The Death of Post-Modernism

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By Seth Bartley
I’m calling it.

Post-ModernismW is officially dead.

For those of us who aren’t historians, or people with FAR too much free time on our hands, human history can be divided into various categories based on schools of thought—the general guiding mindset of the popular culture.  We’ve been through several just within the United States.

What Is (or Was) Post-Modernism?
Post-ModernismW, put simply, is the philosophy that acts in opposition to ModernismW.  Every major era of thought is followed by a period of disunity and question.  As we transition from one major era to the next there is a period of confusion where several different philosophies compete and combat to see which one will take root as the dominate philosophy of the next era; this is the Post-eras.  

Post-ModernismW, at a very basic level, holds that if truth exists, then it is not knowable or provable.  Meaning and value is derived from individuals and societies, furthermore these can be changed at any time.  It is a philosophyW marked by doubtW and skepticismW

“Trust No One.”
Again, that is a MASSIVE oversimplification of the philosophy.  I do not have space to provide each philosophy its proper due.  I encourage you to look up more on ModernismW and Post-ModernismW.

Where Did Post-Modernism Come From?
The seeds of the next era can almost always be seen in the apex of the current PhilosophyW.  The glory of ModernismW was made manifest in the creation of the atom bomb and in turn the seeds of its end were planted in that blast.
Post-Modernism was:

  • Conceived by the atom bomb
  • This was the height of Modernism.
  • Gestated (nurtured) through the Cold War.
  • The last hurrah for modernism was the moon landing.
  • Born at the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union we needed to reorient ourselves. We no longer knew who the enemy was or who exactly we were fighting for. Were we even fighting at all? Thus came a transitions moment; a “Post” era.
  • Here ModernismW truly died out.

How Did Post-Modernism Die? / What Replaces It?
As stated above, Post-ModernismW is a transition and is a time where several philosophies compete for dominance.  This next era in philosophyW is not yet totally established, but I believe there is one which has become dominate.  First, we see the general lifespan of Post-ModernismW which began its decline at the height of the chaos.  In my opinion, there is no moment which embodied this moment better than in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This moment changed, not just America but the world, we were forced to re-evaluate our assumptions and re-evaluate our Post-ModernW re-evaluations.
In the 9/11 attacks, or perhaps more importantly our reaction to them, the next major era began to come into focus.

  • Conceived in aftermath of the 9/11 attacks
  • The morning of 9/12 brought a longing for steady and meaningful truth; a first rejection of the instability of Post-ModernW philosophyW.
  • There are even examples of captured terrorists converting some of their prison guards to Islam due to their unyielding, reliable, and inspiring conviction.
  • Gestated (nurtured) through “the Great Recession”
  • The collapse of the market and the incineration of all the fallacious assets fostered a thirst for something more ‘real’.  This is in direct conflict to the Post-ModernismW idea which holds that ‘if you believe, then it is real; it becomes real because you believe it. (Relate this to my view on Objectivism; reality is defined by man / reality is defined outside of man.)
  • The hyper-politicization of the traditional media outlets led many to abandon organizations they perceived as uninterested in truth.
  • In connection we have seen the advent of new media outlet structures such as Facebook, Netflix, and GBTV.
  • Today is the Birthday of the next era.
  • The American people are in Labor; all this is but the beginning of the birth-pains.
  • Exactly what form this new era takes will depend on YOUR and MY behavior right here, right now.

These are not political events. True, we experienced the resurrection of ProgressivismW during the last decade and the rejuvenation of Classic LiberalismW in the form of the Tea Party, but mere politics does not have a strong enough influence on human thought or belief to significantly shift eras of philosophies.
No official name has been established yet for this new era.  However, after looking at not just the trends, but the principles of arguments and mindsets, I believe we are moving into an era similar to the Age of EnlightenmentW of the 18th century; a Neo-EnlightenmentW.
What Is Neo-Enlightenment?
“Neo” means new, “Enlightenment” is probably best defined by philosopher Immanuel KantW in his 1784 work ‘What is Enlightenment?’, that is to seek truth for YOURSELF; not to trust the affirmations of others, but know firsthand what is and is not true.  He wrote:  Sapere Aude! [dare to know] “Have courage to use your own understanding!” — that is the motto of enlightenment.

What Does This Mean?
I have been watching Churches and listening to the arguments from the Faithful.  There are those trying to reinvigorate the philosophies of AbsolutismW generally associated with ModernismW, there are those who have embraced the philosophies of RelativismW associated with Post-ModernismW.  As illustrated in my previous article Objectivism, I am of the mind that this is, at best, a waste of time if not counterproductive over the long run.  In my opinion, Churches need to stop focusing on catering to the ModernistW groups or courting Post-ModernistW crowds.  We need to get on the ground floor of the next era before secular forces forge their philosophical battlements; focus on Neo-EnlightenmentW.  We must remember there was a spiritual, God-centered, version of the first Enlightenment (such as found in George WhitefieldW) and a humanistic version of the first Enlightenment (such as found in Thomas PaineW).  Our actions, now, will dictate which proves dominate in the Neo-EnlightenmentW.
Some examples of this include:
—Jim Dalay, the President of the Christian organization Focus on the Family, claimed that Christians are losing the debate on gay marriage.  I first say that is sad, but I’m also not surprised.  Anti/Pro Gay Marriage is a ModernistW/Post-ModernistW debate; stop thinking like a ModernistW, stop thinking like a Post-ModernistW.  The world as it existed 50 years ago is gone. The questions are: What will we do now?  How do we deal with it?  In using the argument that homosexuality is either legal or illegal we, the church, have been focusing on the legality of homosexual marriage but ignoring the immorality of homosexuality itself; we have gotten caught in the sand trap of legalism.  In the same vein, just because alcohol is legal doesn’t mean it’s suddenly moral to be an alcoholic.
Homosexuality is an abomination to God; the Neo-EnlightenmentW is concerned with individual behavior, not the legal enforcement of the State.  I for one don’t understand why the State is involving itself in my heterosexual marriage; a covenant forged between me and my wife before our Creator.  We have been looking to the laws of Man to enforce the Laws of God.  It is one thing to have a government that reflects the righteousness of the people; but we have set all our focus on the reflection, not the actual person.  Speak to the Heart of the People, the politicians will always follow.
—Cosmetic surgery has been available to the general public for decades now.  Post-ModernismW, which holds to the idea that perception=reality, embraced cosmetic surgery as something venerable.  I have even seen ModernistsW grasp onto this as something which will make them FEEL and APPEAR younger, as if that is something to esteem or envy; as if this somehow improves their worth.
In Scripture we find:

  • “White hair is a crown of honor obtained by righteous living” (Proverbs 16.31).
  • “The pride of the young is their strength; the dignity of the old is gray hair” (Proverbs 20.29)

The Neo-EnlightenmentW mindset doesn’t resonate with the thought of cosmetic surgery.  Appearances are important as they communicate something about the person underneath, but the idea of creating a façade, a false appearance, is an abomination to the Neo-EnlightenmentW philosophy.  Neo-EnlightenmentW is very concerned in trust, finding something honest, reliable, and true, even if it is unpleasant; THAT is worthiness.  To the Neo-EnlightenmentW mind Cosmetic surgery (except in cases of injury) is a deception and a betrayal to truth and indicates that a person who engages in this is a person who lacks respect for the truth of who they are; who the Potter molded them to be (Isaiah 45.9).

Further Research
John LockeW was a leader during the first Enlightenment era (the Age of EnlightenmentW), especially in America and his philosophies and theologies are taking strong root again in the Neo-EnlightenmentW.
A fantastic example of Neo-EnlightenmentW philosophy and Neo-EnlightenmentW Christianity can be found in Alex and Brett Harris.  I encourage everyone to read their works:  Do Hard Things, and Start Here.  Also, you can visit their website at: The Rebelution.

I hope this article will help you keep your bearings and keep you from being tossed about in the sea of Man’s philosophies.

May the LORD bless you and have a good day.