Comparison and Contrast of Postmodernism and Christian theism
The modern western societal units are changing day by day according to the modern needs of the time, and the masses tend to explore more than one way of thinking. In this context, the modern aspects and disciplines of understanding the universe are getting new shapes. Modern concepts and views present a multitude of alternatives that interpret and understand the reality and existence of various things. So, human generations cherished the past three hundred years as the age of modernity. However, the modern age has been transformed into the postmodern age in the contemporary context. Such transformation has revolutionized the thinking patterns and thinking capacity of humans worldwide. This transformation tends the human mind to think about and cope with understanding realities, truths, and fundamental questions about life. In other words, the final change and transformation significantly impact humanity’s basic concepts and beliefs (Oyemomi, 2015). From a religious point of view, the most shadowed part of the present life is Christianity and the Bible. When we opt to compare these approaches, a gigantic difference arises between the present world and the ancient world of Christianity. The church has deep roots in ancient views and beliefs, but it has accommodated itself with the envelope of modernity with modern progress. In this context, the postmodern approach or worldview does not adorn ancient beliefs, and this trench tends to increase over time. In other words, postmodernism and Christianity get apart like having locations at far ends of a string that never compromise to meet at the central point. This paper will explore the comparison and contrast between postmodernism and Christian theism based on multiple aspects and dimensions as worldviews. The primary aim is to interpret these worldviews in the light of various ways of looking at the world regarding reality and truths of life and its proceedings.
Explaining a Worldview:
To better understand the topic, it is crucial to interpret and understand a worldview or its dimensions in the contemporary world. A worldview is a phenomenon or perception by which things tend to manifest themselves to human beings instead of modern knowledge. In precise words, Worldview is how human beings objectively observe, interpret and understand things which finally become part and parcel of beliefs. Old norms, conventions, and customs, being the base of beliefs, are shattered by modern knowledge or modern worldview. In addition, a worldview can be seen as the primary perception by which one can perceive and address each issue of ongoing life. In other words, a worldview is treated, or it provides such a framework in life adorned by multiple values and principles that ease humans to interpret and understand the world (Vidal, 2008).
However, various sets of multidimensional rules, regulations, and laws propose such solid ways, techniques, and methods by which human beings enlighten their minds by considering them suitable and absolute for a specific period. Such a worldview is Christian theism having roots in ancient times, and similarly, postmodernism is worldwide that aroused in contemporary times. In this way, both these worldviews look like oppositions of each other up to much extent. So, a comparison can be much effective in understanding the reality and truths of things or world based on various ways, i.e., disciplines.
The thought and concept of Postmodernism:
Literally, postmodernism means “after modernism,” which is currently used to philosophically elaborate the modern time or era. It relates to the modern era that proceeds after the modernism age. It is noteworthy that the ultimate purpose of any worldview, like modernity, is to promise humans better humanity, a better world, and a place to live in with logical reasoning and rationality. In this context, modernism failed to win the trust of humans in the modern perspective. So it is thought that postmodernism may be originated as a reaction to modernism or a disillusioned response for trying to succeed where modernism failed. In this context, postmodernism does not raise objections only to modernism but also to ancient beliefs. Among them, the religion and religious values and principles are top rankings. In this aspect, postmodernism transformed the “absolute” concept to ‘relative” (Oyemomi, 2015). In a more precise way, postmodern worldview relates and obliges that each society may have its own set of customs, norms, values, and principles to solve its problems. In this discourse, every societal unit may have its construction of cultural aspects. The truth and falsehood revolve around the ongoing situation of a specific society instead of any absolute truth or reality.
Christian theism Worldview:
The Christian worldview begins with the confirmed existence of Trinitarian God, whose manifestation and principles breed characteristics of a moral world entitled with love and justice. Based on these eternal principles, the universe is established based on words, wisdom, governing authority, and the law framework of God. In other words, God and the universe are interconnected in relation to creator and creation with specific characteristics and set rules. Moreover, Christian theism believes in the absolute truth of God and clarifies this truth as part of the truth, which is ultimately one. Hence, the Christian worldview in this aspect is not based on perfection or automatic norms. In other words, Christians do not hold the truth, but God is the ultimate source of final truth as complete and perfect truth. The main reason behind this duality of truth between Christians and God expresses that Christians precede lives in social contexts, which ultimately affect their perceptions and understandings. It is so because Christian faith and belief about raising questions and understanding God is limited (Adu-Gyamfi, 2015). This limit relates that God is above board with our ideas; Human ideas cannot capture his greatness. So, questioning and understanding God in the context of the whole universe is impossible for the human mind and human wisdom. In this context, the difference of truth between Christians and God lies in communal life. So, such modern investigations are rejected based on a single dominant belief that God is authoritative and his truth, wisdom, and knowledge are absolute and matchless.
Comparison and Contrast based on Ways of looking at the World:
It is stated truth that many corresponding values, beliefs, and norms exist in Christian theism, which cannot be picked individually. In this context, Christianity is under severe attack based on these values and principles when selected on an individual basis for understanding purposes. In addition, the concepts of absolute truth ad perfection are attached with Christianity like part and parcel. On the contrary, the modern world and modern thinking patterns do not validate such an approach. In this context, for better understanding and interpretation, postmodernism and Christian theism can be compared based on various ways of looking at the world. These ways in modern times can be distinguished as various disciplines being taught at universities and educational institutes like theology, psychology, philosophy, and law, etc.
If we interpret the concept of theology based on Christian theism and postmodernism, we find two distinct dimensions and approaches. Christianity believes in God’s absolute and perfect truth, and concerning this aspect, the respective truth revolves around love. As it is stated in Bible, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us, God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (John, 4:16). While on the other hand, postmodernism does not believe in the attributes of perfection and absoluteness. Rather it is the worldview of contingency instead of fixation. So the reality of religious values and principles, especially regarding God and His attributes, has distinct differences based on Christian theism and postmodernism.
Similarly, the philosophical basis of Christian theism includes the ideas, customs, and conventions based on a philosophical interpretation of Christian religion. The primary aim for the emergence of Christian philosophy relates to reconciling modern science and ancient faith with the help of revelation. However, philosophy in contact with postmodernism relates to ideology’s positive and acute role in various movements to establish economic and political welfare power. If we keenly observe the two worldviews, we know that both have the ultimate need for welfare, but both are dissimilar in their techniques of action and methods of proceedings.
Moreover, based on ethics, both worldviews have vivid distinctions. Postmodernism emphasizes individual sanctity, i.e., moral self and individual high moral values. It has nothing to do with overall societal ethical and moral growth. While, on the other hand, Christian theism provides a set of principles and values for growing the societal units on a high moral basis. Arrogance, intolerance, and pride are the basis of hatred and against the moral demands of religion. Christianity believes in constructing a better society on moral values and norms of virtue. It provides only one way to heaven, and that is through Christ. In other words, a strict code of moral values and principles must be practiced to establish justice and equity in society.
Furthermore, according to Christina theism, the creational basis of humans and this whole universe belongs to God. The creation process, i.e., the biological basis of creation, reveals the whole process according to the will and wisdom of God. In addition, regarding creation, the natural order reflects a good and right one as stated in the Bible “One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.”(John 14). However, regarding postmodernism, genetically engineered foods based on principles of biological creation are essential. At this aspect, scientists and policymakers defend argumentatively the biological creation process but based on evolution. In other words, both worldviews have similarities regarding creation but differ on the process and way of creation.
Moreover, the knowledge of the human spirit to address human behavior relates to Christian theism in its real essence. For example, in Bible, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Christ promised regarding the help of spirit and its guidance. However, postmodernism does challenge the human psyche based on a systematic and analytical approach. Most frequently, it addresses the inherent flaws or success in this regard.
Further, regarding cultural aspects, Biblical Christians are much comprehensive and wise on a fundamental basis instead of postmodernism. Postmodernism challenges, questions, and objects to all the cultural existences but cannot answer the questions as Christian theism does. It solely relates to opinion builder while Christina theism withstands all the challenges and provides possible solutions to prevailing cultural issues in societal units.
Moreover, Christian theism provides a strict code of conduct to resolve the daily societal disturbances in a better way. It provides a comprehensive legal framework for humankind to leas their lives in a better and progressed way. However, postmodernism only discusses the problems and issues and is unable to provide a possible legal solution. It fails to devise any legal system and code to assist human life in the way of prosperity.
Similarly, Christian theism provides a basic framework to solve the governing issues reaming within given paradigms regarding political views and aspects. The basic concept of the Christian worldview is the involvement of God in a natural order and with His creation. His relation with humankind is tremendous, leading and guiding humans to resolve their issues. At the same time, postmodernism believes in many approaches and situations considered as political ones. These approaches can provide a theoretical basis but cannot provide a practical basis to work in a political paradigm.
In addition, Christian theism addresses the economic needs and issues of humankind and also proposes a systematic flow of wealth in the society. It protects whole society as one unit on economic basis with giving individuals the very right of possession. In contrast, postmodernism believes in supremacy of economic values in the society instead of moral values. Additionally, it does not provide a perfect economic system to laid down the foundations of welfare society as a whole.
Moreover, postmodernism is in doubt about the truth and reality of historical events and past happenings. It is impossible to estimate the exact happenings in the past with their objective sense. So, postmodernism does not adorn the historical basis in its real essence and questions about the reality of history. However, Christian theism relates all the past events with truth and reality. In this context, the absolute truth and perfection related to God and its message helped humanity know precisely about the past of humankind and this universe.
More Compelling Worldview:
According to my understanding and opinion, Christian theism is more compelling to me. I have a solid reason for that aspect. Since various concepts and worldviews have originated worldwide, these worldviews have lost their sanctity and reality over time. Every proceeding era has its new worldview neglecting the old one. In this context, no worldview is constant and eternal, which are developed by humankind. The only worldview given by God is perfect and truth-based. The message by God is complete and perfect in its real essence without any doubt. So for me, the more compelling and appreciable is the worldview based on the revelation.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that multiple worldviews exist that are comparable to each other. Both Christian theism and postmodernism are much distinct, with a light beam of similarities. Postmodernism is a reactive approach to modernism that failed to resolve human issues. Christian theism relates to the message of God through the revelation process. Postmodernism relates to continuous change, while Christian theisms claim absolute perfection and the truth of God. However, regarding multiple ways and disciplines, both worldviews have huge differences and little similarities regarding approaches, methods, or procedures. If we observe the ultimate goal of these worldviews, it is to establish peace and harmony among human beings in this world. For that reason, Christian theism is better between the two as it provides the practical basis of societal growth and progress. Christian theism can establish a peaceful world by practicing its moral and legal framework for prevailing peace, prosperity, and justice in human society.
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Oyemomi, Emmanuel, (2015), GOD, THE CREATED WORLD AND THE EFFECTS OF POSTMODERNISM, Ogbomoso Journal of Theology Vol. XX (3) 2015.
Vidal, C. (2008). What is a worldview?. In De wetenschappen en het creatieve aspect van de werkelijkheid.
Bible, H. New International Version (NIV).(1973), John 4:16. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.
Bible, H. New International Version (NIV).(1973), John 16:13. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.