With the advent of the primacy of postmodernism in the university curricula, there has been a growing loss of meaning and purpose among generations of students. By postmodernism I am referring to the assertion that there is no meta narrative or absolute truth that we can hang our hats on.
Of course, this is nothing new, as we see by the account in the Gospel of John when Jesus told Pontius Pilate that He came to bear witness of the truth and Pilate responded by saying, "What is truth?" (John 18:38b).
The preponderance of postmodernism has resulted in a devaluation of religious narrative, truth, morals and boundaries, along with a deconstruction of language, structure and categories (such as male and female)—leaving in its wake a rise of suicide, depression and hopelessness (all the fruit of its nihilistic philosophy).
By "nihilism," I am referring to the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. (Thus, nihilism involves stripping humanity of the grand narrative of Christianity and all the other major religions.) Nihilism also maintains that nothing in the world has a real existence, which can also lead to a post-structural order of extreme anti-establishment, anarchy and rebellion against all institutional authority (which is why Buddhism and the Eastern New Age philosophies are popularized in college campuses, since one of their primary mantras is "maya," which asserts that all distinctions in reality are a delusion).
Consequently, students who are fed and embrace any form of nihilism are often filled with negativity, cynicism, pessimism and can become anti-social and suicidal. (Friedrich Nietzsche, the major proponent of nihilism, eventually died in an insane asylum!)
Of course, doubting the essence and reality of the concept of absolute truth has been going on for millennia, which is the result of the fall of humanity away from God into original sin (Gen. 3). The fall not only separated humankind from God—resulting in spiritual and physical death (see Rom. 5:12-19)—but also darkened (and limited) our rational understanding (see Eph. 4:17-19; 2 Cor. 4:4).
Hence, when Jesus claimed to be the "truth," He was revolutionary and countered the negative (rational) effects of the fall in more ways than one. Since His resurrection power enables the eyes of the believing heart to be opened so that they can "know" (see Eph. 1:18) and so our minds can be transformed (see Rom. 12:1,2) to once again love and serve God and humanity with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (see Matt. 22:37-40).
Unfortunately, the embrace of postmodernism has been catastrophic in the following ways:
It Robs People of Faith and Hope
The grand narrative of Christianity simplifies life, gives believers a handle on reality and enables them to rest in the fact that their Creator designed them for an eternal purpose.
Conversely, as was already stated above, the contemporary popularization of postmodernism and its concomitant expressions of nihilism have resulted in a dire increase in youth suicides and depression.
(For example, compare the social pathologies in the public-school system from the time before they removed prayer and the teaching of the biblical account of creation in the early 1960s to the pathologies today, and any honest social scientist will have to admit that the increase in dehumanizing behavior among grade- and high school students corresponds to our nation going from the sacred to the secular worldview.)
It Dehumanizes Humanity
If there is no grand narrative, there is no Creator; if there is no Creator, there is no distinctions between human and animal/ living and non-living / male and female / good and evil. All of the above take away from the sanctity of human life, and its devaluation leads to an increase in murder, abortion and maltreatment of people including abuse, violence and objectification.
It Removes All Boundaries and Distinctions
If there is no God and no transcendent purpose, then there is no concept of good versus evil, which leads to a world of subjective truth based on the opinions and constructs of those in power, which can eventually lead to totalitarian governments who usurp the rights of individual human freedom such as those encased in the constitutional amendments.
Hence, the power and success of American exceptionalism is based on our unique philosophy of governance, in which the foundation of our Constitution is the Declaration of Independence, which declares that we have unalienable rights given to us by God—not men or earthly elites.
(This is one reason progressive liberals, programmed with a secular humanistic mindset, are attempting to discard our nation's founding documents in order to deconstruct the USA to reconstruct it as a nation without borders, boundaries and morals!)
In conclusion, the folly of postmodernism and its nihilistic outcomes are eventually going to collapse inward—to the dismay of the far-left university elites and the progressive culture at large.
The general population of God-fearing people are getting fed up with the irrational conclusions of the post structural secularist who, in the name of human enlightenment, embrace and pronounce things today that only a decade ago would have been unheard of.
The only hope for the next generation is for the church to equip, prepare and send young people to school with a robust biblical worldview—capable of releasing their potential to be the bright lights the world has been waiting for (Rom. 8:19-21).
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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