The only thing worse than those who evaluate postmodernism is postmodernism itself. Derrida has been the leading postmodern thinker of our time, especially in France and Europe. His “Grammatology” is the foundation for saying that language, written or spoken, never passes on to the reader or listener anything that can be called “fact” because words are merely “signs” or cultural symbols whose meanings change constantly. Of course he tells us all this in his book of words.
One Final Note…
After reviewing two books on postmodernism, I think I should add some of my current thoughts. There is one thing in which almost all Christians would find agreement with a postmodernist: a definite dislike of modernism! Much of the postmodern cultural rebellion is simply an objection to a cold, industrial, sky-scraper, cookie-cutter world. Postmodernists see modernism as the cause of industrial, scientific, governmental and cultural oppression of the common man. We have been told how to think, how to act, how to get ahead, and even what to believe and not believe. The modern humanistic, atheistic, scientific world has formulated cultural mores that do not allow for variation. Surprised? We shouldn’t be. Christians have been voicing those objections for two hundred years. The danger in postmodernism comes in thinking we are “co-belligerents” (to use Schaeffer’s term) on the same path.
The postmodern response to cultural conformity is chaos. If living in a high-rise apartment is modernism’s “sign” of cultural conformity, homelessness is postmodernism’s “sign” of the victim. If three-piece suits and brief-cases are modernism’s “signs” of forced cultural values, body piercing, grunge clothing and random shaped hair styles are postmodernism’s “signs” of cultural nihilism. Believers must be careful, in their glee over modernism’s decline, not to trade the lion’s den for the stake. T.S. Eliot wrote that culture is the incarnation of religion. Postmoderns take the culture neutrally because, to them, all religion is neutral. When Christians take no thought of cultural “signifiers,” they are building the postmodernist’s case against the “Signified.”