A generation who screams out about LOVE and ACCEPTANCE, is the most unforgiving, judgmental, self serving, unaccepting, hate-filled bunch of whiney babies imaginable.
Have We Lost Our Moral Compass?
Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist, would ask younger people if they would save their dog or a stranger first if both were drowning. The majority always voted against the stranger — because, they explained, they loved their dog and they didn’t love the stranger.
How would you answer that question?
Who would you save first?
I want to highlight a paragraph from an article by Dennis Prager from the National Review Online, ‘Why Young Americans Can’t Think Morally’
With the death of Judeo-Christian God-based standards, people have simply substituted feelings for those standards. Millions of American young people have been raised by parents and schools with “How do you feel about it?” as the only guide to what they ought to do. The heart has replaced God and the Bible as a moral guide. And now, as Brooks [op-ed columnist of the New York Times] points out, we see the results. A vast number of American young people do not even ask whether an action is right or wrong. The question would strike them as foreign. Why? Because the question suggests that there is a right and wrong outside of themselves. And just as there is no God higher than them, there is no morality higher than them, either.
What is happening here?
I was listening to the song by Casting Crowns ‘While You Were Sleeping’, which is one of my favs. Overall this is a powerful song, but wanted to dial into a specific verse in its lyrics that goes like this, “As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies / That save the trees and kill the children”
Look folks, Jesus did not die on the cross for our pets, or to save the trees or [fill in the blank]! He came to save you, me…people! Why? Because in God’s eyes we have immeasurable worth!
Our society’s view of right and wrong is not based on something absolute anymore. Rather, it is pinned to the shifting sands of cultural opinion setting itself up as it’s own god, determining what is right and wrong.
Our kids have been dropped into an atmosphere of extreme moral individualism, of relativism and nonjudgmentalism. Today’s post modernistic culture appears to be void of any moral compass. Today, most simply follow their feelings.
Without God and Judeo-Christian religions, what else is there?
So what is it for you, moral standards or feelings?
Why the Age of Rage
Has the World Gone Mad?
The endless cycle of meltdowns, outbursts and violence is growing worse. What is behind the rage?
Scott Olson/Getty Images
In the San Francisco Bay Area, a 51-year-old father of eight works two jobs to care for his family. Due to an irregular work schedule, and a stressful commute from his Antioch home, he sleeps in his car between shifts, home only on weekends. The pressures of being away from his family, marital troubles, and working two jobs to make ends meet leads to an emotional meltdown. Driving his SUV across the Bay Bridge, he calls 911 on his cellphone and threatens to commit suicide with a pipe bomb—a threat that shuts down traffic and holds the bridge hostage for hours.
Across the water in East Oakland, two groups of costumed women on Halloween night hurl insults at each other, followed by chairs and dishes, trashing a Denny’s restaurant in the process.
Elsewhere, a jealousy-enraged Florida mother of three burns her husband’s boat, go-kart and Jacuzzi over an argument about a popular actress. The wife also punches her husband and threatens to put his dog “to sleep.”
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In New Hampshire, a 17-year-old girl seeks to get even with her mother for an unresolved argument they had two days earlier. She poisons her mother’s drink with a household disinfectant.
A 52-year-old Delaware man ends his online relationship with a 33-year-old North Carolina woman he met in “Second Life,” a popular Internet-based virtual reality game. Distraught, the woman drives to the man’s workplace in Pennsylvania and attempts to kidnap him at gunpoint. Having failed, she breaks into his home two weeks later, bringing with her handcuffs, duct tape, a Taser and a BB gun.
On I-95 in Virginia, a Toyota cuts off a Lexus, whose driver reacts by tailgating. The Toyota’s driver responds by tapping his brakes. The driver of the Lexus pulls up and throws a small container of yogurt at the Toyota, the driver of which flashes a small handgun. Each calls law enforcement authorities on his cellphone and reports the other. A state trooper arrests both drivers.
Welcome to the age of rage, in which seemingly normal, everyday people emotionally “flip out,” “go wild” and do the unthinkable, only to quickly regret their words and actions—sometimes after a life has been taken.
What is behind such rash behavior and thirst for quick revenge?Evert Elzinga/AFP/Getty Images
Seeking a Solution
Human behavior experts struggle to offer concise explanations for today’s rage. Some define the problem as IED: “intermittent explosive disorder.”
According to Psychology Today, IED may result from losing one’s job, being suspended from school, “divorce, difficulties with interpersonal relationships or other impairment in social or occupational areas, accidents (such as in vehicles), hospitalization because of injuries from fights or accidents, financial problems, incarcerations or other legal problems.”
In other words, some people are unable to cope with the stresses, pressures, trials and setbacks of everyday life, which in turn triggers the kind of sudden outbursts and violent actions associated with IED.
What was once recognized as a lack of emotional maturity is now considered a disorder—a medical problem.
Scientists assert that one’s biological makeup, possibly a genetic disposition, as well as being reared in an environment in which explosive behavior and physical abuse were common, contribute to IED. Psychologists originally concluded the disorder was rare, but now believe it could be more widespread.
Relying on scientific reasoning, authorities offer sometimes unrealistic advice: Don’t drive when upset, tired or angry. Avoid all conflict, if possible. Recognize and control your anger, and pay attention to your emotional level.
Experts recommend drugs to help control IED, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, anti-anxiety agents and mood regulators. But this means dealing with the often hazardous side effects, including dependency.
People wracked by emotional troubles often try self-help books, 12-step support groups, or psychiatry. They find solace knowing that others are going through what they are, attempt to embrace the power of positive thinking, or try to sort out their feelings by verbalizing them.
Others turn to religion, seeking the advice of ministers. While counsel from these religious leaders often comes in the form of Bible passages intended to be inspirational, in the end, they also largely tell churchgoers to seek medical advice to solve their problems.
What most miss when they pick up the Bible is that it thoroughly explores the human condition, and provides instruction and real answers. It offers in-depth insight into why people think, communicate and behave the way they do—and why they increasingly commit bizarre actions in the heat of the moment.
Most assume the Bible’s text is antiquated and unable to offer relevant solutions to the high-pressure, never-ending, 21st-century rat race. Yet the insightful wisdom contained in this undervalued, much-neglected and widely misinterpreted book is of supreme value.
Foretold Long Ago
Knowing the character of society would worsen with each passing generation, God foretold in the book of II Timothy what conditions would be like in the last days—what could also be called the age of rage: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (3:1-5).
A close examination of these verses reveals that perilous times are here now!
•Perilous: The above passage was originally recorded in ancient Greek. To describe today’s “perilous times,” the word chalepos was used, which means “troublesome, dangerous, harsh, fierce, savage.”
How true of modern society!
Examples of savage acts of rage regularly make news headlines. In Cleveland, Ohio, a 25-year-old college student argued with a 27-year-old parking lot attendant, who charged double the posted $10 price for parking. The heated argument turned violent, with the attendant holding the other in a headlock, then letting go and telling him to leave. Embarrassed for being humiliated in front of his date, the student opened his car trunk, grabbed his .40-caliber pistol and shot the attendant three times—twice in the stomach and once behind his ear as he lay on the ground bleeding. Found guilty of murder, the college student was sentenced to 18 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
•Lovers of their own selves: In other words, selfishness to the extreme. The “Me Generation,” in which each person always demands his own way—no matter the cost. The 21st-century is an age of “Me-isms”—me first, what about me—perhaps best summed up by the 1969-70 pop song “I, Me, Mine.”
This is the attitude behind an online feud between childhood friends that may have ended with the world’s first Twitter murder. According to prosecutors, the two men, who lived on the same floor of a high-rise apartment building in Harlem, New York, exchanged angry comments through microblog postings—tweets—arguing over a girl. One man died after being shot in the neck as he left his home. The murder weapon, along with a spent shell, was found in Central Park.
•Incontinent: The original Greek word means “without self-control, intemperate” and describes an age in which people “fly off the handle” and give themselves to emotional meltdowns they soon regret. In turn, they feel they have to get even by any means necessary.
Consider the example of the 16-year-old Iowa girl who burned down her family’s home, killing two dogs and a cat, because she disagreed with her mother’s punishment of taking away her cellphone and Internet privileges. The teen could receive a 25-year prison sentence if found guilty.
•Fierce: The meaning of this is “savage, untamed, wild.” Certainly this describes those who suddenly “go wild,” as when an intoxicated 60-year-old West Virginia man became upset with his wife because she did not have dinner ready. After throwing furniture, and breaking glass in cabinets, he burned down his home.
•Heady: “Rash, reckless, headstrong”—the Greek literally means “to fall forward.” Society is full of those who are quick to “fall forward”—to act first and think of consequences later (if at all). These reckless acts can happen anywhere, and over the tiniest inconveniences.
For example, when a clerk would not sell him beer, a 22-year-old man in California rammed his car into a gas pump, exploding all eight pump machines and destroying the gas station attached to the convenience store.
•Highminded: The Greek word used here is typhoo, related to typhoon, and it can be defined, “To be puffed up with haughtiness or pride; to blind with pride or conceit, to render foolish or stupid.” Such people, in effect, come off as disastrous storms, which endanger the peace, security and lives of others.
Responding to a party announced on Twitter by a 15-year-old girl, a mob of 150 drunken teenagers trashed her grandparents’ home, ripping off the patio doors, destroying paintings, smashing televisions and windows, stealing bottles of champagne and ornaments, and leaving empty beer bottles strewn across the lawn. Incredible!
Now let’s examine what has led to such perilous acts in this age of rage that the Bible defines as the “last days.”
Man, in his folly, believes that he can discover all he needs to know through his five senses. He uses the scientific method to explain the world around him. If it cannot be detected through sight, sound, taste, smell or touch, then it cannot exist, the thinking goes.
This thinking drove the course of civilization. While there have always been advancements in technology, medicine and engineering—leading to the stunning achievements of today—man has never been able to solve his worst problems: disease, crime, poverty, starvation, violence, perversity and war. What is behind this paradox of incredible advancement and tremendous failure?
Again, the answer is found in the pages of the Bible: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience…” (Eph. 2:2).
What man has missed is that these problems are spiritual—meaning they cannot be solved through physical solutions—and are caused by the “prince of the power of the air.”
This being—Satan—is man’s source of carnal lusts and desires. The Bible describes him as the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). Like a powerful satellite orbiting Earth and transmitting signals to radios, televisions and cellphones around the globe, this being broadcasts attitudes, thoughts, ideas and sensuous urgings that appeal to the flesh.
His name literally means “adversary,” and he is the master deceiver, who “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). He is also called Apollyon, which means “destroyer.”
Satan is the grand architect of this age of rage, who maintains his existence as the unsuspected god of this world.
How effective is he at his craft? Of the world’s nearly 7 billion people, vast numbers do not even believe he exists, while others think he is behind every little thing that goes wrong, such as when a mop mysteriously falls in a closet. Both views are wrong and play right into the devil’s hands. He wants people to ridicule his existence, or reduce him to the laughable image of a man with horns, a pitchfork and a red suit.
Satan was once Lucifer, which means “light-bearer, shining one and morning star.” Scripture reveals that Lucifer was the most perfect being God could ever instantaneously create. From the moment God brought him into existence, Lucifer had it all: wisdom, beauty, talent, and riches, along with power and top position at the headquarters of God’s government (Ezek. 28:12-14). God declared that this great archangel was “perfect” from the very day he was created (vs. 15).
That is, until “iniquity was found” in him (same verse). What is meant by “iniquity,” which in Hebrew means unrighteousness, wickedness or violent deeds of injustice? The answer is found in verse 17: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness.” In other words, Lucifer was lifted up with pride and vanity.
This powerful archangel was handed everything on a silver platter, and did not earn anything by his own efforts. In his twisted thinking, he deceived himself into believing that he deserved his talents, abilities and position. Rather than fearing—reverencing—his Creator who had empowered him, Lucifer was swayed by pride and thought he deserved all his gifts—and much more.
Lucifer lusted for additional power, a higher position. He became jealous of God, and even conspired to replace Him (Isa. 14:13-14).
The archangel who already had everything was greedy for more. He duped one-third of God’s angels—millions and millions—into believing that he was right and their Creator was wrong. They followed his lead and attempted a cosmic coup d’etat. It failed miserably.
Lucifer became Satan, and the rebellious angels became demons—all enemies of God.
For the past 6,000 years, Satan and his demons have affected the course of human history, with the former Lucifer broadcasting the four major traits of his nature into the carnal mind: vanity, jealousy, lust and greed. These four contribute to creating and enabling today’s age of rage. (You can learn much more on this subject by reading our booklets Who Is the Devil? and A World in Captivity.)
Yet there is still another contributor to these perilous times, which the author of the age of rage uses quite effectively.
Thousands of differing and competing denominations and movements, professing to follow Christ, litter the religious landscape—and all claim to be His Church. Close examination of their beliefs and traditions, when compared to the Bible, can easily prove that these churches collectively represent false Christianity. And it is false Christianity that contributes to creating and enabling the age of rage by not teaching the truth about the missing component man needs to make him spiritually complete: the Holy Spirit.
When a human being receives this Spirit, his mind is spiritually begotten with the mind of God. It enables him to comprehend spiritual concepts that even the most learned of minds cannot grasp: “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but [by] the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11).
How different are humanity’s ways and thoughts from the Creator’s? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My [God’s] ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).
With the Holy Spirit, man can defeat the carnal broadcasts of “the prince of the power of the air,” the pulls of the flesh and the influential sways of this world. In doing so, the spirit-begotten Christian builds holy, righteous, godly character—which is necessary to receive eternal life.
Character is the ability to know right from wrong, to reject the wrong despite pressure to bend and compromise, and deliberately choose the right. It takes a lifetime of overcoming trials, tests and setbacks to build character.
False Christianity teaches none of this—and that is the way Satan wants it.
While this world’s “experts” of human behavior offer “common sense” advice to dealing with the age of rage, the Bible—God’s instruction manual to mankind—offers thorough spiritual instruction.
Psychiatrists and behavioral scientists recommend that people should recognize and control their anger, and that drivers should pay attention to their emotional levels. But the Bible instructs people to go further, and thoroughly and routinely examine themselves. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). God’s Word, the Bible, is truth (John 17:17); it expresses and reveals the mind of God, which no man can discover on his own.
Those who strive to live God’s Way must compare themselves to God and see how and in what areas they fall short, and work to improve. With the Holy Spirit working through them, human beings can produce the fruits of love (genuine, outgoing concern for others), peace, longsuffering and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Romans 12 presents wisdom that surpasses any advice this world’s experts could offer: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another…Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not…Recompense [repay] to no man evil for evil…avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore, if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (vs. 10, 14, 17, 19-21).
With the Spirit of God working in and through them, converted human beings can conquer carnal nature and employ these verses.
Whenever the stresses of life start to build, people should examine themselves for pride, jealousy, greed and lust—characteristics of human nature that lead people to emotionally melt down and commit vile acts. They should remember “the carnal mind is enmity [naturally hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7), which can often lead it to succumb to vanity, jealousy, lust and greed—and cause people to bend to the pressures of the age of rage.
You now know why the age of rage exists. The perilous times foretold in the Bible’s pages are already here, and will continue to worsen. But those who yield themselves to the true God will survive—and thrive!
Has the world lost its mind?
I READ THE NEWS morning, noon, and night.
I hold my breath each time I open up a news app on my phone.
I’m afraid of what I’m going to read.
I keep hoping for someone to take a stand for integrity, human decency, and justice. I’m almost always disappointed.
Much of everything feels on edge, teetering and tottering at a tipping point.
Some Christians say we need strong leaders willing to shake things up with coarse words, fearsome behavior, and common-sense gut reactions. And they say they’re happy with the direction we’re headed.
Others would suggest looking up the word “sociopath” on the Mayo Clinic website and reading the article it produces: “Antisocial personality disorder.” And they’d say we’re headed to hell in a golf cart.
It’s tough to know what to do as a Christian.
This is serious, potentially end-of-the-world business and Christians need to talk about their differences. But for the most part, they can’t hear each other. And even if they could, “compromise” might as well be the f word.
Christians at odds AD
Christians were this divided in New Testament times. In Paul’s day, some Christians said all believers needed to become Jews first. The believers would become known as Christian Jews, just as some were Pharisee Jews, Sadducee Jews, and Essene Jews.
Paul said the heck with that. He said this to Jewish Christians who wanted to force non-Jews into the Jewish religion and into obeying all the laws including circumcision:
“I wish those circumcision lovers messing with you would just go ahead and cut their whole thing off” (Galatians 5:12).
That sounds like an argument in favor of coarse talk from the big mouth of a strongman. I think of it as Paul before the invention of coffee.
Christians tried to resolve the conflict with a church council meeting—the first on record. It took place in Jerusalem. Church leader James sided with Paul and Peter, agreeing to let Gentiles be Gentiles, but be Christians as well (Acts 6).
The meeting didn’t solve anything, other than giving Paul a license to preach. Tradition-minded Jewish Christians harassed progressive-minded Paul throughout his ministry, regardless of what James had ordered.
In that case, the progressives eventually won. Christianity never became a branch of the Jewish movement. That tradition-minded movement died out, with many of the Jewish Christians returning to their Jewish roots and synagogues.
What’s the fix for Christians?
I wonder what that means to Christians divided today. Should we call a council meeting to work up a compromise? Pardon my French.
I’d say it couldn’t hurt, but I imagine it could.
Get that many Christian leaders in one room talking about a topic like this and it’s unlikely someone’s going to bust out singing “Hallelujah.” But they’d bust something.
Here’s the good news.
There’s a hero out there. A savior of sorts. Maybe someone inspired by the Savior himself.
If we don’t blow ourselves up first, or pollute ourselves to death, or scorch the land useless, someone is going to say there’s insanity afoot. And enough people will listen to make a difference.
I believe this because:
- Kindness is stronger than meanness.
- Love is more enduring than hatred.
- Compassion puts greed to shame.
Until the hero comes, perhaps a wise judge like Deborah or a gentle king like Hezekiah—no, not a king—perhaps nervous souls could consider the possibility that God made the tongue for nothing better than to speak the truth in love.
And it probably doesn’t hurt to vote in every doggone caucus, primary, and election we get a chance.
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For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12
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Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” Ephesians 1:7 God bless you and your families. Know Jesus! Repent of your sins. Let the Potter mold his clay into something wonderful!
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The Left’s Moral Compass Isn’t Broken
All of my life, I have said that the left’s moral compass is broken. And all of my life, I was wrong.
Why I was wrong explains both the left and the moral crisis we are in better than almost any other explanation.
I was wrong because in order to have a broken moral compass, you need to have a moral compass to begin with. But the left doesn’t have one.
This is not meant as an attack. It is a description of reality. The left regularly acknowledges that it doesn’t think in terms of good and evil. Most of us are so used to thinking in those terms—what we call “Judeo-Christian”—that it is very difficult for us to divide the world in any other way.
But since Karl Marx, the left (not liberalism; the two are different) has always divided the world, and, therefore, human actions, in ways other than good and evil. The left, in Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous words, has always operated “beyond good and evil.”
It all began with Marx, who divided the world by economic class—worker and owner or exploited and exploiter. To Marx and to Marxism, there is no such thing as a good or an evil that transcends class. Good is defined as what is good for the working class; evil is what is bad for the working class.
Therefore, to Marxists, there is no such thing as a universal good or a universal evil. Those of us still in thrall to Judeo-Christian morality believe that good and evil are universal.
In other words, whether an act is good or evil has nothing to do with who committed the act—rich or poor, male or female, religious or secular, member of one’s nation or of another nation. Stealing and murder are morally wrong, no matter who stole or who murdered.
That is not the case for Marx and the left. In Marx’s words in “Capital” (“Das Kapital”):
Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and the cultural development thereby determined. We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an eternal, ultimate, and forever immutable moral law.
Fifty-three years later, Marx’s foremost disciple, Vladimir Lenin, architect of the Russian Revolution, proclaimed:
We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. … We do not believe in an eternal morality. … We repudiate all morality derived from non-human (i.e., God) and non-class concepts.
[Address to the Third Congress of the Russian Young Communist League, Oct. 2, 1920.]
As professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith, director of Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions, wrote in 1957:
For Marxism there is no reason (literally no reason: our universe, the movement posits, is the kind of universe where there cannot conceivably be any reason) for not killing or torturing or exploiting a human person if his liquidation or torture or slave labor will advance the historical process.
This is how Marx’s ideological heirs, today’s leftists, view the world—with one important difference: Morality is not determined only by class, but by race, power, and sex as well.
It is left-wing dogma that a black person cannot be a racist. Only whites can be racist. And, indeed, all whites are racist.
It is increasingly a left-wing position that when blacks loot, they are only taking what they deserve, or, as the looters often put it, looted goods are “reparations.” A Black Lives Matter organizer in Chicago, Ariel Atkins, recently put it this way:
I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store because that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes. That is reparations. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.
[Chicago Tribune, Aug. 17, 2020.]
Another non-moral left-wing compass concerns power. Just as right and wrong are determined by class (worker and owner/rich and poor) and race (white and people of color), good and evil are also determined by power (the strong and the weak).
That explains much of the left’s hatred for two countries in particular—America and Israel. America is wrong when it does almost anything in the world that involves weaker countries—assassinates the most important Iranian terrorist, builds a wall between itself and Mexico, opposes unlimited immigration. It is wrong because it is much stronger than those other countries.
The left’s antipathy to Israel derives from both the power compass and the race compass. Because Israel is so much stronger than the Palestinians and because Israelis are classified as white (despite the fact that more than half of all Israelis are not white), the left deems Israel wrong.
So, when Israel justifiably attacks Gaza for raining rockets over Israel, the world’s left vehemently attacks Israel—because it is so much stronger than the people of Gaza and because whites have attacked people of color.
When a woman accuses a man of sexually harassing or raping her, the left’s reaction is not, “Let us try to determine the truth as best we can.” It is, “Believe women.” One must automatically “believe women” because, on the left, it is not only morality that doesn’t transcend race, power, class or sex; truth doesn’t either.
That’s why leftists protest and riot whenever a confrontation between a police officer and a black person ends with the death of an unarmed black person. The police officer is automatically racist, and the death is automatically deemed murder. On the left, the concept of objective truth is increasingly deemed a form of white supremacy.
So, then, it turns out I was mistaken all my life. The left’s moral compass is not broken. The left simply rejects such a compass.
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Postmodernism, also spelled post-modernism, in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.TOP QUESTIONS
What is postmodernism?
What are some general characteristics of postmodernism?
What do postmodernists believe?
How is postmodernism related to relativism?
Who are some famous postmodernists?
This article discusses postmodernism in philosophy. For treatment of postmodernism in architecture, see the article Western architecture.
Postmodernism And Modern Philosophy
Postmodernism is largely a reaction against the intellectual assumptions and values of the modern period in the history of Western philosophy (roughly, the 17th through the 19th century). Indeed, many of the doctrines characteristically associated with postmodernism can fairly be described as the straightforward denial of general philosophical viewpoints that were taken for granted during the 18th-century Enlightenment, though they were not unique to that period. The most important of these viewpoints are the following.
1. There is an objective natural reality, a reality whose existence and properties are logically independent of human beings—of their minds, their societies, their social practices, or their investigative techniques. Postmodernists dismiss this idea as a kind of naive realism. Such reality as there is, according to postmodernists, is a conceptual construct, an artifact of scientific practice and language. This point also applies to the investigation of past events by historians and to the description of social institutions, structures, or practices by social scientists.2. The descriptive and explanatory statements of scientists and historians can, in principle, be objectively true or false. The postmodern denial of this viewpoint—which follows from the rejection of an objective natural reality—is sometimes expressed by saying that there is no such thing as Truth.
4. For postmodernists, reason and logic too are merely conceptual constructs and are therefore valid only within the established intellectual traditions in which they are used.
5. Postmodernists insist that all, or nearly all, aspects of human psychology are completely socially determined.
6. According to postmodernists, language is not a “mirror of nature,” as the American pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty characterized the Enlightenment view. Inspired by the work of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, postmodernists claim that language is semantically self-contained, or self-referential: the meaning of a word is not a static thing in the world or even an idea in the mind but rather a range of contrasts and differences with the meanings of other words. Because meanings are in this sense functions of other meanings—which themselves are functions of other meanings, and so on—they are never fully “present” to the speaker or hearer but are endlessly “deferred.” Self-reference characterizes not only natural languages but also the more specialized “discourses” of particular communities or traditions; such discourses are embedded in social practices and reflect the conceptual schemes and moral and intellectual values of the community or tradition in which they are used. The postmodern view of language and discourse is due largely to the French philosopher and literary theorist Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), the originator and leading practitioner of deconstruction.
7. Postmodernists reject philosophical foundationalism— (Human beings can acquire knowledge about natural reality, and this knowledge can be justified ultimately on the basis of evidence or principles that are, or can be, known immediately, intuitively, or otherwise with certainty) the attempt, perhaps best exemplified by the 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes’s dictum cogito, ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”), to identify a foundation of certainty on which to build the edifice of empirical (including scientific) knowledge.
8. It is possible, at least in principle, to construct general theories that explain many aspects of the natural or social world within a given domain of knowledge—e.g., a general theory of human history, such as dialectical materialism. Furthermore, it should be a goal of scientific and historical research to construct such theories, even if they are never perfectly attainable in practice. Postmodernists dismiss this notion as a pipe dream and indeed as symptomatic of an unhealthy tendency within Enlightenment discourses to adopt “totalizing” systems of thought (as the French philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas called them) or grand “metanarratives” of human biological, historical, and social development (as the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard claimed). These theories are pernicious not merely because they are false but because they effectively impose conformity on other perspectives or discourses, thereby oppressing, marginalizing, or silencing them. Derrida himself equated the theoretical tendency toward totality with totalitarianism.
- KEY PEOPLE: Jean-François Lyotard
- RELATED TOPICS: Philosophy
As indicated in the preceding section, many of the characteristic doctrines of postmodernism constitute or imply some form of metaphysical, epistemological, or ethical relativism. (It should be noted, however, that some postmodernists vehemently reject the relativist label.) Postmodernists deny that there are aspects of reality that are objective; that there are statements about reality that are objectively true or false; that it is possible to have knowledge of such statements (objective knowledge); that it is possible for human beings to know some things with certainty; and that there are objective, or absolute, moral values. Reality, knowledge, and value are constructed by discourses; hence they can vary with them. This means that the discourse of modern science, when considered apart from the evidential standards internal to it, has no greater purchase on the truth than do alternative perspectives, including (for example) astrology and witchcraft. Postmodernists sometimes characterize the evidential standards of science, including the use of reason and logic, as “Enlightenment rationality.”
Part of the postmodern answer is that the prevailing discourses in any society reflect the interests and values, broadly speaking, of dominant or elite groups. Postmodernists disagree about the nature of this connection; whereas some apparently endorse the dictum of the German philosopher and economist Karl Marx that “the ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class,” others are more circumspect. Inspired by the historical research of the French philosopher Michel Foucault, some postmodernists defend the comparatively nuanced view that what counts as knowledge in a given era is always influenced, in complex and subtle ways, by considerations of power. There are others, however, who are willing to go even further than Marx. The French philosopher and literary theorist Luce Irigaray, for example, has argued that the science of solid mechanics is better developed than the science of fluid mechanics because the male-dominated institution of physics associates solidity and fluidity with the male and female sex organs, respectively. Similarly, the Bulgarian-born French psychoanalyst and writer Julia Kristeva has faulted modern linguistics for privileging aspects of language associated, in her psychoanalytic theory, with the paternal or paternal authority (rule systems and referential meaning) over aspects associated with the maternal and the body (rhythm, tone, and other poetic elements).
Because the established discourses of the Enlightenment are more or less arbitrary and unjustified, they can be changed; and because they more or less reflect the interests and values of the powerful, they should be changed. Thus postmodernists regard their theoretical position as uniquely inclusive and democratic, because it allows them to recognize the unjust hegemony of Enlightenment discourses over the equally valid perspectives of nonelite groups. In the 1980s and ’90s, academic advocates on behalf of various ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious groups embraced postmodern critiques of contemporary Western society, and postmodernism became the unofficial philosophy of the new movement of “identity politics.”
Now we can comprehend why people are not acknowledging truth even when the PROOF is right before them. They refuse to accept ANYTHING. They do not even believe that TRUTH exists. They have no concept of RIGHT or WRONG.
The Plumbline is God’s standard; Jesus Christ Our Lord
The only way to measure up is to under the Blood of the Lamb.
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