The Christian apologist Norman Geisler wrote about postmodernism: "In short, the root of Post-modernism is atheism and the fruit of it is relativism — relativism in every area of life and thought." Atheists played a significant role in terms of postmodernist leadership and its following (see: Postmodernism and atheists). Furthermore, Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel note in their book Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews that "The British Broadcasting Corporation actually lists postmodernism as a subset of atheism." See also: Atheism and postmodernism
Arthur W. Lindsley, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, C.S. Lewis Institute, wrote:
|“||Many postmodern contentions are self-refuting. An ancient example of this was the Greek philosopher Gorgius, who maintained that “All statements are false.” The problem is that if the statement that “All statements are false” is true, then it is false. Similarly, postmodernism maintains that it is (objectively) true to say that there are no objective truths. It uses reason to deny the validity of reason. If the statement, “all perspectives on reality are culturally determined” is true, then is this statement itself also culturally determined? If all metanarratives are suspect because they lead to oppression, then can it not be equally maintained that postmodernism is itself a metanarrative and equally suspect? If all knowledge claims are a grab for power, then are not postmodernism’s contentions equally motivated by a will-to-power?||”|
A strong part of postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from traditional approaches that had previously been dominant. Postmodernity has influenced many disparate fields of study, such as architecture, history, literary criticism, art, and others.
The term "postmodernism" comes from the causal relationship the movement has to modernism, rather than a temporal relationship. Both movements coexist today.
Some postmodernist ideas are:[Citation Needed]
- Truth is a "social construct," rather than objectively provable, and by extension is merely relative.
- As an extension of this, History is considered "fiction" or "storytelling"
- Human agency is the only thing allowing for ideals like peace, power, and control to actually have power since they themselves lack any despite being passed down for ages due to just being ideals.
- A society's choice of language reflects their general perceptions of the rules by which the world operates (see political correctness).
- There is no one superior culture; Western culture is no better than any other (see cultural relativism). This often takes the form of ridicule of anything deemed to be part of traditional values or mainstream American culture.
- Insanity is simply a cultural creation.
- Traditional authority has a strong tendency to be false and corrupt.
- Morality is personal with tradition playing little to no role in it, and as such, "right" and "wrong" is solely a matter of perspective (see moral relativism).
- The frequent use of irony and humorous wordplay to shift the meanings of words is encouraged as this causes people to rethink their assumptions about culture and language.
- Gender roles, sexuality and race are socially constructed, not inborn traits.
- The only way towards peace is by embracing international unity, as nationalism causes wars.
Critics of postmodernism include those who believe in an objective truth that can be explored by human means, among others.
Postmodernism is the work of three primary French writers: Jean-François Lyotard, who coined the term "postmodern"; Jacques Derrida, and especially Michel Foucault. Foucault started off as a young Marxist under the tutelage of Louis Althusser, joining the French Communist Party in the 1950s. He moved on from this, however, and became an author and formulator of his own ideas.
Through his work, Foucault re-purposes Marxism into a philosophy that can be used in any category, not just economics. Foucault sees life through interactions, and every interaction has a power dynamic. Because of this, there is no truth, and instead there are only power-knowledge interactions. Each interaction has a winner and loser, thus everything can be interchanged. In his book Discipline and Punish, Foucault wrote:
Perhaps we should abandon a whole tradition that allows us to imagine that knowledge can exist only where the power relations are suspended and that knowledge can develop only outside its injunctions, its demands, and its interests. Perhaps we should abandon the belief that power makes people mad and that, by the same token, the renunciation of power is one of the conditions of knowledge. We should admit, rather, that power produces knowledge (and not simply by encouraging it because it serves power or by applying it because it is useful); that power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations.
Within the framework of postmodernist "power relations", the denial of independent knowledge is linked at the same time with the denial of independent individuality. Once we arrive at a place where there is no independent knowledge nor independent individuals, truth only exists at the will of some power that can be overcome. Thus, there is no independent truth, every truth is merely someone else's "truth".
Thanks largely to Derrida and Foucault in particular entrenching themselves in the American university system, postmodernism also got incorporated into the educational system of America, especially within the University system. Ironically enough, it proved to be such a negative influence on America's educational system that France, the country that originated postmodernism, later stated that the American Ideas produced by its university system would tear France apart.
Postmodernism, anti-Americanism, and reverse racism
Postmodernism is routinely used by academics to attack American interventionist foreign policy, claiming that democratic society is only an aspect of western society, which should not be "forced" upon other peoples, whose cultures may be despotic or theocratic. In this regard, postmodernism is simply a euphemism for moral relativism (itself a euphemism for sin denial).
It is likewise used to attack and condemn the work and culture of white males, by claiming that any such cultural output, be it art, music, literature, etc., is patriarchal and imperialistic.
Postmodernists seek to denigrate Christianity and its accomplishments by claiming that it is only an aspect of western culture, and not inherently true. Likewise they denigrate the strong Christian scientific tradition, and attempt to marginalize Christian historical figures such as Isaac Newton.
Postmodernists rely on the antichristian and pseudoscientific psychological theories of atheist Sigmund Freud to draw whatever meanings they want out of texts, in a method called "psychoanalytical criticism."
Postmodernism and immorality
As postmodernism teaches that there is no truth, it likewise teaches that there is no absolute morality. Within this worldview, any action is moral or justifiable, and postmodernism's spread among academia may go some way to explaining professor values.
Alan Sokal famously exposed postmodernism as deeply flawed in 1996 by successfully publishing nonsense in a postmodern journal. Since then, postmodernism has largely been considered a laughingstock among all but the most liberal academics.
- Ravi Zacharias on Postmodern Architecture at Ohio State
- Ravi Zacharias on Postmodern Architecture at Ohio State
- John F. MacArthur, "Think Biblically!"
- A Response to Philosophical Postmodernism by Norman L. Geisler
- Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews By Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel, page 192 (endnote section)
- [ C.S. Lewis on Postmodernism?] by Arthur W. Lindsley, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, C.S. Lewis Institute
- The Hidden Area between Marx and Foucault
- Foucault with Marx
- Postmodernism and Its Critics
- How French “Intellectuals” Ruined the West: Postmodernism and Its Impact, Explained
- Derrida, Van Til and the Metaphysics of Postmodernism An appraisal of Postmodernism, specifically Deconstruction, in light of Van Til by Jacob Gabriel Hale.