My View, Your View, Worldviews

Have you ever been frustrated at someone because they can not seem to understand what you are saying?  Maybe that is why we seem so divisive today. People can view the world very differently than you do. The next several posts I will explore some different ways of viewing the world.  All the posts will give a very broad brushstroke of the worldviews. Note people do mix and match portions of worldviews, taking an idea you want from one worldview and leaving other ideas to grab from a different worldview.

This post will focus on the broad worldview of Postmodernism.  This seems to be where society is transitioning to. I believe we are in a transition period from Modernism to Postmodernism or whatever the new worldview will be.  

Modernism was all about reason.  One relied on reason to determine the facts, the reality.  The idea was that by reason through science we would progress as a society in improving ourselves. We progressed technologically but socially we did not.

Postmodern scholars about 60-70 years ago pointed out that there is always a bias in how the facts were presented, and about 40 years ago these ideas started to take hold in today’s culture.  Due to assumed bias, Postmodernism provides no objective verification of the facts. Because of that they said the truth can not be known. Most postmoderns will allow some truth to be known, but most say that absolute moral truth can not be known. They tend to distrust all authority.  They say we are shaped by outside cultural and societal forces. (For example, industry though advertising has influenced us to be consumers of their products.)

Language is a powerful tool, but the rules and framework of a language provide constraints to the thoughts and ideas.  A postmodern would see that as mind control. The postmodern will make use of metaphors in creative ways to provide conceptual liberation and new connections of thought. Since the postmodern sees interpretation as a key part of any information, they are willing to interpret the information as they decide, not necessarily by any objective manner.  They are also interested in deconstructing any text to show the bias in the text. Their positive focus instead is on the persuasive power of stories. Stories are important in a postmodern world.

A postmodern would point out that Heath White, the author of the book (Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian) I mostly used to write this, is giving his perspective on Postmodernism, and I in my note taking and writing this post has constrained it further with my own bias. 

I am a believer in objective truth. Postmoderns believe that there is no such thing as objective truth.   So how can we have a conversation with a postmodern? You need to realize that using reason will not convince a postmodern.  They can claim bias. Using a story to make your point will work better. You also need to be aware that they may interpret things differently than you.  I have seen a Facebook post where the Thanksgiving holiday was interpreted as a reminder of the oppression of Native Americans by the White settlers. That is not how I would interpret the Thanksgiving holiday, but postmodernism allows you the freedom to interpret as you desire.  Don’t be surprised at the different views postmodern people will promote. They feel free to do so. Again I have seen the same event in 2016 as being interpreted by members of both political parties as a reason to vote against the other presidential candidate. Objective truth would make that impossible.  So, as always, be wary of political party claims this election season. You need to be careful to discern the truth. Since postmodernism is a broad worldview that has entered our society many years ago, you need to take a look at yourself and ask “How has postmodernism affected the way I view the world?” I am asking myself that question.

4 thoughts on “My View, Your View, Worldviews

  1. I think there’s some truth in the saying that it’s the victors who write the history books, and that there are such things as loaded questions, and that the way questions are asked can skew survey results, and that what we don’t hear on the news is as telling as what we do hear with regard to media ‘spin’ and bias. But I also think it’s way too easy to go too far with these observations and totally dismiss the existence of real objectivity and absolute truth in our culture today.

    In one example in late March 2008, a young college student wrote confidently in her article in the Rocky Mountain Collegian that “the failure to ‘create’ a universal truth does not negate the existence of truth, but revealed that religious truth cannot be known objectively, although it can still exist and be found on a relative and subjective level.” In my reply article a few days later on April 1st, I observed that “Not only did she not explain why we cannot objectively find universal truth even though it theoretically exists, it’s also ironic that relativists state these beliefs of theirs as objective, absolute truths. Who decided with such apparent clarity and finality that universal truth cannot be known?”

    That’s the problem with relativism. If finely dissected and questioned too rigorously, it breaks down under its own weight. It’s an inherently unstable philosophy. Just as there must be indisputable laws and guidelines for scientific inquiry to be considered valuable and objective, there must also be indisputable and unchanging legal laws and moral guidelines for a culture to function well. There must be some objective moral compass upon which all legal laws are ultimately based, such that what is wrong in one place and time is wrong everywhere at all times. Without the universality and eternality of basic morality (at least on all the most fundamental issues), then there can be no universally-accepted system of law and justice, no cultural cohesion, no nationality, and in fact, no nation at all. Just as science and math would collapse without scientific and mathematical absolutes, so also would society collapse without moral absolutes, and drown in nihilism and chaos.

    And if there is absolute moral law, then there must also be a supreme, moral lawgiver somewhere … and THAT is the implication that makes so many secularists engage in mental gymnastics to obscure or avoid that conclusion.

    Absolute truth is also exclusive. There cannot be other valid ‘truths’ that directly contradict it in the same way, at the same time, and in the same sense, with all variables being the same. Contradictory stories, beliefs, worldviews, and ‘findings’ cannot both be true when comparing apples to apples.

    Ravi Zacharias is one of the best speakers and philosophers I know of. I have always enjoyed listening to his intriguing and powerful lectures on YouTube. He has spoken several times about what is truth. You might find his lectures helpful and insightful. A few relevant ones on this topic are shown below (among many other things he has lectured on):

    “The Moral Foundation” …….
    “Postmodernism and Philosophy” …….
    “Is Truth Dead?” …….
    “Does Truth Matter?” …….

    Jeff Lemke

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