A quick thought on the impact of postmodernism on Christian Apologetics
August 16, 2010 § 5 Comments
Does postmodernism herald the end of Christian apologetics as we know it? Does the argument for God’s existence go out of the door as ‘so yesterday’?
I think we need to distinguish between cultural postmodernism and philosophical postmodernism. The latter is self-refuting in that it absolutely claims that absolute claims to truth do not exist, yes, that absolute truth as such doesn’t exist. Yet it provides a necessary critique to modernism which relied too much on the human agent to obtain and possess absolute truth. We are perspectival beings and will only be able to know perspectivally and make perspectival claims. Yet in doing so, absolute truth does exist and is knowable albeit in a perspectival manner. Cultural postmodernism on the other hand is more a mood or a mind-set. Hard to define but in existence nonetheless. Keywords might be: restlessness, being plugged-in, image over word, experience, authenticity, etc.
Though rejecting philosophical postmodernism we cannot ignore cultural postmodernism as it is the stuff we have to work with if we are to reach the people of this age with the gospel of Christ. This will require a reworking of the methods of apologetics in order to adapt to the postmodern mindset but does not necessarily call for a restructuring or reformulation of the basic apologetic arguments we employ. We employ the same logic, though with a degree of epistemological humility that a healthy critique of modernism requires. We have the same arguments for God’s existence (proofs are now called arguments), since the cultural postmodernist, though feeling himself greatly distanced from anything that went before, basically runs on the same logical operators.