Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Postmodern President

Politics has always been the realm of hyperbole and the distortion of truth, but I can't remember a politician who is as disingenuous as Barak Obama. I have wondered for some time if he should not be considered the first postmodern president. In 2008 he tapped into the felt need of many Americans for a leader who transcends politics and who will take a pragmatic and long range approach to solving the complex problems we faced as a nation. Now, in 2012, we see that it was all just a cover for his own deeply progressive ideology. His words did not mean what we thought they did, and he was very intentional in the choice of those words. I do not say this out of partisanship, but out of a concern for truth and the negative effects of the extreme relativism at the fouindation of postmodernism. The problem, in fact, is not President Obama, it is the forces that have shaped him.

Our universities, including graduate programs and law schools, are dominated by postmodern thought. As an example, I would point out Sonya Sotamayor's comment about a "wise latina" compared to an older white male. And President Obama is a product of these institutions, being engaged in the Harvard Law Review and lecturing at the University of Chicago Law School. The irony is that for all its emphasis on tolerance and diversity, postmodernism divides the world by ethnicity, gender, class, and culture. But its worst influence lies in its view of words and ideas. In the postmodern view, words and ideas have been used to justify the oppression of women and minorities, thus turning the tables and using words for the sake of these select groups is perfectly reasonable. In postmodernism, the battle of ideas becomes all out war, and in war the end justifies the means.

This cynical view of "truth," while it may provide a form of success in the short term, in the end is exposed by the harsh light of reality. To claim that something is true does not guarantee that it is actually true. Postmodernism because of its extreme relativism doesn't even believe in truth, it only believes in words. In that light, it is very important for us to look at what the Bible means by the word. I have taught for years a principle I learned from Watchman Nee and from my own life experience. The principle is, "For every doctrine (teaching) of the Bible, there is a reality. God is not as concerned for us to know the doctrine as He is for us to enter into the reality which the doctrine represents." It is not enough for us to know about salvation, or even to know the steps to take, we must enter in, by faith, and experience the reality of salvation.

When John wrote, "In the Beginning was the Word..." He was referring to the widely held belief of his day, that the universe was the product of the vast eternal wisdom of the logos. Men have always recognized that must be some great ordering principle and, indeed, intlligence behind the order and structure of the universe. Before we ever knew of genetics and DNA, men understood that the development of a beautiful flower from a tiny dark seed required a profound design and design required intelligence. They called this design and designer the logos.or the wisdom that produced the world (both material and immaterial). The apparent condition of the world is that it is built upon objective truth and that objective truth governs all aspects of life, including human behavior and society. To deny this obvious fact is to live in delusion or, to put it in contemporary terms, "denial." The postmodern attempt to make reality whatever we want it to be, is the ultimate fools errand. It is the act of creating a fantasy that will eventually come crashing down.

My point is that, in this election season, we must be looking for leaders who will not only tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. Politics today is such that honesty and difficult choices get punished, thus the common understanding that Social Security is the "third rail" of public policy, touching it guarantees unelection. We must get beyond this kind of selfish, "what's-in-it-for-me" approach to whom we elect. We live in a time when truth is under attack, and yet I have never seen a time when we need to face the truth of our situation more than today. Therefore, we must be people of truth, confident of our Lord's promise, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

No comments: