“Postmodernism is an incredulity towards metanarratives.
So goes the mantra of postmodernism as defined by Jean-Francois Lyotard. While I’ve never met anyone who describes themselves as a “postmodernist,” almost every student I meet today is heavily influenced by it. Today’s post is to introduce the reader to postmodern philosophy and to point you to some resources for further study.
So here’s the introduction:
This following video pokes fun at the reluctance of this generation to speak with certitude or authority about anything (a clear byproduct of postmodern thought):
One interesting philosophical evaluation of postmodernism is Simon Blackburn’s book Truth: A Guide published in 2005.
Blackburn is the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosohpy at the University of Cambridge. While he never takes a definitivie position in the book, it is a helpful outline of the issues involved. Blackburn opens his book with these words:
“There are real standards. We must fight soggy nihilism, scepticism and cynicism. We must not believe that anything goes. We must not believe that all opinion is ideology, that reason is only power, that there is no truth to prevail. Without defences against postmodern irony and cynicism, multiculturalism and relativism, we will all go to hell in a handbasket.”
While this reads like a sermon transcript, the book considers, questions and challenges the polar opposites of absolute truth and relativism. For a Christian appraisal of postmodernism, I wuold recommend the following article as an extremely helpful introduction to the topic, published in 2004 on AlbertMohler.com by the title of, “Ministry is Stranger Than it Used to Be: The Challenge of Postmodernism.” Additionally, the following books provide a helpful analysis for understanding postmodernism’s influence with implications for ministry challenges and opportunities: