Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pretending To Leave Modernity Behind

Blog and Mablog of Douglas Wilson
Just finished Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? by James K.A. Smith. In some ways this was a very helpful book, but at the center, the place where the door moves on the hinge, this door squeaks in as annoying and exasperating a way as all the others...

Who makes the laws? All law is imposed morality. Which morality is it? What standards are being reflected in the laws, and in the necessary violence imposed in the name of those laws? We are told ad nauseam that we have now been ushered into the postmodern era. Really? So, what is the standard of law? These laws impose on people, and for creatures, this is the standard of certainty -- not the amount of bombast a person might generate in a seminar room somewhere.

On the basis of our laws, we execute. We incarcerate. We fine. We seize property. We go to war. We decide to drop bombs or not. In the current set up, modernity makes all our laws, and so-called postmodern Christians have not really challenged modernity at all until they have challenged this. But to challenge the existing laws requires that you have an alternative, and if that alternative is not biblical, why do it? But if it is biblical, then you are some kind of theonomist, and an advocate of Christendom. This is why Leithart's assessment of this is a bull's eye. Those who want postmodernity in their discussion groups are just fooling around.

The Christian faith is a public faith. The Christian faith requires that all men everywhere abandon their idols in repentance and faith. The Christian faith requires Christendom. The Christian faith makes universal and binding claims. The Christian faith is genuinely robust. But the Christian faith has its modernist and hyper-modernist knock-offs, sects that believe their responsibility is to function within the structures (and strictures) created for them by modernity. And from this compromising accommodation with modernity, Smith (and the others like him) have not budged an inch.
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