My response to "What is postmodernism?"


My response to Benson’s “What is ‘Postmodernism’?


I think a better question might be “why is there postmodernism?” I see
the author’s point in saying there is no such thing as postmodernism
but there is something very real happening in western society today.
That is why a number of missionaries and church planters have
reexamined the church structure, the focus of our mission and even the
authenticity of our message. The sad reality is, whatever age we are in
seems to have caustic effect on evangelical churches. Those who are
more likely to be labeled “postmodern” are less likely to be
evangelical. The big question for many of us is why.

As
a member of a generation that is often labeled “postmodern” I’d say my
“Incredulity to a metanarrative” comes from two main things:

Hundreds of conflicting metanarratives demanding my exclusive allegiance
A loss of trust in established authority (family, school, government, church, media etc…)

The
first one is easy to understand. If I were try to buy a car and I
consulted salespeople from Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Ford, Lincoln,
Toyota, Honda, Acura, BMW and Volkswagen and each of them told me they
had the best car for me which one would I believe?

I am most
likely to view all the data from my biased perspective. I’m a Chev man
with a grudging respect for Toyotas and Hondas. The Ford guy might have
offered me the best deal possible on a Taurus but because I’m a Chev
guy and I’d have to eat way too many words if I drove a Ford I would
convince myself some other car is the better deal.

I am also
likely to have a inherent distrust of anyone telling me something in
order to make money. I know the salesperson is highly motivated to get
me to make a decision and strongly biased.

Ultimately I wouldn’t know who to believe.

I
think this illustrates why “postmodernism” exists. We have hundreds if
not thousands of competing ideologies, approaches, and philosophies in
an increasingly pluralistic culture and people don’t know what to
believe. Logically either one of these voices is right or none of them
are right. Some are more right than others. In response to this people
begin to pick and choose what they want from each stream of thought and
cobble together their own worldview.

The second factor stems
from a distrust of accepted sources of authority and truth. If
politicians lie, and the media misrepresent, and one of the people who
were supposed to raise me left it begins to wear down ones confidence
in any voice claiming to hold an exclusive claim to the truth. When a
significant portion of a generation loses a parent in childhood it has
a dramatic affect on how society views authority and truth. Even though
kids may not be able to articulate it, deep down they know they were
wronged. If they are wronged by those who ought to have been the most
faithful to them they are naturally disinclined to trust others in the
same way.

  1. #1 by Moose on September 16, 2005 - 11:06 am

    As someone who has come from a broken home and who is in advertising (ok…spin doctoring) I agree that our culture is not easily fooled by accepted sources of authority and by catchy sales slogans. (My personal pet peeve is rhyming catch phrases)…we are much more aware than that. I see people in my line of work using these advertising techniques and shudder at how many clients they are passing over that see right through that. Phrases like better than ever, best of the best, new and improved are now simply ignored as fluff. The move in advertising now is to realism. Reality. Tell them the truth at any cost or risk tune out. Anything less is going to drive people away or worse yet accomplish complete and total apathy. Seems that there is a hunger for truth (As Pilate said “What is truth”) and the real deal on what we are trying to understand. Don’t quite know what the answer is totally, but I can see the problem quite clearly :) Watch an old Abbot and Costello Colgate comedy hour DVD sometime and it really makes you aware of how modern culture in advertising has changed to postmodern :) My two cents -Moose

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