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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not-So-Hidden Agendas

Lately, I've been reading a bunch of books on my bookshelf as part of a cleaning project I've planned for the summer. My personal bookshelf is stuffed full of juvenile fiction books that my parents bought for me years ago from a cheap library book sale in my area. At these book sales, many local library branches, school libraries, and private donors sell off thousands of cast-offs for perhaps a quarter or so each as part of a library fundraiser. With prices like these, my parents used to go and indiscriminately pick up boxes of old used books to feed my and my sister's reading habits.

Well, now I've decided I'm a bit old for some of these books, and I'd like to make room for new ones. However, the frugal nature I've inherited from my parents dictates that I have to read each book before I can get rid of it. Now that I am, I'm seeing a disturbing trend in children's books that I never noticed before I went to college and learned so much about literary theory and cultural trends. To try to put it into words, this trend attempts to undermine and rewrite all authority and knowledge being passed on to children. And, well, that has me all stirred up.

Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Agendas

I know that all writers have an agenda behind every word they write. Even I have one for this blog, which I've tried to state outright through such things as the image banner at the top of the page. I want to show wicked, sneaky people for what they are before they have a chance to do damage to my fellow Christians. I'm all for the equipping of the saints, and I think that means they must be armed with knowledge, as well as faith.

However, those who want their philosophies to rule the world--that is, those who seek to gain personal power over others through the propitiation of their philosophies--are just as adamant about disarming people as I am about arming them. You see, when a person realizes that a certain popular philosophy is a lie, he or she becomes the chief enemy of anyone who stands to gain power over others through the use of that lie. For an unreasonable or deceitful philosophy to last, knowledge to the contrary must be destroyed or suppressed.

What kind of power am I talking about? I'm seeing that the biggest kind of power a philosophy brings is socio-political power. If a philosophy gets popular enough, it's chief proponents gain military, financial, and eventually educational dominance over others. Together with this governmental control, the support of at least a majority of citizens ensures that the enemies of their philosophy are kept silent.

How does a group gain popular support and therefore control? It teaches its philosophy to the children. Children, unlike their parents, are less able to recognize a lie and discard it. In theory, anyway, if you teach children a lie early enough, and work hard to suppress any attempts the children make to discredit the idea later, you will end up with an army of adults who have never been able to successfully disagree with you. This is the kind of social programming that made the Hitler Youth so essential to the success and survival of the Third Reich--a point Hitler and his chiefs made frequently. While the government of the Third Reich fell, I am fairly certain that the antisemitism and even the militarism and evolution-based racial superiority lives on in the hearts of many German citizens. The future of a philosophy, including an evil one, is first bound up in the defenseless minds of children until it can be carried into action in the hearts and mouths and hands of adults.

Therefore, it is essential that parents know what their children are being taught in schools, and in their reading and listening materials, and in the television shows they are watching. If an evil group of people take control of all such things, an entire generation of children can essentially be programmed to believe evil things. Unfortunately, if their parents have likewise been programmed with these same beliefs, the children will not be rescued from what they have been taught. That's when the rest of us are in for a real power struggle.

Social Programming In Action

So, to get back to what I was talking about at the beginning of this post, I've been reading all of those old children's books, and I've been noticing a trend toward social programming that is atheistic, anti-Christian, anti-absolutes, anti-authority. I think it has the potential to undermine law and order in America, and definitely rewrite the code of morality that we have so far claimed to have. These children's authors have no such morality, and I think we are beginning to see the fruits of their labor coming up in the gardens of Capitol Hill and behind the podiums in classrooms, to name a few places.

Here are some of the books I've read, their publication dates, some pertinent background on them, and what they were about. I doubt if you've heard of some of these, but that doesn't matter. They were once (and in some places, may still be) available to children and young adults through libraries across America and probably the rest of the English-speaking world. I'd really like to hear what you think about them.
  • The Mummy Walks Among Us (1971)--A cheap compendium of mummy-oriented short stories. Some of the stories were fun and didn't claim any historical or scientific backing, but some of them taught incantations and spells, Egyptian religious practices, a disbelief in a moral God who is active in human affairs (agnosticism), situational (relative) morality, et cetera.
  • Julie (1984)--Catherine Marshall loosely based this story on her own life, whereas Christy was about her mother's life. My biggest objection is that the characters believe in a social-works kind of Christianity, which teaches that we must feed and clothe the poor, but can't offend them by telling them that they are sinners who cannot enter Heaven without Jesus. I had other problems with the book attempting to explore the boundaries between good and evil to find how far we can go without sinning outright, and also an almost pantheistic or agnostic understanding of who God is.
  • Dicey's Song (1982)--The 1983 Newberry Medal winner for American children's literature, by Cynthia Voigt. This book attempted to blur the difference between male and female to such an extent that I finally realized it was legitimizing lesbianism. It also pushed a humanistic philosophy that says there is no God or absolute moral principles, and that life is a journey with oblivion or even pantheism at the end of it. Unlike the prequel (which I also read), the child narrator does less adult philosophizing in this book, and therefore appears to actually be a child narrating. The prequel is called Homecoming and features a reality and good-and-evil blurring philosophy that is far too intellectual to be done by a real child of such a young age.
  • That Was Then, This Is Now (1971)--Written by S. E. Hinton, who also wrote The Outsiders, this was a smash hit in the young adult fiction category when it was published. It's about two cursing, drinking, gambling, porn-viewing, law-breaking teenage boys who turn against each other when one begins to sort-of grow a conscience when he sees how their rough lifestyle kills and maims people he cares about. I objected to it because the moral turnaround is very situational and self-justifying, and law and punishment is portrayed almost as making matters worse, rather than supporting public order and deterring immorality.
  • Island of the Strangers (1983)--From a weekly reader series, by Catherine Sefton. This book features children in Ireland engaging in a sort of primitive gang warfare against another group of school children. Readers are taught to be sympathetic and overlook our differences from others, even if they are skinheads (one of the main characters is, and she is featured in a non-critical way cursing and giving the finger to others). In the end, the children are told to stay away from the older boy who instigated the gang violence, but in the spirit of tolerance, the main character defies parental orders and continues to accept him as if he is a victim of intolerance himself.
I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. Have you read what your children are reading, lately? How much do you understand about the agendas your children are taught to believe in?

What is the most worrisome to me is the fact that these books were more likely to have been a part of modern parents' childhoods than they are of the current generation. In other words, many parents may not be able to see what is wrong about all of these books, and in turn cannot teach their children what is objectionable about these philosophies.

If you fear you may be a little less-educated about what is wrong with these teachings, know that you aren't alone. You should also know that you can easily educate yourself against these things. Though it takes a college degree to learn the names and principles of all of these philosophies (and I only have a Bachelor's degree!), even a below-average reader can read the Bible and see how it stands up against them. You don't have to know the name of a lie to see that it is not truth--but first, you have to know the truth.

I'll leave you with a passage I read from my Bible right before bed, last night. I think it fits perfectly with what I have to say.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4: 17-24 NIV; Read the whole chapter here)
I encourage you, my friends and readers, to empower yourself and resist lies, which will destroy you and your children, and your children's children. The opposition may be fierce, and their support may be numerous and powerful, but their lies will crumble because they have no foundation or spine. You, on the other hand, if you have the truth, have support from God, who is stronger than any enemy. Your cause is right, even if it is not popularly accepted. Don't be afraid to disagree with the crowd if the crowd is wrong.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Resistance is Futile...?

Even if you're not very familiar with Star Trek (my family used to watch the shows, though our interest never rose to the level of fanaticism), you know about the Borg, the relentless, half-man/half-machine monsters who would forcibly conscript their victims, robbing them of their minds and their memories, and integrate them into the "hive mind" almost instantly. The Borg couldn't be outrun, and it was almost impossible to kill them, since they could "adapt" to protect themselves from even the most powerful weapon. They even took a Star Fleet captain to be one of their own, in a classic two-part episode of the Next Generation series. Despite all of these powers to scare, I always thought the worst part about the Borg wasn't any of that stuff. It was that moment when one of their ships would suddenly appear, and in a thousand voices talking as one, we would hear the Borg chant that creepy line, We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

I was fairly small the first time I watched these fictional monsters, and I remember thinking, "I'm so glad it's all just make-believe, because I don't know how the good guys are gonna win this one." I was too small to understand the cultural statement the series writers were trying to make (basically, their belief that technology threatens to rob us of individuality and humanity), but I could definitely understand the basic concept of a powerful, inhuman enemy that wanted to wipe out seemingly defenseless good guys. I could admire the brilliant story idea, because I knew that the underlying concepts of good vs. evil were actually pretty accurate.

Mind you, I've never believed in the Borg, or extra-terrestrial beings, or unicorns and fairies, for that matter. I often shy away from mainstream sci-fi or fantasy/Christian parallels, because I don't think the two categories are universally comparable, and I wouldn't want to lead people to believe that they are. However, I do believe that, just as we see in some fictional stories, there is an enemy out there who is unlike me, who is too powerful for me to overcome with my human strength, and who hates me with such diabolical intent that I shouldn't take him for granted. If he could take me prisoner or murder me, he would, and without help, I couldn't escape him. Who is this foe? His name is Satan.

A Parallel?

So why would I choose to talk about the Borg today? Why would their creepy "Resistance is Futile" line bother me more than the television makeup and eerie green lighting?

I think, in my own mind, I've long had a terrible fear of being outnumbered and outgunned. When it feels like me against the whole world, it's hard not to shake in my boots at least a little bit. If the Borg were real, the most frightening part is that there were many of them, and at any point, they could turn my own friends into more of them, until eventually I was the only one left to be hunted--and that's a scary thought, right?

In real life, Satan hunts us. Even though we can't usually see our enemy, quite often he is there. The Bible says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). If you are truly a Christian, trying to do what is right, you will be a target. Everyone who is not following God has already been swatted down by one of that vicious lion's paws.

So, is there any kind of hope to this situation? Does becoming a Christian mean we automatically become a lone target who is relentlessly hunted until we are struck down? Absolutely not! The Bible offers us several kinds of hope:
  1. That God will protect us from the enemy, the Devil, if we trust Him.
    For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. (Proverbs 2: 6-9 NIV)
    A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34: 19 NIV)
  2. That Satan is our enemy, even though sometimes he uses people to harm us.
    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)
  3. That Satan will ultimately be punished, and that anyone who calls on God when under Satanic attack will be restored.
    The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20 NIV)
    And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5: 10 NIV)
  4. That God is always with us, and nothing that is done to us ever sneaks by Him.
    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
    Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10: 29-31 NIV)
So, I guess what I am trying to say is that the fear of Satan, who does evil and works through our own friends to hunt us and try to destroy us, is not unlike the fear the characters felt when they encountered the Borg, or perhaps the sympathetic fear that the Borg inspired in TV viewers. However, unlike in the fictional tale, the enemy, Satan, may be ugly, and he may appear to be many, but he is defeated already. He may make trouble for us, but ultimately God will destroy him for his wickedness, along with all his evil handiwork.

That's what they left out of the Star Trek shows--a super villain like the Borg needed a super victory. Instead, the Borg were defeated by human effort and the captives were restored by the power of human will alone. I'm so glad that is not how it ends, in my story, or I would be doomed. Fear would get the better of me, and I would be plowed under by the enemy.

Now About Those Drones...

The "Borg drones" that do the "assimilating" in the TV series were really just regular guys who were being controlled, body and mind, by an evil that worked through them. One minute, you were looking at your best friend, and the next minute, a Borg drone had infected him and your best pal was just as anxious to hunt you down as the rest of them.

The Devil does that, too. In such cases, it is not possible for us, by our human strength, to fix our friends when they turn against us and try to do harm to us. However, it does help to know what is motivating their behavior. Armed with that perspective, we understand that it is nothing personal (even if they think so), and that it is not an entirely hopeless situation. The enemy may be powerful, but God is more so. If you are facing trouble from a friend, you need to pray for that friend and bravely continue to speak and model the truth for him (as far as God leads you to do it), so that he will see God in you, and perhaps will seek God. If he does, God can go into the enemy camp where you cannot, and steal your friend out of there.

As the Bible puts it
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray....And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5: 13a, 15-20 NIV)
Through our prayers, both ourselves and our friends can be delivered from any trouble, because through prayer, we get God involved in the solution.

Oh, and I wanted to answer another question that you might be thinking right now: I've been talking about postmodernism for the past two weeks. Why the sudden shift in my topic? Well, what does the postmodern movement in our churches and our culture have to do with the Borg? I think that's simple enough to answer. Real followers of Christ in this world are being invaded by just another manifestation of Satan's will to destroy and demoralize us. I've been concerned that sounding the warning about postmodernism might be inspiring fear and uncertainty in my readers. Well, folks, take heart! Postmodernism, Satan's latest trouble, is everywhere, and Satan may seem like an unstoppable enemy, but even this trouble will fail. If we follow God, we will not be "assimilated," and our resistance through prayer and faithful obedience is definitely not futile.

I shared the passage earlier about Satan prowling around like a lion. Let's read that passage again, now, in context:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5: 6-11 NIV)
Feel better? I hoped so.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Other Postmodernists

But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.--James 1: 14-16 NIV

The First Wave

Last time, I spoke of postmodernism as a movement in the public consciousness. That is how it began--an entirely worldly (finite, human) pattern of thought, brought about by the terrible experiences of several major wars throughout the last century. Postmodernism is almost a natural (though misguided) reaction to looking into the face of your enemy and realizing that he is not much different from you. Some men and women involved in the wars came back confused and bewildered by this, because all of their culturally-based opinions of the enemy had been shattered. It had been easy to imagine the enemy soldiers as cruel and inhuman, but it was no longer easy once they saw that the other men had sweethearts and parents, and dreams of their own. What dividing line could they draw between people, any more?

Well, like I said in the last post, the lines that cultures draw are pretty much arbitrary. However, all human beings subscribe to a higher standard of right and wrong. They also, universally, expect everyone else to measure up to this standard, while they personally allow themselves a few "outs" from the rules. In other words, humans are universally hypocritical, while objecting to the hypocrisy of others. More often than not, what we call "culture" is really just a network of "exceptions" a group of people have allowed themselves, reformulated into a set of "absolutes" that they feel should dictate human behavior.

No wonder the first postmodernists came back confused! They had rejected (or been denied the knowledge of) the real, almighty God in their own lives, and now they had nowhere else to turn. They had seen through the veil of lies they had always believed, and now they were unwilling to seek the truth. They had nothing absolute to stand on, so they set out to tear down the lies in everyone else. Unfortunately, they attacked the truth with the lies, and tried to dismantle the absolute rules that God had established. This was to their discredit.

I know, you're thinking, "When is she going to tell me what she means by 'the other postmodernists'?" Well, I'm getting to that.

The first postmodernists were distinguished by their (rightful) hatred of cultural "absolutes" like so-called racial superiority. They also were notable for their outright rejection of God, and absolute and unchanging standards of right and wrong. The first postmodernists were not Christians, and didn't claim any alliegance to the movement.

In a way, I feel sorry for them, because they've put out of their sight the one lifeline that could help them make sense of it all.

The Second Wave

The second postmodernists, their children, were practically born searching for some kind of stability in a world that seemed to them to have no stable foundation. Barring all acknowledgment of God (they were still not ready to recognize Him, possibly because of the strident voices of their parents), they decided to commit to a philosophy they called committed relativism. In essence, they believed there was no absolute standard of behavior, so they decided to just arbitrarily pick one, whether or not it was the best one. Humans, naturally, desire a sense of order and security (but more on that later). Theirs was a sort of self-imposed morality, fragile by design. In a way, I feel sorry for them, too. They must have felt like terrible hypocrites, but they needed something to steady themselves on.

The Third Wave

This second generation gave birth to a third kind of postmodernist, which I will call the religious relativist. They are my peers and colleagues, and they are coming of age now, in this first decade of a new century. They have taken their parents' committed relativism to religiously fervent levels. Unlike their parents, who had a mild, patronizing attitude toward "absolute thinkers," such as Christians, they have become so accustomed to the bottomless world of their parents and grandparents that they want to make the whole world experience it. They now want to smash such "backward" thinking and move the whole world forward--into the future mentality, based on arbitrary assignments of moral value, and passionate understanding and acceptance of everyone but the "absolute thinkers."

But who are they, really? Have we ever seen such third-generation postmodernists? Definitely. Their parents, in choosing a committed relativity, chose to enter every religious persuasion on the planet. They entered synagogues, mosques, monasteries, and churches, with an "egalitarian" idea that they were helping these groups "expand their understanding and tolerance" of other cultures and religions.
So far, their efforts have not been without success, especially in religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, which were already very relativistic and accepting. Unfortunately, in the opinions of the new religious relativists, their parents' progress is just too slow, and now needs to be forced by using established cultural means, such as legislation and peer pressure.

So now, coming into their own in this "brave new world," the religious relativists are changing long-established truth in the church, and daring anyone to object. In fact, their best method is to tell resistors that they are being "unchristian" to object to the new truth--even if, deep inside, they know that it isn't the truth God established. To make matters worse, too many of these traditional, absolute-believing Christians are so unprepared for the challenge that they cower in the fold and let the wolves in sheep's clothing push them around.

Make no mistake--even if an individual and his or her family has been part of the church for many generations, this person is a religious relativist if he or she does not acknowledge the absolute authority of God's righteousness over human behavior. Such people, even if they are pastors or deacons or teenage friends in Sunday school, are not Christians, because Christians follow God, and not the new philosophies of the world.

For awhile, I'd begun to despair that the third-generation postmodernists were "winning" somehow. They certainly have a lot of people cowering, either unable to challenge them, or too afraid of what might happen if they did. What can they do, really? Hurt us? Destroy our standing in the community? Does it really matter? Is real truth worth fighting for, or are we so uncommitted ourselves that we can't take the risk to stand for what we say we believe?

I said, earlier, that I'd return to the idea that all humans need some sort of stability to cling to in a world of crumbling foundations. Well, stability is only found in following Christ. As a follower of Christ, I'm not a committed relativist, because I don't recognize any other kind of truth besides the one I have found. I have examined these new truths of "God", such as pudding-headed acceptance and integrity-sacrificing meekness, and I've found them to be lies, like any other cultural attitudes based on human agendas. What are they protecting, other than someone's pet sins?

The truth I subscribe to (and indeed, any true, absolute-believing Christian subscribes to) looks the same, year after year, situation after situation. It doesn't change; it is a stable foundation of rock. There is nothing like God and His righteousness, the whole world over. I've seen it for myself, and I will not easily be tempted and led away into death. God is what every human being needs to cling to, but so many out there are afraid that they will lose a part of themselves if they do. Sure they will--the part of themselves that is enamored with lies and convinced of deceptions.

So which will you choose? A relativity with no stability, a committed relativity with hypocrisy, or a religious relativity with the smell of death but the appearance of health?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Postmodern Blues

I was thinking last night that I'm very sick of hearing about Postmodern philosophy everywhere I go. It's exhausting, and depressing. I'm sure it makes talking to me exhausting and depressing, because it is gradually claiming more and more of my attention every day. Frankly, I despise people who tell everyone things like, "It's good to feel confused," or "It's right to be contradictory." Who said? Who made up that rule? What do they mean by that, anyway?

I was talking to my mother, earlier, and telling her that I'm starting to have a knee jerk reaction every time I turn on the television or open up a book. I'm always thinking, "Oh, it's postmodern crud again! When will they ever leave me alone?!" and storming off angry. What upsets me so badly is that a lot of people I consider good and intelligent are slowly buying into it. I'm fairly certain that they don't even know this movement has a name, or a set of teachings so organized that it is more like a doctrinal creed. I'm not even sure these good people would persist in believing them, if someone really showed them what they were being spoon fed. Well, if I can, I want to teach them how to recognize poisonous messages and spit them out.

Here are some of the central "doctrines" of postmodernism. I'm sorry that this list is extremely technical and fraught with jargon. I have tried very hard to explain all the jargon as I introduce it. I feel that if I don't use the jargon, others will, to try to confuse you. In order to help you, I'm trying to give you some insiders' information ahead of time.

I challenge readers to really analyze these "teachings." Where have you heard this before? You will probably never hear postmodernism spelled out, unless you take a college class for teaching majors--there, you will be instructed in these things, so that you can slip them into lessons for children.

While you are analyzing this list, I want you to ask yourself this: Are these things really damaging? How can a basic change in my thinking affect my life and society at large? I challenge you to challenge postmodernism in your own minds. Put it on trial; it will stand up to a good trial if it is right. In my analysis, it failed on so many levels that I have summarily thrown it out of my life, and I get angry when people try to shove it back into my life.

The Postmodern Credo

  • Postmodernism states that the "old ways" of thinking were too hierarchical (categorizing everything into opposing [binary] pairs, like male/female, black/white, good/evil, etc.) and that they favored one of the pair over the other, such as MALE/female, black/WHITE, GOOD/evil, etc. In their teaching, the valuing of one over another (favoring men over women, for instance), is based on cultural teachings, not an absolute set of rules that applies equally for all cultures.

  • By creating opposing pairs in all of our thinking, Postmodernists preach, we have tended to paint one thing as "bad" and the other as "good," creating an unfair division between the two values, and often unfairly imposing our own culture's viewpoints on another culture. Their solution to this is to treat both sides of the binary pairs as equal, or at least to downgrade the "favored" side of the binary pair, in order to give the other side a chance. In this way, black is no longer impure, evil is no longer bad, female is no longer less important, etc. On the other hand, being white is not so special anymore, being good is not so great anymore, and being male is not anything to brag about anymore.

  • Postmodernists go further than this, stating that if we are going to treat both sides of these traditional binaries without bias (without calling "Good" good or "Bad" bad), we must agree to live in a state of non-commitment--that is, we must decide not to favor one over another. In other words, we must tolerate both sides equally, no matter how uncomfortable that makes us. In fact, uncomfortable, or confused, is good, in Postmodern teachings.

  • Postmodernism pulls stability and certainty away from us, telling us that it is impossible to really know anything, or have any opinion, because those were based on arbitrary assignments of value (arbitrarily deciding that right was right, wrong was wrong, good was good, bad was bad).

  • Now that Postmodernism has broken down the line between what was traditionally viewed as good and evil, it has freed itself from having any kind of an established pattern of behavior. In other words, it is okay, even preferable, to be morally unpredictable or relativistic in our decision making. We cannot establish a pattern of calling something wrong in all cases, because that would be favoring one of the binary opposites (RIGHT/wrong), or thinking in "outdated" or "old-fashioned" ways.

The Christian Rebuttal

Is your head spinning yet? Mine was, the first time all of this was presented to me. I began to see how some of this thinking had been sneaking into my own conscious thought. In response, I composed a Christian rebuttal for each of the points I have just listed. Feel free to scroll up and look at the points above, for comparison.

  • The Postmodernists' problem with traditional hierarchies is that sometimes they have led to the mistreatment of "marginalized" people, such as the mistreatment of women or the enslavement of peoples. I think their concerns are valid, but that their concerns are brought about by their own acknowledgment of absolutes that extend beyond the boundaries of cultures. Okay, let me put that more simply. In order for someone to call the mistreatment of women "objectionable," that person must first recognize such ideas as "justice," "mercy," and "equity." If it's wrong to favor men over women, I have to ask, who decided that? Certainly not culture, which is arbitrary and based on human opinions. It must be some set of rules that all human beings subscribe to. This code of rules must have been established by something bigger than human cultural values. Christians call this "rule-maker" God. If man rejects the existence of God, culture is the only other set of rules that governs his behavior, and these are indeed arbitrary.

  • God does not treat evil as good, or good as evil. This goes against His set of rules. In fact, to avoid confusion, God has explicitly stated,
    "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter....Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down." (Isaiah 5: 20, 24, 25a NIV)
    God's laws, which raised this question in the first place, have been transgressed when we go so far as to call "Good" bad, or "Bad" good.

  • Postmodernists teach a state of "non-commitment" whereas Christianity teaches that we are either for God or against Him (Matthew 6: 24; Acts 5: 29-39). I've never known anyone who lacked any opinion at all--this seems to be beyond human nature. However, if it was possible to go through life without making an God's rules not apply to us if we don't commit to one side or another? If you have read your Bible, you see over and over again that God has taken away this "willful ignorance." We are not able to live without making a choice about how to live, and each time we make a choice, we are responsible for that choice. God has told us what He thinks we should do, and we have a choice to either listen to Him, or not. If you call yourself a Christian, you are claiming to have made a choice to listen to God. If you call yourself a Christian but don't do what the Bible says is right, you are labeling yourself as a hypocrite. God's rules are set in stone, but your behavior is your own responsibility.

  • Postmodernists teach that we don't really know anything, since having opinions are now "wrong" because they are binary. Au contraire! Knowing something is knowing the truth about something. Certainty, and knowing, are what Christianity is founded upon. If nothing the Bible says is absolute, yet it claims that these things are absolute, that means that the Bible is lying to us...and if it is lying to us, we should not follow it. However, if the Bible makes claims that are proven true, we should consider it to be telling the truth. If something has been proven true, then we know it, and cannot return again to being uncertain about it. Even scientists, using the scientific method, subscribe to this logic. To summarize my position, I'll just repeat what the Bible says: "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him" (Psalm 34:8 NIV). God has invited us to check the facts that He has given us, to see if they are true. When we see that they are true, we become certain about what we know about God.

  • Finally, Postmodernists teach that we must be morally relativistic. I have already spoken at length about moral relativism. If you want to read some of my in-depth articles, just click on the "moral relativism" tag at the end of this article, and all the other ones should display. To summarize the Christian's response to this, I will remind you that God's ideas of right and wrong do not shift according to changes in the seasons, the cultures, the heart. Ignoring these rules is what got us here in the first place. A bad habit of justifying "pet" sins like slavery is what gave postmodernists apparent "justification" for objecting to Judeo-Christian values. Christians can agree with them that it is unjust to treat one person with more leniency than another, even if that means treating ourselves with more leniency than we treat those around us. In that respect, Postmodernists have undermined their own position. They are excusing their own pet sins in certain situations, but objecting (and rightfully so!) to the pet sins of others. To that effect, I have to say that we cannot be relative if we want to be just, and those who teach relative morality are unjust to teach it.

I apologize if this has been a difficult post to follow, but I felt it was necessary to get you thinking very hard about this subject. Writing this post has been difficult, for my part. Sort of like herding rabbits and trying to get them to march in military rows, or knitting a sweater out of a tangled pile of yarn. I hope that I have made sense of senselessness, or unraveled something desperately convoluted, so that you can be equipped to spot the trap before it has you tangled up.

Until next time, may God bless you and guard your path as you try to do what is right!