Thursday, March 15, 2007

Contending for the Truth - Pt 1 - Ravi

This is my first attempt at live-blogging an event. I know everyone can't attend and they might like to hear (or read) what is being said.
Dr. Ravi is going to start first in the pre-conference.
Contending for the Truth
Postmodernism and Philosophy

Right after lunch: G K Chesterton said, "Everyone's worldview changes about 30 minutes after lunch."
Postmodernism - don't know where we are and don't know who we are - and we are trying to pontificate the depth of it all. How are we going to define humanism if we don't even know who we are.
Do words have meaning? Do morals have any meaning? Until we want to flirt with the edges of absolutes - there aren't meanings to anything - but then we can take it as far as we want. Where is the line of absolutes. Many different worldviews have come and gone over the centuries. Postmodernism throws off all of these previous worldviews. The "I" is at the center of post-modernism.
Postmodernism was really born in Gen 3. "Did God really say...?" Can you be certain? We don't need to wait until the late 20th century - when we have it in the Garden of Eden. In spite of what God says - Eve chose to play God and attempt to redefine good and evil. This is where it started. Now, it has just gained vogue and popularity. Comes down to a problem of humility. The gospel demands humility.
Tenants of Postmodernism:
1. They do not believe there is no point of reference for words - shifting ground in propositional truth. We manufacture words and meaning by how we use it. But, they use tons of words saying their philosophy is stable.
Based on an epistemology that holds to a limitless instability of words, in language. Rhetoric radically suspends logic and opens up possibilities of referendum.
God in Us - (Freeman) Is 44.14-17
The case of the pagan whom Isaiah is harpooning:
14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
2. There are no laws of logic that are undeniable. (identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle, rational inference - 4 fundamental laws that are in our discourse). But, postmodernists want to debunk these laws and say they don't work. Does rationality work in our society now? When we get beat at our own game - then we change the laws and the rules on which the game is played. This is what happens on our college campuses today. I saw it at UNC and Duke. But, we also see it outside the college campus. We see it in our families and our churches.
We cannot live in a world where there are no absolutes or logic - otherwise it is complete chaos. But, who is the one in charge of making the absolutes? It isn't even the same for Christians. Some believe the Bible (God's written Word), some don't. Some Christians even put themselves at the center. We are not the center of our own universe. We were created in the image of Someone - we bear the imago dei. He is the center. Then, how do our lives reflect it?
Be the Centre - by Michael Frye:
Jesus, be the center, be my source, be my light, Jesus. be my hope, be my song, be my vision, be my path, be my guide, Jesus (not I)
There doesn't seem to be any rational in the theory...
3. There are no boundaries for meaning. It is sad to think of the tragedy of lives of those who have lived this out. Where is their meta-narrative? They write out their own story by denying an overarching story. Where is there meaning in this? Speaking of genealogy - that is what I said in a scholarship - we find meaning in where we came from - but what about postmodernists...Beth Moore writes about generational sins - how would postmodernists think on this idea from BM? Genius gone wrong.

"Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word, tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard." Don't let the geniuses control our world - we need to know what we are talking about, know the gospel, know how to engage the culture in which we live. Why does the world get all the geniuses - take back the academic world for Christ!

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