Postmodernism and Truth
Let’s conduct the following thought experiment.
You are a professing Christian who lives in an environment saturated with postmodern philosophical assumptions. Over time, you are influenced by these assumptions, and, eventually begin to accept them as your own. The following are the postmodern assumptions about truth and language that you have accepted.
Postmodern Understanding of Truth:
- The rejection of an objective natural reality—is sometimes expressed by saying that there is no such thing as Truth. Encyclopedia Britannica
- Postmodernists deny that there are aspects of reality that are objective; that there are statements about reality that are objectively true or false; that it is possible to have knowledge of such statements (objective knowledge); that it is possible for human beings to know some things with certainty; and that there are objective, or absolute, moral values. Encyclopedia Britannica
Postmodern Understanding of Language:
- Postmodernists claim that language is semantically self-contained, or self-referential: the meaning of a word is not a static thing in the world or even an idea in the mind but rather a range of contrasts and differences with the meanings of other words. Encyclopedia Britannica
Now, ask your self this: If there is no such thing as Truth, and, language is only able to convey a range of contrasts and differences, then is there any such thing as a “lie”? My answer is: The extent to which a person integrates postmodern philosophy into their life is the extent to which they are at risk of not believing there is something called a “lie”.
We have previously observed that, even with the full power of God’s barrier against untruthfulness at our disposal, Christians still struggle with the issue of Truth. If, in addition to, or as a replacement of, orthodox Christian morality a person embraces postmodernism, the barrier to untruthfulness can only be significantly lowered.
Am I here saying that postmodern Christians are liars? Absolutely not! The fact is, I know Christians who fully embrace orthodoxy, but who are regularly untruthful. I also know Christians who have clearly embraced postmodernism who are refreshingly honest about their goals and means.
My first point is that, over two general populations with similar innate characteristics, we should expect a higher level of average truthfulness from the population that believes Truth exists and that language is capable of conveying it.
My second point is that, if in an organization two camps form with significantly differing understandings of a fundamental concept such as Truth, the level of distrust and acrimony will inexorably increase. I believe that this is an important component of what’s “going on” in the PCUSA, and is a significant contributor to the current catastrophic loss in membership (The PCUSA’s Continuous Decline).