Emergent guru, Tony Jones, claims that “Postmodern philosophy saved my faith.”
Postmodernism is the belief that all truth claims, including any claims of objective moral truth, are subjective and are merely human inventions. Here’s how Jones puts it:
- The slipperiness of meaning, the impossibility of objectivity, the incommensurability of truth claims — these themes of postmodernism appealed to me and gave my faith room to grow.
“Room to grow?” This “freedom” results from the belief that we are not confined by unchanging truth. Consequently, there are no truth claims that can constrain us; no one who can say, “You are wrong.” This frees us to become the captain-of-our-own-ship and to create our own “truth” – whatever feels right! But what does freedom from truth constraints look like? Here are some examples:
- Without a moral law that is independent of what we think and feel, problem solving and reconciliation become difficult. A wife discovers that her postmodern husband has been cheating on her. He responds, “Playing around is my personal ‘truth.’ This works for me, and you have no right to impose your ‘truth’ on me!”
- Law and social stability are undermined. Imagine a postmodern moral relativist who files a burglary complaint with the police: “I feel your pain, but what are you complaining about? As you know, your complaint is no more valid than the burglar’s interests. Why then should I take your desires any more seriously than those of the burglar’s?”
- There is no way to correct others. Imagine telling Mr. Hitler that he did wrong in committing genocide. He might respond: “You are a hypocrite. You can only say, ‘Genocide feels wrong to me!’ Meanwhile, I feel that genocide is right for us. You have no right or basis to judge our culture or laws! What makes your feelings any more valid than mine? Nothing!”
- Any form of correction becomes absurd. Imagine the mother who confronts a teacher for failing her son: “You have undermined my son’s sense of worth and his future. How dare you impose your subjective, relative standards on him!”
Postmodernity and its affirmation of moral relativism render life absurd and dissolve the social glue. If there are no higher moral laws, we might momentarily feel free, but this kind of freedom will produce meaninglessness – like playing chess without any rules – and then bondage. Bondage? Yes! In order to rescue ourselves from the jail of chaos and meaninglessness into which we have condemned ourselves, we then have to recreate what we have torn down, but now using inferior products.
What products? “Laws” that are necessary to preserve society, even human life, independent of the existence of any immutable right and wrong! Based on what? What benefits the majority! Why? Well…… postmodernism cannot possibly answer this question! Remember – freedom!