Post-modernism: Say goodbye to wisdom?

When trying to disciple new believers or retain old ones, we must work with "what we've got." Post-modern thought does not accept absolutes nor embrace generalities.

The problem, as I see it, is that human thinking works by grouping like ideas together and forming generalities. A closed minded person is not alert to exceptions or mistaken generalities. But the other extreme, rejecting generalities, runs contrary to wisdom.

According to Proverbs, wisdom is to be sought, and part of wisdom's acquisition is to learn and embrace proverbs, which are generalities (not promises, but generalities):

Quote:
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance- for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(Proverbs 1:2-7)

If it is true that post-modernism (and its "Christian" incarnation, the Emergent Church, McClaren, etc.) rejects generalizations and absolute truth,

And if wisdom comes partly by embracing proverbs (accurate generalizations), then are we right to see these movements as creating a "wisdom shortage?'

If so, does this suggest we need to put more emphasis on the attainment and hunger for wisdom? What are your thoughts.

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ChrisC's picture

i'm waiting for joseph to weigh in. he usually has a lot of interesting things to say on these subjects.

but i think your definition of post-modern philosophy is tangential. a post-modern opinion may or may not be relativistic, but it will be highly distrustful of authority. any "official" story is suspect.

and for everyone wanting a more thorough definition of post-modernism...
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/

Ed Vasicek's picture

Quote:
to destabilize other concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress, epistemic certainty, and the univocity of meaning.

This is precisely what I mean. If you cannot be certain that you know (and do not believe anyone can know with certainty), then proverbs and generalities cannot logically guide you. Those who wrote them could be wrong, our understanding of them varies with our culture and era, and their meaning is not fixed. Everything is pretty much next to worthless as far as "resting" upon them. You can dabble with them as theories or for personal enjoyment, but they are not anchors, but floating inner tubes.

"The Midrash Detective"

Anne Sokol's picture

I am not great at grasping post-modernism--i've heard the definition before but i keep forgetting.

but .. . . .I was tangentially directed to this girl's post, and it reminded me of this thread; she grew up in lets-look-at-all-religions-equally homeschooling house with basically unbelieving parents (both former catholics, dad now atheist and mom believes in a higher-power).

so, my question is: Is she an example of post-modernism/post-modern thought?

girl's post wrote:
Not a month later, I began reading the Bible. While I knew that I would never find myself in a Mormon temple (as I knew he wanted, though he never outright said it) I knew that I was ready to begin a genuine investigation of the Christian faith. I jokingly told my friends that I was beginning a spiritual journey, and while they all laughed along I knew that was the truth. I read voraciously and went to church, well, religiously. Not just one church, though, but all the churches I could get to. Catholic, Presbyterian, Mormon, Foursquare, Episcopalian – no sect nor breed was left untouched and I took different things from each one, regardless of how close their specific messages were to my own beliefs.

By the end of the summer I was sure. My greatest fear going into this investigation was that I would find myself unable to reconcile my own personal beliefs and morals with the doctrines that came along with the God that I wanted in my life. On the contrary, the message of love, tolerance, humility and courage that I found in the pages that I was reading and the people that I spoke to and observed only served to enhance and validate my feelings about what was good and right in the world. I had no visions, received no great revelations and witnessed no miracles, but I did find God in the kindness and warmth of the people around me. While I know many people who would scoff at my self-identification as a Christian, I can truly say that this is one part of my life where the opinions of others are completely insignificant.

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