In yesterday’s blog, I presented my rendition of four ways that Christians are engaging postmoderns. The primary reference for this study is Millard Erickson’s book Postmodernizing the Faith. Now I will further expand and engage with option #1.
Option 1: Deny the horse is really postmodern. No one can be a consistent postmodern. We simply need to convince them of the untenability of their professing worldview and show them how they don’t hold to it in reality.
This option is held by many in the Reformed tradition, especially of those who hold to a presuppositional apologetic. Presuppositional apologetics seek to make an offensive defense of the faith by bringing to people’s understanding that God is the presupposition behind all truth and knowledge. Without God, there is no such thing as an argument or a rational thought. He is required before any claim to truth can be made or any view can be held with conviction. There is a lot more to it than this, but hopefully this explanation will suffice for now. The most popular adherent to such an approach, especially when it comes to the issue of relativism, was Francis Schaeffer.
With regards to the issues surrounding Postmodernism, the one who takes this approach says that we yield too much ground when we concede that the “relativist” or “hard skeptic” is really such since in order to be such they have God as the very basis for their ability to doubt or deny the truth. Their logical reasoning shows that they already believe in the God of the Bible who is the presupposition behind all logical reasoning. As the old saying goes, “chaos cancels reason.” If there are reasons for relativism, this cancels relativism.
Those who opt for option one would not necessarily deny the other options a place, but they would say that we have to present the case as it stands, and as it stands, no one is really postmodern.
I don’t hold to this view much, although I do think it has its place. Yet I think the issues run much deeper than confining postmodernism to relativism. In fact, I think the ethos of the culture is not relativistic, but made up of varying degrees of skepticism and doubt. See my paper here which distinguishes between hard and soft postmodernism. I believe that our culture today is legitimately confused about truth, not necessarily denying its existence altogether.