out what the postmodern mindset really is. First it must be understood that the main underlying principle or mantra of the postmodernist is that everyone’s subjective truth claims are all equally valid as stated earlier. This means the notion of absolutes has been forsaken (Moreland 80; Webber 23; Westphal 128). According to J.P. Moreland in Kingdom Triangle, in Postmodernism, “…there is no such thing as objective reality, truth, value, reason, and so forth” (Moreland 77-78). Because of these underlying philosophies there is a general distrust of any claims to authority and Postmodernism generally operates under a modus operandi of skepticism or doubt whenever someone is bold enough to make an absolute or objective truth claim. This is not necessarily because any individual postmodernist is particularly hostile towards theistic worldview but rather that they are a product of the postmodern culture around them (Orr-Ewing 5).

Violator of the Laws of Non-Contradiction & The Excluded Middle

The first problem with the Postmodernist mindset is its approach to truth is not logical. It is logically incoherent (Orr-Ewing 3) and violates at least two primary axioms of logic. The first violation is of the Law of the Excluded Middle which states that for any proposition, it is either true or its opposite negation is (Slick, Law of Excluded Middle). Postmodernism says that it is possible for all truths to be true. The next problem is when we compound this idea with the axiom or the idea of the Law of Non-Contradiction. The law of non-contradiction basically states that something can’t be both true and not true at the same time when dealing or working within the same context. The reason this becomes a problem for Postmodernism is because in any given context, a postmodernist states that all truths must be true and this just cannot be possible in any given context. By making this very statement, a Postmodernist violates a main underlying tenet of their belief system, thereby nullifying the logical consistency and viability of their belief. This amounts to an internally inconsistent worldview and therefore it is flawed. Christianity on the other hand is “intra-textual” in terms of the Bible being a source of truth. It is consistent and makes sense from an internal point of view for describing reality. It does this without outside factors coming in to support it (Webber 185). Only one can have an absolute truth claim in any given context. Everyone cannot be right at the same time (Law of the Excluded middle). In this way, a Postmodernist has made a statement that is both true and untrue at the same time when they say, “all truths are true –or- there are no absolutes”. If “all truths are true” they’ve violated both the Law of the Excluded Middle and the Non-contradiction. They have also ironically made an absolute truth statement by claiming there are not absolute or objective truths. They are therefore perpetrators of the very thing they abhor…making them hypocrites.

Postmodernism Flies in The Face of Aristotelian Logic and Reason

The rampant pluralism created by Postmodernism does not allow for only one truth in a given situation or context (Groothuis 53). Aristotle had specifically stated that, “without the principle of non-contradiction we could not know anything that we do know,” and this is because we wouldn’t be able to distinguish what something really is. nor could we establish the definitive truth about something (Aristotle on Non-Contradiction, Stanford Encyclopedia). A person is a person or a rock is rock. However ludicrous it seems, a postmodernist says that a person could say a person is a rock and his statement would need to be taken as valid. It is here we see the severe damaging effects of the Postmodernist’s philosophy. If someone could say a person is a rock then someone else can also say that there is one God (Christianity) or there is a plurality of gods (or manifestations of God) (Newport 68, 83) and still view both statements a correct. They can also say that there are multiple paths to salvation through individual enlightenment or multiple manifestations of god/God (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) or there is a single path to salvation (Christianity). Both cannot be true. It is at this particular point where we see that Christianity begins to become undesirable to a Postmodernist. It is because, unlike many other religions, Christianity is exclusivist and makes absolute exclusivist truth claims.

Intellectual Honesty & Something More

From an intellectually honest academic standpoint, the aforementioned violations of the basic premises of logic and postmodernisms should effectively shoot postmodernism down in flames. For any logical and intellectually honest person it will. What is so unsettling is that this is not the case. The fact is that this philosophy, worldview/religion is rampant in society. This tells me at least three possible things. People are either (1) not thinking through their logic properly (2) willfully being duped by false premises or (3) There is a prejudice or intolerance against exclusivist religions, especially Christianity due to its extremely narrow demands on adherents for a path to a single being God through Jesus Christ. It is my belief that this discrimination is against Christianity in particular and may or may not be demonic or supernatural in origin.

Postmodernism's Justifications

It will be posited by adherents of postmodernism that they are just being “tolerant” and inclusive of everyone’s beliefs and they will state that this is the proper thing to do in a tolerant and civilized society. They have thereby deconstructed the meaning of the word “tolerance” and redefined it to mean that they are accepting of everything…except things that they don’t like. A Postmodernists view of tolerant means being inclusivist to other’s beliefs but only when it suits or backs their worldview. What they fail to consider or understand is that by accepting all points of view they are literally creating an anarchical grouping of people with no absolute truth claims only subjective truth claims. By allowing everyone to live by their own rules and moral guidelines they have made themselves (humanity) their own highest authority. This is of course strangely reminiscent of the time of the Judges in the Bible where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (MacArthur ESV, Judges 17:6, 21:25). We eventually see this reflected in society’s failure to formulate cogent laws and some of the laws even negate one another. To base a standard of morality off of a known capricious entity like a human is like basing a massive edifice (humanity) on a flawed foundational base (a relativistic postmodern base). In doing this a postmodern society is placing its fundamental basis for truth on ever-shifting sands of human impulse. To the Postmodernist, truth has indeed become relative to the observer (Groothuis 20). They have therefore become moral relativists (Groothuis 38). They have settled on a definition of truth that is not true (Groothuis 24).

Postmodernism's Antithetical Nature to Christianity

The Christian worldview is opposite this and its statements about the truth of humanity and their condition is clear: Humanity is totally depraved and hardly the correct basis of formulation of moral guidelines to base civilization on. This depraved nature compounded with the idea of no absolutes or even objective truths only leads to chaos and further debasing or society since there will be no absolute or objective standard of morality if there are not absolute/objective truths to base morality on.

A Shape-Shifting Parasite

Having stated all this I could conceivably state that I have shown postmodernism to be in direct violation of a fundamental law of logic thereby rendering it internally inconsistent from a logic standpoint which was the original premise of this paper but there is more that needs to be extracted from this topic. There is something much more sinister and subtle going on with Postmodernism that usually flies under radar. It is the idea that Postmodernism is a shape-shifting syncretistic parasite. It’s extremely pluralistic nature and the beliefs of its adherents that all subjective truth statements are valid make it friendly to like-minded pluralistic religions or at least religions that allow for multiple perceptions of manifestations of a god (Hinduism, Buddhism, Nature Religions, etc. (Newport 65, 68) . It can then blend or morph into said religions until it becomes nearly indistinguishable from the host religion. In this way Postmodernism is either parasitic or at least symbiotic to other beliefs (Webber 23). Anyone that attempts to isolate Postmodernism and call it out for its inconsistencies is often met with resistance and labeled “intolerant”, "ignorant" or "hater".

Isaiah 5:20 ~ "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...