• Education,  Postmodernism

    Why No One Mentions Dogs and Aliens Anymore

    No one lies about what happened to their homework anymore. We don’t tell teachers that the dog ate it, or that aliens stole it. Instead, contemporary excuses are of two sorts. The nativist excuse suggests that there is some innate deficiency in the student that determines that she is unable to achieve success in some discipline. For example, upon receiving a terrible grade on her math test, a student may remark, “I’m just not a math person.” According to the nativist, one’s success or failure is determined by an innate ability (or inability) to succeed in a given domain of learning. The excuse implies that failure on a test is…

  • Anthropology,  Postmodernism

    Human Beings – the New Morality and Kind Determination

    Pre-mods generally thought of human beings as a kind. Humans have a nature; they are ‘rational beasts’ or embodied souls. Mods were not so concerned with human nature; they were more concerned with what we could know and how we could know it. According to mods, we are thinking things or blank slates. In the twilight years of the Enlightenment, Hume cast doubt on whether there was such a thing as human nature. Aren’t we all just a bundle of experiences? The first generation of post-mods agreed with his conclusion and suggested that we are all social/linguistic constructs at best. The most recent generation of post-mods found such skepticism dull.…

  • Culture,  Ethics,  Postmodernism

    Sin Cerity

    “Sincerity and reality… don’t make it the better. That which is real and hearty is often called sincere; whether it be in virtue or vice. Some persons are sincerely bad; others are sincerely good… But a being sincere, hearty and in good earnest, is no virtue, unless it be in a thing that is virtuous. A man may be sincere and hearty in joining a crew of pirates, or a gang of robbers. When the devils cried out, and besought Christ not to torment them, it was no mere pretense; they were very hearty in their desires not to be tormented: but this did not make their will or desires…

  • Ethics,  Postmodernism,  Relativism,  Sarcasm

    Not a Victim

    This was Politico’s attempt to explain one man’s evil deed: “He fell victim to an increasingly common, sometimes overwhelming, temptation that the online world offers up to exhibitionists.” When in doubt, Politico informs us, blame the internet and some kind of personal identity. The identity in question is ‘exhibitionist’; that’s just what he is. It’s not something he does that is wrong, but an immutable part of his personal identity. And if you give someone who has that kind of identity a twitter account, then the inevitable follows and who can blame him? If anything is to blame it is the ‘online world’, a kind of playground for his type.…

  • Education,  Lanney Mayer,  Postmodernism

    Postmodern Integration

    Christian education, despite growing in the United States, continues to struggle to find its place among the largely secular educational environment. Lanney Mayer suggests that Western education provides an inhospitable home for theology under the “hegemony of naturalistic disciplines.” Religious education has either moved to the margins or evolved to suit empirical studies. Mayer suggests that the now widely disseminated postmodern critique of modern methods of knowing–that the mind does not mirror reality, but always brings to bear presuppositions of language, culture and politics–can help faith-learning integration. According to Mayer, between the two extremes–modernist objectivism and postmodern constructivism–lies the role of faith. Faith, for Mayer, is the human way of…

  • Instagram,  Parenting,  Postmodernism

    Selfie-Construction

    The selfie reigns. We now take more pictures of ourselves than anything else, even family. Narcissus would have found his home in our culture of vanity. And it’s not merely self-love that drives the like-score-card mentality, it is self-construction. At least Narcissus may have had a more static notions of human identity that we do. Our culture abandoned the idea of human nature in favor of a void, an identity determined by choice or cultural construction. And both notions are at play in the selfie. This little craving for likes is heightened just when identity is painfully in life’s foreground – youth. TV Dr Robyn Silverman writes that teenagers “crave positive…

  • James K.A Smith,  Jaques Derrida,  Jean-Francois Lyotard,  Michel Foucault,  Postmodernism

    Debunking Bumper Stickers

    In a book that has done the rounds, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism, James K Smith critiques evangelicals for their unfair dismissal of postmodern thought. He takes the three most common “bumper sticker” lines from three of postmodernism’s most influential thinkers, tells us what they really mean and why their contributions are helpful for an “emerging postmodern form of church.” I remember the postmodernism/postevangelical debates we all had (far too late) in the early 90’s. And, as I have mentioned before (here and here), the whole thing left me rather non-plussed. However, I thought Smith’s summary of radical orthodoxy in his book of that title was so good that I would flick through his contribution to…

  • Morgan Guyton,  Postmodernism

    Postmodern Hangover

    Apparently, a problem evangelical Christians have is that we just don’t get postmodern people. We plain miss their point. According to Morgan Guyton (here) we aren’t ironic enough, we crave a 1950’s plasticated lifestyle and use the Bible as a political weapon to force a social agenda on people. Apparently there is no other option – either be committed to postmodernism or find oneself in an “enclave” of “Pleasantville.” It is not that I disagree with all that postmodernism says. Postmoderns provide stinging critiques of modernism, all well and good, but not much is provided to takes modernity’s place. In fact, many claim that postmodernism is really hyper-modernism, the modern project taken…