Friday, January 2, 2009

The Post-Modern Building courtesy of Ravi Zacharias

Here is an excerpt from a speech by Ravi Zacharias, who is the most brilliant speaker and one of the best, if not the best, Christian apologists of our time. Think about it.

Postmodernism tells us there’s no such thing as truth; no such thing as meaning; no such thing as certainty. I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts. He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.” I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?” He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.” I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?” He said, “That is correct.” I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?” All of a sudden there was silence. You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.


Pizza Man said...

I like Ravi too. That's a great analogy.

ServantOfThe_MostHigh said...

Or would be a great analogy if either of the men (Ravi or the man he was talking to) actually knew what Post-Modernism was. Post-Modernism does not in fact tell us that there is no truth, but rather that the established binaries that we associate with constructs such as truth are inherently wrong and a new binary (for the they works off the idea that everything is in a binary system of true/not true) must take place, but it is not the opposite of the original binary. It's confusing, I know, but I've been studying theories like this for a while now, and even had a whole class devoted just to theory and I can tell you Post-Modernism is misrepresented here. It is common to simply say the theory says there is no truth, but that is ironically not the truth.

bossmanham said...

How can something not be either true or not true? Can it be kind of true? Can it be almost true? I don't think the world works that way, and I know that when Jesus said He is truth, He wasn't thinking like a post-modernist.

Your final sentence displays the inherent problem in post-modernism. If one says it (post-modernism) is true, they have just done what they are lecturing people not to do. It defeats itself.

ServantOfThe_MostHigh said...

That's an interesting thought on that. But it stems still from a misunderstanding of Post-Modernism. It is not a contradiction to say that there is truth if you follow the Post-Modernism school of thought. The idea is that you deconstruct the original idea and flip it around, not allowing for the opposite idea to set itself as the right idea. Post-Modernism tries to break away from the idea that there's a binary to everything.

For example, a binary is rich/poor, where you are either rich or poor. A Post-Modernism view say that's wrong, you don't have to be either rich or poor, but there is a middle ground to this. The would be something like the middle class. The addition of the middle displaces the binary "rich/poor" and prevents the opposite from setting up in its place "poor/rich."

Post-Modernism DOES NOT say there is no Truth, rather that the establish norms we think of are wrong. It assumes you think in black and white and says you need to realize there's a third part to that, the divide between the two.

bossmanham said...

I wonder if the theory is true or not.

ServantOfThe_MostHigh said...

I don't. I know what Truth is, and I know that anything beyond that is just fluff. Praise be to the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

bossmanham said...

My point is that truth by definition is exclusive. Post-modernists frequently flaunt a relativistic view of truth, i.e. it's true for me but not you. That is a fallacy. Post-modernism is a philosophy that defeats itself.

ServantOfThe_MostHigh said...

You are aware there is a school of thought called Relativism, right? That it is a complete separate school of thought from Post-Modernism? Relative truth is not existent in Post-Modernism writing. I know, I've read a good chunk of it.

I just don't think we should be combating a point that Post-Modernism doesn't make, but rather combat the points it does make, like the idea of Deconstruction.

bossmanham said...

Well, you described things as having different "levels" of truth. That sounds relativistic to me. Can you give one example of something this would apply reasonably to?

On how we're interpreting the term "post-modern" from what I have read on the subject, which is very little, I believe it's a term that is fairly fluid right now. It hasn't been completely pinned down in philosophical circles as of yet. Relativism seems to always come up, however.

As far as deconstruction goes, I must admit I'm not that familiar with that aspect of philosophical thought. Maybe if you describe the basic premise to me. I'll do some googling myself. But anything developed in the 60's I pretty much discount altogether.

I don't read the Bible through the lens of philosophy, anyway. As Tertullian said, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?"