Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ethics of Postmodernist

Everything has an opposite. Winner - Loser. Pass - Fail. Cadillac - Yugo. Good - Bad. God - No God. Heaven - Hell. Truth - No truth.
Within our generation we are seeing the opposites battle for truth. As a Christian worldview holds onto truth in the realm of Creation, one may assume that an all powerful God created all that we know. It is through Him that all matter, space and time can be contributed. When a worldview holds onto the reality of God creating mankind, we have a duty to our fellow man. Even though we may posses a sinful nature, we are created in the image of God. He did not speak man into existence, He breathed life into him. Since man is a part of God's creation, He calls us to reach out to others. To feed and clothe the poor is not a duty of the Christian community, but a call from our heavenly Father. The opposite comes from Richard Rorty, postmodernist thinker, states that all dignity of man comes from the tradition that is bestowed upon man. He writes, "it is part of the tradition of our community that the human stranger from whom all dignity has been stripped is to be taken in, to be re clothed with dignity." (Truth Decay, pg. 188) The question that arises concerning Richard Rorty's idea of tradition, is what "tradition" of truth can bring dignity back to one's down trodden life. What if the "tradition" brings a person in, gives them back their dignity and then sends them off. Is that person well off from the time he/she was brought in? Let's say that "tradition" gave back dignity in the means of a monthly food stamp. Are the problems that brought the person to this state erased? The "tradition" of the Christian community is not to only help to bring back the dignity of one's being, but to give a foundation to life that can be found through Christ. Dignity may be brought back by a handout, but dignity that is founded in Christ restores one to greatness. Once again the opposites are at battle.
On postmodern ethics Kenneth Gergen states, "For the postmodern there is no transcendent reality, rationality, or value system with which to rule between competitors." (Truth Decay, pg 188) If the "tradition" of the community is to meet the need of man, then the idea of right and wrong must be stated. When right and wrong is loosely based on man's interpretation then one can determine for themselves how one may meet the need of an individual. Man may be given back their dignity, but now it is through their own doing that one may restore their self worth. Once again man becomes the determined factor, and may return to the place where he/she started. When truth is given a foundation, which is taken to be fundamentally true by the "Law Giver", one holds onto the responsibility given to us by God to meet the needs of mankind. Right and wrong, that is based upon the “Law” given to us by God, gives us the foundation to stand and impact our culture, who desires their dignity, and the answers to their problems. Douglas Groothuis, author of Truth Decay writes, “Only the God of the Scripture provides a source of moral authority and obligation, standards for ethical endeavor, the incentive and power for character, and a moral community of truth, which respects transcendent realities.”(Truth Decay, pg 207) Truth that is built on the ideas of Scripture will change lives and equip the masses with the confidence in knowing that a true living God cares for their very needs and is control of their future. More than likely man will not return to the point from which they started, but will move forward with hope and a purpose for living! No need for government hand outs, just good old hard sweat, compassion and the dignity to accomplish that which is before us.

1 comment:

Red Light! Green Light! said...

To begin studies on what postmoderns consider tradition, Levi-Strauss (yes, like the blue jeans) would be a good start. Religion certainly qualifies as a tradition, but it's also important to remember the fragements of religion that mistakenly assume the whole title of "Christian". A member of a Catholic, Baptist, or Lutheran church all could claim their faith as more accurate in contrast to others. What factors precipitate these breaks beyond simple power struggles. How do these tectonics opperate? A study within the Christian system could provide plenty of insight into a postmodern ethics. Interestingly enough, postmodernism implicitly contains within it, a very powerful yearning for a return, to fill a void, for a completeness. Modernism claimed the absence of God. Postmodernism resurfaces it. I know it seems strange, but I could argue the point. I googled Gergen under blogs and came to your post. Enjoy answering your own questions, C.