Worldview

Biblical Hermeneutics and Postmodernism, Part 2

Read Part 1.

The Hermeneutics of Postmodernism

The hermeneutics of postmodernism are very diverse and difficult to understand.13 Written communication has three components: the author, the text, and the reader. As already noted, premodern and modern interpreters tried to uncover the intention of the author as expressed in the text. What is consistent in postmodern approaches of interpretation is that the author no longer controls the meaning of the text. Authorial intention is irrelevant in postmodern interpretation. Further, the text itself does not control meaning. The text is devoid of meaning altogether. In postmodern thinking, the reader not only controls the meaning but actually creates it. The text is merely an opportunity to explore the reader’s own perspectives. Vanhoozer explains: “Postmodernity is the triumph of situatedness—in race, gender, class—over detached objectivity… . Postmoderns typically think of interpretation as a political act, a means of colonizing and capturing texts and whole fields of discourse.”14

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Biblical Hermeneutics and Postmodernism, Part 1

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty and Alice share this playful exchange:

“And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

While Carroll wrote long before the rise of postmodernism, his fictional dialogue anticipated the hermeneutical chaos raised in postmodern thinking. We see Alice’s confusion and Humpty Dumpty’s disdain. Alice can’t quite wrap her mind around what Humpty Dumpty is saying; meanwhile Humpty Dumpty appears to enjoy the confusion his semantic wordplay is causing. This is the same kind of confusion postmoderns champion. Carroll’s fantasy has become reality. Postmodernism raises fundamental questions about the validity of communication. Questions such as, where does meaning originate? Who (or what) controls meaning? How do we know what truth is? Is truth objective and knowable? Is communication even possible?

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The Old Gods or the New? A Review of Tara Isabella Burton’s “Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World”

"Strange Rites explores and analyzes seven different movements in contemporary modern American life, all of which function—at some level—as new faith systems after the decline of mainline Protestantism. The current age, for Burton, is decidedly not secular." - John Ehrett

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Veith on worldview and disbanding the police

"But these proposals come out of a completely different worldview. Are human beings moral agents responsible for their actions, so that committing a crime is a moral offense that society needs to be protected from?  Or are human beings not responsible at all for what they do, so that those who commit crimes are themselves victims of the society?" - Gene Veith

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The Limits of Science (Part 2)

By Brett Williams. Read Part 1.

Science and Certainty

With culture, the logical induction of the scientific method has won. Most believe that Bacon’s method, as refined for centuries, is the best way to speak to certainty. All other ways, such as faith and philosophy, speak to subjective or personal things, whereas science speaks to things as they are. Even when theology boldly speaks of understanding God and truth, it dares not do so with the same gravitas as one would speak of gravity. We know that gravity acceleration equals 9.8 meters per second squared; we believe that Jesus rose from the dead. One is certain and objective, the other only hope.

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The Limits of Science (Part 1)

By Brett Williams

Several years ago, while on a lengthy flight to a conference, I found myself sitting next to a young neurobiologist. To some, a theologian and scientist on a plane may sound like the beginning of a poor joke. To me however, it was a fascinating confluence of contrary epistemologies (“studies of the method and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity”).

After polite pleasantries, she disclosed her reasoning for studying neuroscience: for many years, her mother had suffered from dementia and was nearing the end of her life. That passenger and I had an instant human connection the moment I shared that I had lost my grandmother to the same terrible disease. This connection produced a respectful and congenial conversation about neurology, synapses, the nature of the soul, and whether or not memory is mere physiological mechanics, mysterious metaphysics, or both. Eventually this debate expanded to whether or not science or faith is best suited to understand truth.

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Record low number of Americans hold biblical worldview, survey says

"Born again Christians . . . were three times more likely than average to have a biblical worldview (19%). However, the fact that not quite one out of five born again adults holds a biblical worldview highlights the extensive decline of core Christian principles in America over the last several decades" - CPost

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