The Flaw of Postmodernism

HomeChristianity and the BibleThe Flaw of Postmodernism

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?

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One response to “The Flaw of Postmodernism”

  1. that dude says:

    Ok, so i’m watching a movie with a friend.

    postmodern: I found that movie despicable.

    non-postmodern: That movie was pretentious.

    difference: postmodernally, I simply understood the movie as an event which i reacted to, and gauged and described my reaction, where as in the second example i tried to define the movie to a point of objective truth.

    The flaw in trying to reach truth in every endeavor is that the truth is incredibly often impossible to prove or discover, especially when a large amount of experience is felt or contained within oneself. Postmodernism tries to amplify this aspect of our existence, which is very much the nature of reality when many people are involved but we only feel our own feelings and think our own thoughts.

    To live your life by a single philosophy is one’s on right, but to me it is a flawed way of going about life, especially when so many of our choices do not require advanced philosophy. Anyways, to say that there are no absolute truths, would mean that either A the statement is false or B the statement is not meant to be judged by its own criteria or C the statement is the only exception to the rule. Which by the way, there are many exceptions to rules, so it is not entirely fair to take the concept and then disprove it by its very statement. I mean really, you have just purported a logical fallacy.

    Here is another example. The teacher tells the class to be quiet. A student talks. The teacher says “Be quiet, no talking”. She has broken the rule, but it was necessary in order to convey the rule. I’m calling a disqualification sir or madame, find an absolute truth to disprove the statement, don’t just toy with the limitations of language.

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