Is Postmodernism An Inherently Atheistic Philosophy?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #21

Yes I do put young people in the post modern era. (Young people to me is 30 and younger). I watch just about everybody using technology using it without a clue on how it works. I asked a young intelligent person how his voice gets to the other person on the other end of the cell phone conservation and he said “i have no clue how, is it by satellite?”


Thanks for clarifying. An atheist rather than a religious theist. That makes all the difference.

(Mark M Moore) #23

@J.E.S Jonathan my $0.02 is that Postmodernism is an inherently hyper-polytheistic philosophy because everyone gets to be their own god, even defining reality for themselves (and thus ultimately making war with reality). It is will over everything, even reason and reality.

EDIT: What I wrote above is just the first stage. What normally happens is that the person makes a mess of their life following this philosophy after five or ten years and then gets sucked into some collective. That is, they recognize that they can’t define reality for themselves, they aren’t big enough, but they are attracted to some strongman or collective which promises them they can be a part of something that does.

This is where a lot of millennials are and its scary and freedom even of thought cannot be sustained on this road.

(George) #24


I know it is popular to say things as dramatic as “hyper-polytheistic”… but really, mostly, those invested in Postmodernism have a rather inchoate view of just one God.

The one thing they don’t literally believe is that there are many Gods. Words have consequences. You could never defend such an over-statement as “hyper-polytheistic”.

the Ancient Egyptians were “hyper-polytheistic” in their way. There are few people who satisfy the definition so well.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

Keep in mind that @patrick talks like a modernist, not a post modernists. Moreover, am not a modernist. I’m either a postmodernist or something else. Many postmodern Christians point to Paul and Jesus as a corrective to Christian modernism-fundamenalism.

(Jonathan) #26

The problem with the statement was that exactly the opposite is true…Assuming the given absolute authority you believe in is God…It reflects postmodernism in the way that an absolute authority is relegated solely to the realm of personal belief…

Science, yes, but I am not entirely sure about religion…Modernism tends/tended to overemphasize human reason, whereas postmodernism is often characterized by mistrust of reason…But this may devolve into a definition argument…

In it’s role as the written word of God, I am sure you could agree that scripture is absolutely true (but I am sure that you would argue that some of it is open to interpretation).

Now I am curious…what exactly does this look like (how would you describe it?)

A problem with some of my articles is that they really don’t have a call to action…Then people think I am advocating the opposite position of the thing I am critiquing (which I am not always doing)…I am not a philosophical postmodernist (and I would not consider myself an old person :wink: ).

@J.E.S Jonathan my $0.02 is that Postmodernism is an inherently hyper-polytheistic philosophy because everyone gets to be their own god, even defining reality for themselves (and thus ultimately making war with reality). It is will over everything, even reason and reality.

Exactly. Such a worldview denies the existence of an absolute authority or ultimate reality…(In other words, God).

Good to know…

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #27

Does that make me a poly-athetist? As I just don’t believe in the Abrahamic God but I don’t beleive in all gods. As well as all myths, legends, spirits, demons and devils, ESP, pseudoscience, homeopathic medicine. I don’t believe in a lot of things.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #28

No, your just a science thumping fundamentalist atheist. A modernist.

An example of a postmodern atheist might be Ursula Goodenough, a well known proponent of Religious Naturalism ( She calls herself a non-theist, and her position is evocative of pantheism in some senses. There is a number of Buddhist athiests in science too, with a similar flavor.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #29

militant atheist is preferable over fundamentalist atheist. It puts in better company with Militant (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) . Fundamentalist is too close to fundamentalist Christians like Falwell and Franklin Graham. And I am as far away as possible from Fundamentalist Islam.

My favorite label is a “None”


I think you can add ‘Militant Atheist’ to the somewhere stated list of undesirables for this place @swamidass. :wink:

Why anyone would want to be a ‘None’ is bewildering to the meaning of ‘human being’ I know & respect.

Get up, pick up your mat & walk … away, Patrick, until you ‘recover’ or seek to do so from atheism & feelings of nothingness in a world so loved & breathing for those who see & hear.

As I said, it makes all the difference. You would be surprised at how differently you would be treated if you came here with a different attitude. As it is, I’m done with you. There is little time worth spending for atheist know-it-alls who push nihilism (& the same goes for their favourite current opponents & their ‘intelligent’ fideism). Healing wishes, Patrick.


Over the years I’ve read comments suggesting, for example, that YECs and ‘Evolutionists’ are working with the same data but that the people are interpreting the data with different worldviews. Sounds a tad post-modern to me.

(Mark M Moore) #32

You are something else- a classical thinker. You have rediscovered the view held by Pascal and Newton and the rest. There is more than nature, something above nature, but the Divine does not tinker with every little aspect of creation. Rather He established laws and what happens within nature is within those laws (normally).

Patrick is not a modernist. He just trots out modernist jargon when it suits him. He is his own standard, and reality is defined by how he feels about things. That is postmodern.

What Exactly Am I?
(Mark M Moore) #33

Well that’s a good point. I need to edit my comment to say that the next step is that they get sucked into some collective that defines reality for them.

(Jonathan) #34

I had a feeling this was going to come up at some point…!

Why do you say “rediscovered?” It has been my impression that this view was never lost…Although we will have to talk more about our definition of “classical thinker” before I completely see where you are coming from here…

What Exactly Am I?
(Mark M Moore) #35

By him. Not lost to the world, but he was not sure what he was. It has always been floating around especially in Catholic and a few niche Protestant circles, but the average person in America is not conversant with it.

What Exactly Am I?
(S. Joshua Swamidass) #36

@Patrick is a modernist in that he…

His authority is scientific authority. Though, admittedly, we should probably move on from trying to define he. He is not the most coherent example of his class.

The part I will agree with you. And in this sense, both @Patrick and @Dawkins attempt to use moral outrage in place of a logical argument.

A Lutheran PhD Student here in STL, Kirk Clayton, (a friend of @JustAnotherLutheran!) just wrote a very insightful dissertation on Dawkins and the New Atheists. His point is that they are putting forward a emotional apologetic, not a rational apologetic. Emotional and moral, not rational. Their argument is essential an emotional appeal of moral disgust in religion. Thus the charges of racism, totalitarianism, abuse, etc. It is a heartfelt apologetic, because religions have done a great deal of evil in the world.

In this sense, their argument is a postmodern. Even as they claim the authority of science and claim to rely on it alone (very modern), they make an emotional appeal to morals, something solidly outside science (very post-modern). Tremendously effective, until you see the blatant contradiction, then you can’t unsee it. Kirk correctly argues that a purely rational response is ineffective. An emotional argument is required too. It is not that reason should be abandoned, but it is not and never has been a sufficient too.

One reason I like the New Atheists is that they make excellent foils. Their denial of value in anything outside science (including philosophy), coupled with appeals to morality, is playfully cartoonish. The questions that arise in a basic epistemology course become show stoppers. It is great fun.

They have forgotten entirely the wise teachings of Stephen J. Gould, a much more coherent atheist:, where he concedes entirely that values cannot be arrived at by science. NOMA has its problems, but there is wisdom in his affirmation of value outside of science, and even among religious traditions.

Even Dawkins, to be clear, has largely realized the absurdity of his attack on Christians. Most New Atheists have moved on to focus on fundamentalist Islam (which does not reflect all Muslims), wishing they could become more like Christians. I’m sure @Patrick will catch up with Dawkins eventually, and he might even come to be as wise as Gould. There is just no real value in berating reasonable Christians that support human rights, including the rights of atheists. A strategic atheist would be finding ways to collaborate with us and by our ally.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #37

I really thank you for the psychoanalysis you have done on me. It really is refreshing as years of cognitive therapy couldn’t have yield as much as you have in just a few hours or perhaps days of interacting with me within your blogosphere (is this a word?).

The only thing you got wrong is that attribute my authority to scientific authority. I don’t. My own reasoning is my authority as I do take responsibility for my actions. I try to use what I know from science in make life’s decisions but much is unknown to science and much of what happens is doubly chaotic in that it is random and out of my control even if science becomes more knowledgeable.

Regarding Gould, I never bought into NOMA. It set up fake boundaries that science broke through. Right now I don’t think that there are any religious domains left that science hasn’t touched on in a significant way, like conscientiousness, free will, meaning and purpose of life.

Dawkins clearly focuses on fundamentalist Islam. Being in the UK, European Christianity is nearly gone. He treats the dying Anglican Church most kindly invoking fond memories of his youth. He tries to attack the mostly Southern US Evangelical Christians but he being in UK, he mostly resonates with the East/West Coast Liberal Elite who are financially well off nones who grew up Catholic or Mainstream Protestant.

I do thank you for your cordiality. You use nice words like Militant Atheist or even the nicer New Atheist although Blasphemer, Heretic, Infidel won’t bother me either. And thank you for not reminding me that I will burn in Hell for all eternity for not believing. I always though it was strange for a God who supposedly loves me and cares for my well being would make a place where I would be tortured for an infinite number of years just because I didn’t believe He exists while I lived my life with meaning and purpose and tried to be a good person and friend to others. Oh well, it is the life that I have chosen as an unabashed atheist who isn’t afraid of burning in hell.

Can we discuss science now as I am a rather boring and uninteresting specimen to research.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #38

One of my closest friends is an atheist.

One extremely important goal I have when I talk to Religious audiences is to show them that atheists are not evil and are not the enemy they fear.

Most my colleagues in science are atheists too, and I have the highest respect for their work.

So certainly, I’ll even defend you if people start treating you unfairly.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #40

Great. We are more on the same page than we thought.

I agree. NOMA does not work. He drew the boundaries wrong. However, he was right when he recognized that science does not give grounding for human rights. Remember he was living in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement. It was MLK (died 50 years ago) who said:
But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress.

Scientists will never have as much authority as MLK. We are still reeling from his loss. He had real authority, but he found this authority outside of science.

I’m convinced that God is just. He will treat you fairly, what ever it is that you believe. If you deserve to go to heaven, and want to, I’m sure you will be there. As for me, I know I do not deserve reward. I’ll be appealing to His mercy. I’ve tried to be a good person, but I’m certainly not good enough.

Give our context, this may surprise you, but in orthodox Christian theology there are many views on heaven and hell. You might enjoy most C.S. Lewis’ work, The Great Divorce, which draws on William Blake, and is solidly situated in orthodox theology:

Few of the ghosts realize that the grey town is, in fact, Hell. Indeed, it is not that much different from the life they led on Earth – joyless, friendless, and uncomfortable. It just goes on forever, and gets worse and worse, with some characters whispering their fear of the “night” that is eventually to come. …while it is possible to leave Hell and enter Heaven, doing so requires turning away from the cherished evils that left them in hell (repentance); or as depicted by Lewis, embracing ultimate and unceasing joy itself.
The Great Divorce - Wikipedia

It is a good book. You might really enjoy it.

You talk about trying to be a good person.

This is one of the great questions, around which people for millenniums have gathered and pondered. All of us want to be good, and wonder if we are because we encounter so much evil. We wonder, also, what the good life is, and if we settled for a counterfeit. Are we good or are we evil? Are we good enough or not? What is good any ways, and does it matter?

An how, you might really like C.S. Lewis’ take. If nothing else, most Christians really respect him. When they do talk down to you, judgmentally predicting your future, quoting C.S. lewis is a great way put them in their place.