The Flaw of Postmodernism

Are minds real? Do humans have free will? Is evolution true?

Postmodernism is the idea is that reality is subjective…that there is no absolute truth, and that reality differs from person to person. The phrase “what’s true for you might not be true for me” typifies a postmodern point of view.

Another way to understand postmodernism (or “Pomo”) is to say that no truth can be extended beyond an individual’s experiences. Postmodernists will necessarily have trouble with my definition, since they like to suggest that words only have the meanings we give them…and, in defining postmodernism, we try to give it a meaning for all to share. That’s the contradictory essence of postmodernism: we can’t even discuss what it is without the conversation devolving into an uncomfortable silence.

Steve Taylor referred to the postmodern dilemma in Whatcha Gonna Do When Your Number’s Up:

Sally’s into knowledge
spent her years in college
just to find out nothing is true

She can hardly speak now
words are not unique now
’cause they can’t say anything new

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Here’s the point: postmodernism essentially says “there are no absolute truths”. It’s a self-defeating statement, to be sure…but that doesn’t stop some people (like my friend Sean) from trying to live by it anyway. Many postmodernists avoid looking for answers because, were they to find real answers, they’d then have to change the way they live.

The NBC show ER (Season 14, Episode 13) aired an episode that exposes the flaw of postmodernism: it’s completely useless for people who want actual answers. We all believe in absolute truth, yet the postmodern person rejects truth anyway. In this clip, the hospital’s postmodern chaplain can provide no answers for a dying man who seeks forgiveness for his sins:

Your thoughts?

Theology is a Lie

Is theology bad? How to learn theology? Is Christianity true?

Recently, a GodWords reader sent me a personal message in which he stated, “Theology is a LIE!!!”. He may have actually used four exclamation points, come to think of it. Either way, part of his point was that…well, that theology is a lie.

I’ve heard that before. I’ve also heard these:

  • I don’t need theology. I just need Jesus.
  • Don’t give me any theological mumbo-jumbo. Give me the truth.
  • Who needs theology when we have the Bible?

Maybe you’ve heard similar things. If so, please share them in the comments.

It would be nice if we could settle this issue once and for all, but we can’t. We can only chip away at it, hoping that we’ll tip the balance from bad teaching to good teaching. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating:

Theology means words about God. THEOS = God, LOGOS = word or words. Every time we think about God or write about God or talk about God, we’re ‘being theological’. The very first verse of the Gospel of John says this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Who is John writing about? Jesus, that’s who. Jesus is theology! Even saying that “Jesus is theology” is a theological statement. Christians can’t really avoid doing theology, can we?

What is Theology?

Is the Bible true? Are Bible translations bad? What language is the Bible?

Every once in a while I hear a Christian say that they’re “not into theology”. They say that they “just love Jesus”. Even one of my pastors told me that he took theology classes only so that he could be ordained.

Sometimes these kinds of statements depress me. It’s not surprising that the average American Christian is considered Biblically illiterate when even our leaders avoid theological education. I’d like to do my small part in helping to change this trend…so I’ll explain what theology is:

What is theology? Jesus is theology.

Theology means words about God. THEOS = God, LOGOS = word or words. Every time we think about God or write about God or talk about God, we’re ‘doing theology’. There…I did it again. Christians have no way of living their everyday lives without doing theology! Even non-believers, when talking or thinking or writing about God, are being theological.

We all do theology, even if we don’t realize it. The beginning of John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus is the LOGOS . He’s THE Word of God. Technically, Jesus IS theology.

Which is more reliable…science, or theology?

Are robots people? Will robots kill people?

This is a common question, even if it’s not expressed out loud. Science and religion are often seen as in conflict. I suggest that most often, they are not…the problem is one of utility. Here’s the problem, in my estimation:

  1. Science cannot accurately comment on that which cannot be observed.
  2. Science, when dealing with unobservable things, has an inherent anti-supernatural bias.
  3. This is as it should be.
  1. Theology cannot accurately comment on that which is not found in Scripture.
  2. Theology, when dealing with non-Scriptural things, has an inherent supernatural bias.
  3. This is as it should be.

The trouble comes from taking one in isolation of the other. Science doesn’t answer questions of ultimate origin or purpose (not in its realm) and theology doesn’t answer questions of detailed mechanism (not in its realm). As both a science lover and a Christian, I’ve never encountered any item that caused me to lose faith in either.

In no way do I mean to say that science and religion should be separate…I simply mean that it’s important to understand what science cannot do, and what the Bible is not for.

Why Do Christians Say that Jesus is In Their Heart?

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

Yeah, I know…I’m going straight to Hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Before you start forming your lynch mob, listen closely:

Jesus is NOT in your heart.

Jesus is in Heaven with the Father. At least a dozen Bible verses say that He would leave us and go back to the Father…John 16:28 is just one example. “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” The inescapable conclusion? Jesus is NOT in your heart.

Some of you might say, “So, what’s the big deal?”. I’ll tell you: if you’re going to believe something, why not believe the TRUTH? If you’re going to take the time to tell a non-Christian what you believe, why not tell that person the TRUTH? If a single verse says clearly that Jesus is in Heaven, that’s what Christians should believe — and that’s what we should tell others, as well. In this case, there are over a dozen verses that conclusively show that Jesus is NOT in our hearts.

Of course, I don’t write this stuff to be a killjoy…there’s an upside as well. Before He left, Jesus told the disciples that He wouldn’t leave us alone…He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to us, “that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit doesn’t poke and prod us from the outside, but lives in us and communes with us. How do we know that the Holy Spirit indwells us? Easy…we’re told exactly that in 2 Timothy 1:14. “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you”. 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us the same thing: the Holy Spirit lives in us.

Of course, some of you may now be saying, “So what? What difference does it make whether Jesus or the Holy Spirit lives in my heart?”. For that, I have a simple answer: because God obviously thinks that’s best! Jesus said so Himself: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7). If there were a better way to do it, you can bet that that would have happened. Having the Holy Spirit living within you is the most incredible, life-giving, life-transforming opportunity that anyone can have…if that weren’t so, God would have done something else.