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What challenges does post modernity present for Christian Doctrine?

| December 4, 2012


Post-modernity is a concept that deals with the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty. It is positioned as a result of modernity, which claims the idea Progress, a sense of history and democratization (e.g. personalization). Post modernity operates an erasure of the future that leads to the worship of this. So what Fukuyama announced the end of historicism? Some ideas of revolutionary school progress or implementation of the adverse effects of technology.

Post-modernity is thus a failure, and notably temporal: it is impossible to be at this time, or ahead of its time … is the reign of timelessness. There is also a real saturation of social movements.

Finally, philosophy, postmodernism asserts in his critique of modernity and the adoption of monism strong individualism.

I. Brief description of modernity

Modernity is really born with the Enlightenment philosophers who believed that “man is the measure of all things” (humanism). He rejected the authority and tradition and replaces them with reason and science. God and religion are dethroned.

The modern mind assumes knowledge as accessible to the human spirit. Knowledge is certain, objective and well and should lead to progress. Modern man has absolute faith in his rational capacities. Through observation, experience and reflection, one can discover the truth. The school is a place bursting with the native environment for progress. Education must liberate the individual from the narrow and irrational that it imposes on his passions, his family and society to be open to rational knowledge.

II. What is post modernity?

In other words, postmodernism is a philosophy that says no objective truth or absolute, particularly when dealing with religion and spirituality. In the confrontation with the truth about the reality of God and religious practice, the post-modern perspective is illustrated in the statement that “what is true for you, it’s not for me.”

The term “postmodernism” means literally “after modernism” and is used philosophically to describe the current era, which came after the age of modernity. Postmodernism is a reaction (or perhaps more appropriately, a wry response ) broken promise of modernism from the use of human reason alone to better mankind and make the world a better place. Because the belief that modernity has been the absolute exists, postmodernism seeks to “correct” things by taking out the absolute truth and that everything (including the empirical sciences and religion) in relation to an individual’s beliefs and desires.

III. The cross over modernity to post modernity

Modernity has been characterized by an increased knowledge in all areas. Globalisation and the Media Development accentuated this phenomenon. The reason is unable to unify knowledge. It is rather a coexistence of heterogeneous knowledge, knowledge of the break (fragmentation, fragmentation, division). The sense and rationality seem to oppose.

The dream continues progress has been shaken by two world wars, the Holocaust, the development of nationalism, by the fear of nuclear destruction, degradation of the environment. Implementation of technology is dehumanizing.

The reason is considered an instrument of power and domination, which stifles the subject, his feelings, imagination, intuition…

Gradually, the optimism of modernity will give way to disenchantment and disillusionment. Post-modern present both as a rejection and an excess of modernity.

IV. The challenges of modernity for post Christian Doctrine

The dangers of postmodernism can be seen as a downward spiral that began with the rejection of absolute truth, which leads to a loss of distinctions in matters of religion and faith, and finally ends in a philosophy of religious pluralism that says no faith or religion is objectively true and therefore nobody can claim that their religion is true and the other is false.

The end of the reign of reason

Modernity was the reason the last idol, the woman who was to succeed where all others had failed (cosmos, religion, tradition, country …), which was to succeed in unifying the know. Its failure is a sign idols and end in a new era of post modernity. This failure also calls into question the very notion of progress.


“To each his own truth! This phrase perfectly characterizes post modernity. Relativism follows from the end of the idols, the unifying principle of the lack of knowledge. Knowledge is not certain, objective and good, everybody is back to himself to determine what is true. Now, truth is subjective, that’s what makes sense to me.

Distrust of authority

Since no authority is really meaning it follows a general mistrust of all forms of authority.

The hyper individualism

Humanism has been associated with modernity has begun on the phenomenon of individualization. With the end of the reign of reason, relativism and distrust of authority, with the need to identify itself, the phenomenon is growing again … You can then speak of hyper individualism. The hyper-individualism is in particular the importance of personal experience and gives pride to the feelings. “I feel therefore I am”!

The distortion of language

The language is misleading. Everyone can give another meaning to a word. There is no reference to the most common that gives true meaning to the words. In this regard it is interesting to note that dictionaries of all types of countless flowers every day…

More Choices

This feature, already present in modernity as resulting in particular from a better knowledge and their heterogeneity, also increases. Multiplication called the multiplication…

The importance of the moment

Here and now! Because the past is irretrievably lost, since the very possibility of progress has no merit, because the future has nothing to offer, it must be lived and live intensely.

A sense of despair

While the reign of reason, optimism and enthusiasm are shaping, post modernity sees the emergence of a new mindset. Optimism gradually gives way to cynicism and scepticism and pessimism and even despair.

The return of religion

The question that arises is what religion is she? Three main features appear. Firstly it is a religious map (at each of its religious). Then there is also a religious reason for refusing a leap into the irrational (faith without reason can there be?). Finally, the return of religion certainly reflects the inability of man to live without belief



To repeat my simplification, postmodernism is relativism. Postmodernism is a reaction against the structures of logical truth of modern thought that gave us suggestions on the absolute nature, time, space, mathematics, know ability, the repeatability of the experiment, predictability, etc. modernism developed science , technology and medicine, he helped to produce a comfortable and predictable society – in which people tend to become complacent, comfortable and predictable. But there are always people who ask questions rather than blindly follow the status quo. They look for different means of expression, different interpretations of truth, to teach the idea that truth is not necessarily absolute, and that reality can be reinterpreted. It is in the post-modern context that the emerging churches are seeking work.



Hun singer G 2007. Postliberal Theology. In Vanhoozer (ed) Postmodern Theology. Cambridge: CUP

Ingraffia BD 1995. Postmodern Theory and Biblical Theology. Cambridge: CUP.

Iser W 1978. The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. Baltimore: John Hopkins University

James W 1975. Pragmatism: A New Name for some Old Ways of Thinking, Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Jay M 1993. The Debate over Performance Contradiction: Habermas versus the Poststructuralist. In Force Fields. New York: Routledge

Padilla RC 1979. Hermeneutics and Culture: A Theological Perspective. In Gospel and Culture. Pasadena: William Carey Library

Pannenberg W 1970. Basic Questions in Theology (Vol 1). London: SCM

Penner M 2005. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn. Grand Rapids: Brazos


Placher W 1999. Being Postliberal: A Response to James Gustafson. Christian Century April 1999

Plantinga A 2000. Warranted Christian Belief. Oxford:OUP

Andrew K. M. Adam, ‘Author’, in Handbook of Post-modern Biblical Interpretation (ed. Andrew K. M. Adam; St. Louis: Chalice, 2000), 8–13.

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