Update: I uploaded the .doc file of the research paper on postmodernism and added a link to the research paper in the post below if anyone actually wants to read it. It was a lot of fun to do.
Well, I have finished school for another term and I enjoyed these last two classes a lot. I have found it funny that as I have grown older and hopefully wiser as well, I am less prone to engage in arguing points that either A) don’t hold my interest or B) don’t seem to matter a whole lot when you get right down to it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t argue at all. On the contrary, if the right topic is broached I get very animated and passionate to rise to the defense. One of those things is my faith. As you can tell from a perusal of this site, I take my faith quite seriously.
One of the things that I dealt with during my recent classes was the question of postmodern thinking (or lack thereof) and how it impacts how we do theology and communicate about God. I decided to devote my research paper to that end as well, since it caught my interest. The upshot of course is that I find myself confronted with examples of the clash between the two everywhere I look now. Within the past couple of weeks there was the story about the Newsweek cover story about the Bible and homosexuality. Not to mention the blurb about Bush’s statement that the Bible is “probably not” literally true. Granted we are talking about the media quoting someone in the latter case so I take it with a grain of salt. Even I have been misquoted in a newspaper article with no malice intended. Sometimes those folks just don’t get it completely right.
The point of this is the encroachment of postmodernism on our everyday life and thought. In the case of the Newsweek writer, postmodernism is in full swing:
The piece calls California’s passage of a ban on same-sex marriage “full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match” and claims the Bible and Jesus never “explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.” Furthermore, it states, “Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce.”
Since the writer mentions Jesus’ condemnation of divorce, I would gather that she had at least looked at or heard about Matthew 19. That is where the condemnation bit comes from. But apparently in reading the passage, she was completely unable to grasp the meaning of verses 4-6:
4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”(emphasis mine)
Doesn’t this explicitly define marriage as male and female? It would if you read it and understand it as plain language.
She also says that the Bible doesn’t really condemn homosexual behavior, “Miller describes the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual sex in Leviticus as ‘throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world’ …” Which leads me to believe that she didn’t catch Paul’s mention of homosexual behavior in Romans 1. Homosexual behavior isn’t the only sin that Paul condems there. In fact, he makes a point of including it in the same category with all sin. Very simply, it is rebellion against God. Frankly, this is postmodernism at its worst. Words mean things. They don’t just mean whatever you decide to make them mean either. Blue is not brown and black is not white. You can’t make something right when it is wrong just by saying it loudly or long enough.
The whole thing inspired a column by Joe Kovacs (who has written a book that I really want to get if anyone out there is still shopping for a present for me). The column is entitled Bible Morons and it is quite good.
But this brings me back to my original thought. While I am convinced that it is important to at least tell these clueless nimrods who can’t read plain English the truth; I am also convinced that they are so completely submerged in postmodern relativism and confusion that they won’t get it anyway. So many of them just seem to be on the other side of the “looking glass”. They see things completely backward and cannot fathom that it might be any other way.