Friday, February 01, 2002

Here's an article I wrote a few weeks after the September 11th terrorist attack.

Postmodernism Discredited

The September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have discredited the worldview known as "postmodernism." Its soft underbelly has been exposed and it has been gutted. The emperor has no clothes. As a worldview it is laughable.

As we read the post-9/11.01 newspapers, especially the editorials, we could conclude that even the media is starting to awaken to the impossibility of postmodernism.

By way of reminder, postmodernism is a general and wide-ranging term applied to the fields of architecture, literature, art, philosophy, and religion, among others. It rejects the belief that there is an objective way to explain reality.

Postmodernism denies the existence of any ultimate principles. It says there is no scientific, philosophical, or religious truth that will explain everything for everybody. As a worldview, it is highly skeptical of explanations that claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races. Instead, it says that truth is relative for each individual person. What is true for you may not be true for me. It all depends upon your and my interpretations of our experiences. All truth is fallible and relative; no truth is certain and universal.

Basically, that's postmodernism. As Dr. F.G. Oosterhoff has taught us, postmodernism has a positive side to it. As Christians we have a little more room than we used to have to speak about our faith in the university and the marketplace. We ought to take advantage of that. But, as Dr. Oosterhoff has also taught us, the negative side to it is that the postmodern climate in which we live will not let us say that the Christian truth is universally true for all people everywhere and always (Postmodernism, 1999).

Postmodernism has also been applied to ethics. For example, postmodernism says that if you disagree with abortion then it's wrong for you, but if you have no problem with abortion then it's morally right for you.

That's the postmodern religious, cultural and ethical atmosphere in which we live and breathe. It is the dominant worldview today.

The events of September 11th have stripped it naked for all who have eyes to see.

Some Christian authors speak about the beginning of the end of postmodernism. Tony Carnes ("Bush's Defining Moment," Christianity Today, November 12th, 2001, pp 38-42) writes:

Since the terrorist attacks and the subsequent military action in Afghanistan, the change in national mood is unmistakable.

Relativism seems obsolete, or at least on the decline. A culture columnist at the Chicago Tribune recently declared that postmodernism, which rejects objective truth and traditional morality, has expired. "What lies in the mess in lower Manhattan and in the black gash in the Pentagon and in a field in southern Pennsylvania may be this," Julia Keller wrote, "the end of postmodernism and its chokehold on the late twentieth century cultural imagination." Praying and going to a religious service seems a natural, normal thing to do. As Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan put it, "God is back."

Ian Hunter ("From the rubble of the World Trade Center a better culture might very well emerge," Report Magazine, November 5th, 2001, p. 21) suggests the same. He says:

When President Mr. Bush repeatedly referred to the upcoming struggle as one between good and evil, I thought I heard the death knell of postmodernism—a worldview which denies the existence of both. Perhaps Time magazine's famous 1960s cover proclaiming that "God is dead" will turn out to have been a tad premature. Perhaps we shall now be less likely to see best-sellers with titles like "Beyond good and evil."

The secular media, perhaps unwittingly, disemboweled the postmodern worldview. The secular media spoke of evil, dark forces, malevolence. Those are rather strong and objective categories. The typical categories used to judge something like, say, abortion (which, by the way, kills many more people worldwide every year than terrorism—not to minimize terrorism) could not be applied to the September 11th attack. What were they going to say? "If slamming hijacked jets into skyscrapers is good for you, then for you it's the right thing to do." It does not work. It is the worldview of foolishness.

The newspapers even quote negatively parts of the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book. Unheard of pre-9/11.01!

If there is evil and darkness, then there must also be good and light. If militant Islam and terrorism have been labeled evil and dark, what is "the good" and "the light?" What are the media and the leaders of Western society calling good and light? Secularism. The secular, worldly, values to which our society wants tenaciously to hang. What was the first thing our prime minister spoke about after the September 11th attack? He went on about how we were not going to let this affect our most cherished institutions. The example he gave of our most cherished institution was multiculturalism. State-sponsored and -funded multiculturalism.

The memorial service in Ottawa confirmed the valueless worldview our leaders want to foster. There was no prayer. Although it was held in the shadow of the Peace Tower which has two texts of scripture inscribed for all to see—one text from Ps. 72 that says, "He will have dominion from sea to sea"; another from Prov. 16 that says, "Without a vision [i.e., revelation from God] a people perish"—there could be no prayer to the God of our fathers. No prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ. You might offend someone.

This is completely consistent with the idiocy to which our leaders have been subjecting us of late. Christian prayers were not allowed at the Swissair memorial at Peggy's Cove. Public schools prohibit the singing of Christmas carols. You can go to Remembrance Day memorial services in Canada and not hear the name of God mentioned.

Lisa Corbella, writing in the Calgary Sun (Nov. 18, 2001) reports:

As Canadian troops prepare to head off to Afghanistan to protect our liberty, the Canadian military brass has dreamed up a new way to chip away at those very freedoms and rights.

In what is being described, politely in my view, as an "unprecedented" move, the Canadian military is directing its chaplains to avoid all specific references to Christianity during public services.

The policy change, which came down from the so-called chaplain general in Ottawa on July 24, has left Canadian Forces chaplains unable to use such phrases like "Father, Son and Holy Spirit," the name of Christ and even the Lord's Prayer.

The reason given, of course, is to be sensitive to other minority religions by offending the majority.

Our country's leadership is desperately trying to hang on to a worldview that has been eviscerated. From the prime minister down, they try to cover up the Emperor's nakedness with his tattered underwear, but the postmodern worldview does not work.

Two cultures have clashed: the cultures of secularism and maniac Islam. The militant East has slammed up against the corrupt West.

Where is the Church? Where are we? Stuck in between.

It may become a dangerous time for us who hold to the fundamentals of the Christian faith. It is not a big step to transfer antipathy towards Muslims and the Qur'an to hostility towards Christians and the Bible.

The Church, stuck in between.

Yet our Lord reigns. Jesus Christ is God and Lord. He comes to judge every worldview. He comes to discredit every man who stands against him. He comes to wreak the vengeance of God upon all who love violence. He comes to establish a new world order. He says, "The old order of things has passed away. I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."