“Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward meta-narratives.” -Jean-François Lyotard
What is a Metanarrative and Why do I Care?
In everyday terms, a meta-narrative is simply a set of beliefs about the world. If you are a Christian then your meta-narrative is Christianity. As a Christian you believe that what the Bible teaches about the world is true. A meta-narrative is very similar to a worldview.
The reason postmoderns have coined the word “meta-narrative” is because using the term “worldview” implies a set of beliefs about reality that are objectively true – true regardless of whether you believe them or not.
When normal people speak about truth, they mean how well a belief or statement corresponds to actual objective reality. Whether you believe something to be true or not does not change whether that belief or statement is actually true.
The whole thrust of postmodernism is that your belief defines truth, and objective reality is irrelevant/non-existant.
The Denial of Objective/Universal Truth
At the heart of postmodernism is the denial of objective reality and thus objective truth. This is not just believing that humans cannot know anything about objective reality (scepticism), it’s far worse!
Postmodernist thought says that there is no universal, objective reality apart from language and belief.
It takes a lot of time stewing in a liberal arts university for once rational human beings to become comfortable with the idea that truth is what you say it is!
In the end the “incredulity toward meta-narratives” talked of by Lyotard is a more palatable way of saying “a stubborn refusal to believe in objective reality”. If he had used these words, I doubt postmodernism would be such a dominant force in our Western culture since common sense tells people that even after you die, the objective world goes on, it is not dependent on your beliefs about it.
Postmoderns Pulling a Fast One
By using the word “meta-narrative” instead of “worldview” postmoderns are trying to exempt themselves from the “incredulity” that they have towards meta-narratives! The problem with this is that postmodernism acts just like any other meta-narrative. It believes its claims are true and should be embraced by others as an accurate representation of reality.
Postmoderns love to deny the universal truth of other people’s beliefs, particularly Christians, but you’d better not dare to question whether what they believe is universally true.
The hate postmoderns show for Christian belief shows they clearly believe that Christianity is objectively wrong, and if there is an objective wrong you better believe there is an objective right as well!
Postmoderns believe this “objective right” is the meta-narrative of postmodernism.
There is no objective truth and you better believe that’s true!
Not only does postmodernist thought try to persuade people of the truthfulness of its claims but it is extremely intolerant of any worldview that disagrees with its truth claims.
You need only look to the newspapers or social media to see the hateful venom spewed at anybody who believes things to be true that postmodernism declares to be false – a “woman’s right to choose” for example.
Christians believe that it is not a woman’s right to choose to kill an unborn child whereas postmoderns embrace the rights of women to kill over the rights of babies to live.
Of course the secular mass-media does not allow it to be phrased in this straight-forward way but uses euphemistic weasel words and manipulative slogans to confuse all those who are not paying close attention.
All of a sudden, the people who are telling everybody that “truth is dependent on your community so don’t force your truth on me”, seem to believe that what they believe is universally true, irrespective of community, and that everybody should embrace their truth.
Postmodernism is a Meta-narrative
The very well-concealed truth about postmodernism is that it is actually a meta-narrative. No matter how often postmoderns say they do not believe in objective reality they continue to act as if they do.
This is because humans cannot live-out the belief that they are just in some sort of make-believe universe constructed by the language of the community to which they belong.
However, through an extensive propaganda campaign coupled with a lot of smoke and mirrors, postmodernism has convinced a lot of people that it is true, but not really TRUE, if that makes sense! People have bought the idea that it is true to say that truth doesn’t exist! Well done secular mass-media! Now that is good PR!
Protecting the Little Guy
Postmodernism has always marketed itself as the benevolent protector of minorities. Postmoderns’ disdain of meta-narratives stems from their belief that all universal/large scale explanations of reality are inherently oppressive and exploitative – one community trying to create a reality that entrenches itself in power over others.
In taking this mantel of “protector of the weak and disenfranchised” postmodernism is attempting to steal one of Christianity’s core roles in society.
As with other oppressive philosophies it gains power by being the group that defines who the weak and disenfranchised are, and it turns out that they are the people who believe in postmodernism! It certainly isn’t the ACTUAL most helpless, weak and disenfranchised of all in OBJECTIVE REALITY – unborn babies for example.
Jesus makes it clear that it is the mission of Christianity to protect foreign minorities (Psalm 146:9),the disenfranchised and helpless, and all the weak and down-trodden of the world. The God of the Bible has a special place in His heart for these people and seeks to bring them to a place of fulfilment, empowerment and happiness in Him. (1 John 3:17-18, Deuteronomy 10:18, Galatians 2:10, Luke 18:22, Matthew 25:35)
Postmodernism claims that all meta-narratives (except theirs) are oppressive but Christianity claims that Jesus came to “set the captives free”. The Bible claims Christianity is about freedom from oppression whereas postmodernism believes Christianity is oppressive. One of these two meta-narratives is wrong!
“…he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” –Isaiah 61:1
Usurping Christ’s Role for the Church
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” –James 1:27
It has traditionally and correctly been the role of the church to provide for both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor. Postmodernism has clothed itself in the robes of the church whilst denying the Christian God, seeking to make the true church irrelevant and as such denying true comfort to the needy.
Postmodernism’s Exploitation of the Poor
The true church believes caring for the poor is objectively good regardless of culture.
The postmodernist pretender claims he cares for the poor whilst in reality he denies that caring for the poor is even objectively good!
Postmodernism is “a doctrine of demons” that must be rejected by the true church (1 Timothy 4:1). It doesn’t care for the poor, the downtrodden, the weak or even for the minorities groups that it pretends so hard to support.
Postmodernism seeks to proselytize the poor to its anti-God view of the world using all the cleverly devised chicanery it can muster. The poor are just pawns in its battle against the Christian God.
- How can postmoderns care for minorities and the poor when they don’t even believe that caring for the poor is objectively good?
- How do they think they can really help the poor with no objective good to aim for?
Helping means improving the condition of the poor. Postmoderns don’t believe in improvement because improvement suggests moving towards something better. Better is a purely relative notion, dependent on an objective good, which they do not have!
All that postmodernism can offer the poor is something akin to a narcotic. A narcotic does exactly what postmodernism does; it removes the user from objective reality!
The sad reality for both the drug-addict and the postmodern is that objective reality is not so easily removed!
True Comfort to the Poor – The Way, The Truth and The Life
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” –John 3:16-17
True comfort to the poor does not come from denying objective reality. True comfort comes from embracing the objective reality that there is an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-righteous, all-holy God who loves us.
Every wrong we have suffered, every unfair situation we have endured, every tragedy we have faced will be made right by our “righteous judge” who “will repay”. (Psalm 7:11, Deuteronomy 32:35)
True comfort comes to the poor and down-trodden with the acceptance that this life is not all there is.
This life is often unfair and cruel, broken by sin, but God has not left us hopeless.
The almighty God has reached down to us, offering an escape from the ravages of this sin-torn world, all we have to do is BELIEVE in Him and trust in His Son – OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.