Tom Oord Is Blogging

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Postmodern Christians can live faithfully between the absence of absolute certainty and the abyss of extreme relativism. This middle ground promotes both humility and conviction.

Postmodernists reject the idea that we can know with absolute certainty the full truth about reality. Absolute certainty requires inerrant sense perception. It requires a set of inerrant ideas. Or it requires inerrant interpretation of an inerrant source. Such inerrancy does not exist.

This lack of absolute certainty about the full truth of reality, however, is not bad news for Christians. After all, faith resides at the heart of the Christian message. Christians are believers not proposition defenders.

Faith is different from absolute certainty. But it’s different from absolute mystery too. Faith need not be blind or unreasonable.

To believe is not to reject reason or evidence altogether. One can affirm a degree of confidence in the greater plausibility of statements, ways of living, or perceptions. And this greater confidence can foster reasonable conviction. Faith can be grounded.

A number of postmodernists affirm that what we regard as true extends well beyond verbal statements. Truth also has a livable, embodied element. It has an aesthetic element too. Truth is personal, communal, and even cosmic. Truth is multi-faceted.

Postmodernists recognize that we cannot comprehend truth entirely. We see through a glass darkly. And this inability to be absolutely certain or to know reality fully should lead us to humility.

Pride still comes before a fall. But pride emerges not only when we retain full control of our lives. We can also sin through pride by thinking we have full and certain knowledge. We forget that the just live by faith. Postmodernism can foster the virtue of humble living.

In sum, postmodernists need not reject truth. But postmodernism reminds us that “we know in part.” Christian convictions embraced in humility can help us live abundant life in our emerging world.

via Truth and Postmodernism · For The Love of Wisdom and The Wisdom of Love · Thomas Jay Oord.


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