Postmodernism 9 - Spirituality


From Sunesis. Posted with permission. Read the series.

In premodern and modern times, religion frequently included a debate over facts, such as:

There is a God or there is not;
Jesus is the Son of God or He is not;
Miracles happened or they did not.

In postmodernism, however, religion is a preference. Since there are no absolutes, aesthetic criteria replace rational criteria. We hear people say, “I like Jacob’s Well.” “Why do you like it?” “I don’t know; I just do.” Or “I like the verse that says God loves me.” What about the verse that says here is a hell? “Oh, I don’t like that one.” People no longer choose a church because it is theologically or biblically correct, but because of the color of the walls, the music, the women’s groups, or some other relational or emotional reason.

Since there are no absolutes, postmodern spirituality easily rejects traditional morality. Postmoderns are still moralistic; they frequently argue for their own morality. And they defend their own rights zealously. They desire tolerance and—like those in postmodern politics—even approval of whatever they do.

Because of the emphasis on the group, every like-minded group constitutes a culture which must be considered to be as good as any other culture. Arguing that one culture (even a “Christian” culture) is better than another is judgmental and non-tolerant. Likewise, guilt is never individual, but collective. This is common in politics. It is developing in postmodern spirituality, with the new push for social justice. Postmoderns, however, do not see their own inconsistency in advocating “justice” for the oppressed while denying moral standards. If there are no standards, then how is “justice” produced or how can anything actually be said to “unjust”?

The end result, at least in some areas of postmodern spirituality, is a religion similar to Hinduism and Buddhism. It rejects truth and favors illusion. Primitive religions are being resurrected. Some have advocated goddess worship (the feminist reaction to a male god). Others suggest that we at least consider God to be both male and female, Father and Mother. More radical forms of postmodernism practice Gaia worship; these are the ultimate environmentalists for they worship Mother Earth. Interestingly enough, this goddess is unable to take care of herself and is heavily dependent on humans for her welfare.

The loss of the absolute is a loss of truth. And without truth, there is no genuine Christianity.