Continuing the discussion from Is Postmodernism An Inherently Atheistic Philosophy?:
That is very kind of you, but now it has me thinking.
I certainly do draw on classic thinking, but I am also persuaded by some of the post-modern critiques of classic and modern thought. I’m not going to enumerate everything, but to give one example let’s talk about the Christian worldview movement.
We believe (I believe) that Jesus it the Truth. However, I do not think this declaration transfers to every thought that is inspired by Jesus in us. Invariably, the universals of Jesus are diluted and filtered down to a perspective or interpretation that is bound to our own language, experience, history, and context. This is not to deny absolute truth, but to point out the obvious, it is not the Christian worldview. It is not even coherent to discuss THE Christian worldview, as there are many Christian world views.
This is not something merely chalked up to interpretation errors, that can be eventually refined out, but rather is a consequence of our creaturely limitations. Therefore, I see great wisdom in the Eastern parable of the blind men and the Elephant:
It was six men of Indostan // To learning much inclined, // Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind), //That each by observation // Might satisfy his mind
Each in his own opinion concludes that the elephant is like a wall, snake, spear, tree, fan or rope, depending upon where they had touched. Their heated debate comes short of physical violence, but the conflict is never resolved.
This is not to deny absolute truth, mind you. There is an Elephant. There are truthful and false ways of describing said Elephant. There is a solid reality with which we are all engaged. All that is true. This seems very classical and modern of me.
Rather it is to recognize that we are unavoidably bound to our limited view of reality. Our view of the world is bound to our language, culture, time, history, experience, and more. This should humble us substantially, as what ever we think of the world, we will find someone whose perspective should add to our limited understanding. We should probably default to both/and, instead of either/or, even if there are certainly many things that are false. Even if they are false, however, there is often truth within them that should be and can be affirmed. This seems very postmodern of me.
This is one critical and humbling corrective that Post-Modernism legitimately gives to Christian modernism, and even to classic thought. There is no single valid Christian worldview. Appeals to “THE worldview,” “politics,” “creation science,” “philosophy,” “reason,”…they all seem diminished in relation to Jesus, the one who inspires all these things. I’d rather say that the Gospel is a seed that is planted into a worldview, to grow a new one that transforms it. In a different culture or context, that seed will grow in a different way, because it is transforming a different worldview.
To echo CS Lewis, it is like Jesus is the light of the sun that lets us see everything else (Is Theology Poetry? https://www.rae.org/wp-content/plugins/pdf-viewer/stable/web/viewer.html?file=https://www.rae.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Poetry_CSL.pdf). However, we still see different things, and come to different worldviews, we because we see from different angles. Absolute Truth is some unachievable combination of what we see, and also the parts we haven’t seen.
For this reason, I read Jesus’s words as a corrective of Modernist Christanity that is fixated on worldviews and absolute truth (quoting @J.E.S’s article): “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.” Jesus is the Truth. He is the fixed point, the one thing that is greater than all worldviews, because he is the one who legitimately reorders all worldviews. I take Paul as an example. He became Greed to Greeks, Romans to Romans, Catholics to Catholics, Jew to Jews, scientist to scientists…holding nothing as constant or absolute except the fixed point he found in Jesus.
I very much benefit from classic thought, most important are Pascal and Bacon, even though they are outliers. However, I think Postmodernism gives classic thought an important corrective. They did not appreciate the influence of cultural differences, and the need for diversity. Reading them, it seems that intellectual humility is missing at times. I draw strongly from classic thought, but do not think they are enough.
Even now, I draw just as much from Watchman Nee and Martin Luther King as much as I might from others…
Any how, what does this make me? A modernist? A post-modernist? A classic thinker? Or something else?