03 June 2008

Carson: Christ and Culture Revisited

Just read this eye-opening (for a cultural novice like me) passage in Dr. Carson's recent book on Christ and Culture.

On the face of it, we seem set, at least in America, for an unyielding confrontation between modernism and postmodernism, between foundationalism and postfoundationalism - a "take no prisoners" war in which there can be only winners and losers.

But there is another way. A chastened modernism and a "soft" postmodernism might actually discover that they are saying rather similar things. A chastened or modest modernism pursues the truth but recognizes how much we humans do not know, how often we change our minds, and some of the factors that go into our claims to knowledge. A chastened postmodernism heartily recognizes that we cannot avoid seeing things from a certain perspective (we are all perspectivalists, even if perspectivalists can be divided into those who admit it and those who don't), but acknowledges that there is a reality out there that we human beings can know, even if we cannot know it exhaustively or perfectly, but only from our own perspective. . . . [I]t remains self-refuting to claim to know truly that we cannot know the truth. To set such a modest modernism and such a chastened postmodernism side-by-side is to see how much alike they are.

--pp. 90-91

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