On Postmodernism (The Negative View)

Postmodernism denies any uniting story into which human stories fit. Postmoderns are lost and trapped at the same time. Devoid of arc, of any narrative theme to attach to, their stories are lost. And without destination the stories are trapped with nowhere to go. Consequently Postmoderns deny the concept of being lost because being lost would suggest that there is somewhere one is supposed to be and that is denied. In place of location and destination, life must be lived ironically. Seriousness must be done away with. The ironic solution to lostness is to live as if nothing matters, as if you are already dead.

In postmodern thought nihilism is never fully eradicated. It lurks, ready to pounce, at any opportunity. Behind postmodernism is nihilism, claws at the ready.

Nihilism is the negation of meaning, purpose and value. If there is no way to know whether God exists apart from a leap of faith, then there is no reason to leap at all. If nature is arbitrary in its treatment of its inhabitants, then life is arbitrary. In its existential guise, nihilism denies any basic assumption about the nature of humanity and posits, in its place, pure existence. Humanity is reduced to beast, but is unable to live completely as one. Life is fundamentally meaningless, but persistent. The nihilist has no answer to this problem and thus lives an inconsistent life. Postmodernism is the attempt to live out this inconsistency.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.