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Reflect 014
 
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Post-modernist thought – an alternate view

01 April 2014, 14:44

A lot of phrases used to discredit Christians and Christianity fall into the you’re so old fashioned category, or criticisms of bronze- aged myths and illiterate goat herders as well as others of a similar nature.  

Can an argument be won or lost on a time or age-based premise, and is it valid?   

Are ideas wrong simply because they’re old? They are according to today’s new cultural religion, -progressive paganism.

 In Peter Kreeft’s book, Between Heaven and Hell, there is a fictional dialogue between C.S. Lewis, a Christian, John F. Kennedy, a modern humanist, and Aldous Huxley, an eastern pantheist.  Interestingly, all three men died on 22 November 1963.  

The three men meet up realising they’ve died and begin to debate what will happen next.

In this particular passage, Lewis and Kennedy talk about whether some of Kennedy’s ideas should be called heretical.

Kennedy says, I wish we could avoid the label of heresy, it’s ……so outdated. So unenlightened. So medieval. So primitive.  

Lewis responds, Do you tell the time with an argument? When you want to know the time, what do you look at? An argument or a clock?

Kennedy responds, a clock of course.

Lewis, and what do you use an argument for, if not to tell time?

Kennedy, to prove something of course, or to try to.

Lewis, so you tell time by the clock and truth by an argument? Not vice versa, but you were trying to tell truth by the clock a minute ago. When I want to disprove an idea, I try to prove that it’s false.

Your argument against my idea that your belief was a heresy was simply that my idea was old.

Outdated, I believe you said. Medieval and primitive were two more of your terms. Those are all clock words, or calendar words. (Calendars are only big, long clocks, after all).

So what term can be used to describe the attempt to discredit or disprove an idea by dating it, chronological snobbery? The post- modernist assumption is that everything new is progressive and enlightened while everything old and traditional is bad.   

 The adage, ‘The new monkeys are always smarter’ owes its origins to the theory of evolutionary theory.   Briefly this holds to the theory that organisms are improving, or becoming smarter and stronger through the process of natural selection. The weaker members die out, and those naturally selected because of their stronger characteristics, live to pass on their genes to future generations.

By this mode of thought, the new generation is always superior to the older one.  

Another facet of evolutionary theory, popularised in the beginning of the twentieth century, is that the human race is constantly bettering itself, by advancing to higher levels, both mentally and physically. New ideas and ways of living are the next stages in our evolutionary development.

Old beliefs are part of an inferior age that is being replaced by the evolutionary progress of humanity. Apparently, holding onto old beliefs like Christianity, only hinders our progress in achieving a greater human race and society. Of course the irony was that this envisioned utopian ideal was dispelled by two world wars and countless bloody revolutions after the turn of the last century.

However, we continue to hope against hope despite evidence to the contrary. The likelihood of a converse reality as opposed to the utopian ideal is never considered.  

Karl Marx believed there was a force throughout history that causes societies to involve into the perfect state, this being attainable by numerous revolutions, the theory called dialectic materialism,

Each new revolution brings the ideal state closer. So the goal of destroying the old was that something new would emerge, as witnessed by Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

 In conclusion, those who adhere to these new philosophies and values are the so-called old-fashioned ones.  An old fourth century B.C. Greek philosophy called Epicurianism, with the basic beliefs being summarised as running from pain and living for pleasure was challenged by St Paul in a confrontation at Mars Hill. These modern age philosophies, amongst which New Ageism can be counted amongst, signals the return into Paganism and the Dark Ages.            

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