Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jello and Walls and Nails, Oh My!

If you, as I do, find the postmodern mindset to be confusing in the extreme and frustrating to engage in conversation, you might appreciate this as a great article to read. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Albert Mohler, and he does a nice job in that article of kind of summarizing the postmodern's mindset and the way people today tend to view truth as relative and non-universal. In my opinion, the postmodern attitude seems to revel in confusion and frustration. The more convoluted the argument, the more confusing the vocabulary, the more obscure the reasoning, so much the better. Just don't insist on anything being absolutely true. That's a huge no-no. But trying to figure out the movement/attitude/philosophy and conversing with someone whose thinking is shaped by it, well, the whole nailing jello to the wall analogy applies, I think.

I am behind in my iPod listening to Dr. Mohler's radio program, and today I was listening to his March 4 broadcast "Ask Anything Wednesday." The whole program was interesting, but what stuck out most to me were the last two questions at the end of the program, one dealing with talking to teenagers about postmodernism and the other about Open Theism and Process Theology and liberalism. Fascinating discussion. You can find the whole program here if you want to listen to it.

This shift toward postmodern thought has been going on for a long time, certainly its manifestation in the popular culture was at least beginning while I was in high school and college, but it is much more full-blown now. I'm sure the theories and shift among academics was happening way before it became so widespread popularly. Such things usually take a while before infiltrating the common thinking of regular people.

Anyway, since I started blogging I have become much more aware as I read comment threads on certain blogs how pervasive this 'postmodern' deconstructionist kind of thinking is becoming. And I think a lot of people don't even realize how much we've been buying into it. But you see it manifest in many ways, especially in a subtle, and sometimes not subtle at all, disregard for authority and objective truth and morality. Anymore, you have to be extremely careful to define terms and be clear about your meaning because one of the most frustrating aspects of this whole attitude is that people who are entrenched in it revel in playing around with language and you can never assume they mean what a straightforward meaning of words would normally mean. I have been left extremely frustrated after reading a lot of blog conversations where someone willfully misinterprets a straightforward meaning and turns it all around to mean something the writer never meant. Apparently this is a hallmark of postmodern thinking. What the author means matters little, it is all in what the reader wants it to mean to them that matters anymore. Dr. Mohler says this idea is called the "death of the author." I saw some of that in my English classes in high school and college, but apparently it's huge these days. That must be the root of so much of the hair-pulling frustration in blogging that I see around.

Anyway, I am only beginning to piece together some thoughts that have been mulling around for a while. I have been wanting to write something for several weeks that I just have not been able to get time to focus on enough to write well, but since it kind of dovetails with what I listened to and read from Dr. Mohler today, I'm going to try to start working on it.

We are going on vacation for spring break, so I'll be taking an official blogging break for the next week or so (as opposed to my unofficial, unintended break of recent weeks), but I'm hoping to spend some of my time there thinking through the post I've been trying so hard not to write, but which seems to be sapping all my thinking energy until I finally write it. Curious? See you in a week or so.......

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