Postmodernism has been a topic I have wanted to write about for quite a while now. I believe it is the root of many of the issues in the church today. Wikipedia defines postmodernism broadly as “a skeptical interpretive stance through which to view any product of human culture.” The article goes on to say “postmodernism take the relativistic position that there is no absolute truth.” This is a big problem for the church. Obviously the Bible claims to be the one supreme truth. Jesus makes no hesitation in claiming that he is the only true path to God (John 14:6). Therefore to a Christian, right off the bat, post modernistic techniques which look to skeptically reinterpret Biblical claims ought to be rejected.
Let me preface this next section by explaining that I do not think it is unhealthy to question things in the Bible. For me, questioning the Bible has been the times I have grown the most. People oftentimes become overwhelmed with the amount of skeptical material available. There are tons of websites devoted to “debunking” the Bible. They list pages of information that most often make claims of apparent contradiction upon contradiction in the text. If the text contradicts itself it, it cannot be reliable information right? Unfortunately a lot of skeptics end their search here feeling fulfilled that their questioning was valid. Here’s where human nature plays in. If we can find anyway to show something in the Bible incorrect, then we don’t have to be held accountable for that! We have an invested desire to show it false, therefore we jump at any explanation we find that settles it for us. What those that do this do not realize is that it is just as easy to Google “answers to Biblical contradictions”. If you study those answers what you will realize real quickly is that a contradiction needs to be proven. If there is any other possible and rational explanation, then a contradiction is not proven. A lot of the claimed contradictions do not take the timeframe culture into account and many ignore context clues that answer the contradiction.
Christianity is a religion about surrender. It is all about surrendering our ideas about how we think the world SHOULD work to the revelation in the scriptures about how it DOES work. Absolute truth most certainly exists. If you are of the camp that says “I don’t believe in absolute truth”, I can simply turn around and ask you if that statement is absolutely true or not! It is a laughable and untenable position to hold. For those who claim it does not exit, they are left with the unanswerable question of under what situations is sexual abuse of a child acceptable. It is much more defendable to say: under no conditions is it ever alright to sexually abuse a child. Absolute truth exists.
Let’s look at some examples of how postmodernism has infiltrated the church. Obviously on this site we deal with the creation/evolution debate quite a bit. Adherents to Christianity tend to try and get skeptics to compromise the Bible from the very first chapters. If they can successfully show that the Bible is not reliable from the very beginning, then they can start to convince you of the rest little by little. When you destroy the foundations, the house crumbles eventually. The Bible, in and of itself, obviously describes a rapid creation within recent history. In fact the timeline is extremely well documented. It takes outside influence to come to any other conclusion about history. A Christian is going to have to decide what they believe about the Bible in general. Is it the word of God or the word of man? If you are of the camp that it is the word of man – how do you determine what parts should affect your lifestyle and which you can discard? It sounds to me as if it would leave it up to personal preference. I don’t think truth works like that. As someone who already faithfully accepts the miraculous salvation story of Jesus based on the written record in the Bible, I see no reason to reject other parts of it equally unseen by my own eyes. I find it much more religiously safe and intellectually defendable to simply accept the Bible as absolute truth then to decide for myself which parts are true or not. I cannot defend my belief in Jesus consistently while rejecting something like the flood. I would not be taken serious in a real debate. Of course I do not believe things should be accepted blindly either. I’ve written over 150 articles about how to defend the Bible from the very first chapters. I have seen no theological or scientific reason to reject anything written in the Bible while at the same time finding bountiful information that keeps confirming the scriptures over and over.
Another area postmodernism is infiltrating the church is in the debate over homosexuality. There are some who would actually construct arguments to show that the Bible never meant to be against it. The Bible read plainly is obviously not supportive of same-sex unions. If postmodernists can twist something so obvious to say the exact opposite, isn’t it apparent that they could then twist ANYTHING?
Take the flood. Postmodernists have reinterpreted the flood as a local flood instead of global. That invalidates the entire story. Water covered all the high hills… and then what dropped off?? Everything with the breath of life in it outside the ark was destroyed… except what 100 miles away?? I will destroy this creation I made… except what everything outside 100 miles is fine? Collect two of every animal… why not just move them out of the flood region?? No. I have no problem with different interpretations as long as they are consistent with all other scriptures and do not purposely create contradictions.
To sum it all up, postmodernists are seekers. They want the truth, but are not sure of how to find it. They turn their ears to any doctrine that seems to match how they already view the world. If they personally think homosexuality is acceptable, then they are going to reject any doctrine stating otherwise. But how do they know if the doctrine they just rejected IS the truth? They’ve biased out the truth in exchange for something that will confirm their starting assumptions. But if God is real and does rule this universe, do you really think that is the accurate way to come to the truth? In other words – is the truth supposed to change you, or are you supposed to change the truth? The Bible talks about this revisionist history subject in 2 Timothy 4:3 – “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” When Jesus was ever confronted with those wishing to change his stances, his response was always “it is written” taking everything back to the scriptures – let’s do the same!