Cross Points 6.12.22

Key Worldviews

While living in Moberly, MO for 20 years, a close friend was Richard Koffarnus, Professor of History and Theology at Central Christian College of the Bible.  He also taught their philosophy classes.  Mr. K (the students name for him) recently had an article in the Restoration Herold Magazine that I’ll try to glean from and summarize here.

When we talk about Worldviews, it may seem a boring subject, but in fact it is intriguing and so important to understand the filters people use to view things in the world.  You have a worldview (maybe a hybrid of more than one) whether you recognize it or not.  The three views Professor Koffarnus covers in his May 2022 article are: premodernism, modernism, and postmodernism.  Understanding these worldviews explains a lot.

Premodernism.  This refers to the traditional view that the world originates from a divine source and that people will eventually return to that source.  A biblical worldview fits within this, although it is not the only religious viewpoint that can be premodern.  Don’t be fooled, premodern does not imply that this view is primitive, unscientific, or illogical.  It is simply the older view and retains belief in God and his role in creation. 
Modernism.  Also called Naturalism or Secular Humanism, this refers to a view saying all that exists is matter.  There is no spiritual element.  The universe and all that’s in it, including all life, are products of time, chance, and matter.  The modernist says logic and science are the best way to understand reality, removing God and related religion as factors.  A hard worldview to impact, but open to logic and scientific evidence.  Christianity has plenty. 
Postmodernism.  This view began as a French movement that rejected realism and formalism of modern art and architecture.  But philosophers took it further (Lyotard, Foucault, Derrida).  They realized that Marxism was not going to deliver the worker’s paradise in Europe that it promised, by redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor (something we see as a focus in the US today).  Instead of redistributing wealth, their new goal became redistributing power from the dominant group (white males) to other groups (people of color and women).  A way to do that is by destroying the values and structures of Christianity, the nuclear family, and science (something else we see in the US today).  An extremely hard worldview to impact, for above reasons. And consider the following.

First, Koffarnus uses a parable called “The Umpires” to illustrate.  There are three umpires hanging out after a baseball game.  The premodern umpire says, “There are balls and there are strikes, and I call them what they are.”  The modern umpire says, “There are balls and there are strikes, and I call them as I see them.”  The postmodern umpire says, “There are balls and there are strikes, and they are nothing until I call them.”  In the premodern case, we simply seek to understand God’s world.  In the modern case, they try to understand the world through defined methods, without God.  In the postmodern case, they make it up as they go with only their own rules allowed.

Postmodernism sees only two groups of people: the oppressors and the oppressed.  Their solution for the evils of a society (as they view them) is to take power from oppressors and give it to the oppressed. This plays into the whole Critical Race Theory we’ve seen in the news.  Language usage is key to this worldview also.  The premodern (and modern) person believes we can seek meaning from a book, the Bible for example, based on its context.   The postmodern person says we can never know what the author of any book means, even the author can’t define his word’s purpose, rather, each person brings their own meaning to the text, and every text has an infinite number of equally valid meanings.  The postmodern person uses language as a tool to gain power for those they consider oppressed.  For example, anyone who opposes the campaign to normalize LGBTQ behavior is labeled “homophobic.”  No strict definition of the word is allowed, it means what they want it to mean.  The result?  You can no longer have a critical discussion of the topic with them because what you say doesn’t matter.
Can you begin to see the problems the postmodern worldview presents?  All we can do is keep preaching and teaching the gospel, praying God’s Spirit will convict their heart.  Made harder because of their worldview.
Posted in
Tagged with