Friday, July 15, 2005

Tim on Tim --- Part 2

Tim McGrew has responded to Tim Enloe's response here.
[Tim Enloe's response to McGrew was given here.]

For my part: I've said what I've had to say throughout the last series of threads, and I'm confident that my assertions have been well-supported with specific examples.

In the spirit of the relevant portion of McGrew's second response, I'll add something to clarify things for the readers out there. Like McGrew, I'm an impenitent and shameless critic of postmodernism, or any sort of -ism that states [or implies] that my normal cognitive reading or reasoning abilities is not what it states. I am fully convinced nearly to the point of mathematical certainty that, on those rare occasions when somebody does nail something like postmodernism down to something specific, one will either get:

(i) Something demonstrably false or self-stultifying,
(ii) Something that is nothing but jargon-laden gobbledygook, or
(iii) Something that is true, but is already a well-known truth, and hence it can't be credited to "postmodernism" or whatever -ism one is advancing.

Examples of (i): when somebody writes something deconstructive or in denial of authorial intent [or something like that]. This is self-stultifying because the protagonist himself has an authorial intent --- to deconstruct a given text.

A second example of (i): again along self-stultifying lines, when one pomo cites the work of another pomo as if the latter pomo is somehow supportive of the former pomo. This again implies that the former pomo has captured the true meaning of the latter pomo's text, which again, if not in theory, is something which is functionally denied by the pomo's I've seen and dealt with.

Examples of (ii): here is an example quickly gleaned from the internet. Or, see, as has been linked here before, something like A is for Abductive for a supposedly Christian attempt to jump onto the bandwagon. To hear from one of the prophets himself, one could pretty much open Of Grammatology to just about any page to instantiate (ii).

For (iii): In my own experience, I've seen postmodernists talk about context, genre, the fact that language is not static/mechanical, etc, with this great affectation of stunning intellectual profundity. I personally don't know one evangelical who isn't aware of this nor fails to practice this. This is of course an anecdotal statement, but, alas, the books are still boxed up and not here yet!

Perhaps I've stated this before, but I'll state it again. If postmodernism was confined to the dark and remote corner of the humanities/philosophy world that it deserves, never having a chance to see the light of day in the Christian Church, then I could dismiss it as a hobbyist's fantasyland. However, materials that go under the name "postmodern" or "postmodernism" are making a certain degree of headway in the church, and that worries me.

I've been reassured in private that God can use postmodern material to, say, bring somebody to faith. I can certainly admit that possibility. At the same time, what must be kept in mind is the fact that God uses X to bring about some good does not imply in any way that X itself is good or immune from criticism and examination. God often uses bad things or bad people for His purposes. And postmodernism and the dilettantish [this sounds uncharitable, but it is what I consider true] adherents to postmodernism [or what they think is postmodernism] is something that, at least in my book, has no redeeming qualities.

Another strain of argument that I've seen is that, putting it roughly [but accurately], we live in postmodern times [whatever that means], and we can no more change that fact than the fact that, say, the world is round or that it is 2005. By way of response, one could agree that we can't change those facts, but then neither can we change the laws of logic, evidence, the scriptural texts, and so on. The scriptural witness and admonitions within are what they are, whether we like them or not or consider them authoritative or not. Christianity is not a fluid worldview that is supposed to change in substantial ways along with the culture-at-large, but instead is a worldview composed of timeless metaphysical propositions concerning God and the universe as well as asserting that certain space-time phenomena did, in fact, occur. I don't think, personally, we need to put new wine in the wineskin.

At any rate, the above editorial material, semi-rigorous at the most charitable estimation of it, is where I stand on things.


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