If this is the post-modern age, what will the next age be?
Wow! What a difficult question. I'm not sure that we can accurately answer such a question. I liken the discussion to trying to define a word that hasn't been put in the dictionary yet. The jury is still out on what the word will mean. For now, it's slang. It'll mean one thing in one setting and may mean another completely different idea in other settings. Postmodernism has been the greased pig of the state fair competitions. No one has captured it yet to fry it up in a pan. How can we define view of a time period that is still being hashed out? It would be like choosing Time magazine's Man of the Year of 2001 in July. September 11th hadn't even happened yet. When our children hear 2001 they'll most likely think of the terrorism and how George W. Bush responded as our leader. So how can we predict a reaction of a way of thinking that hasn't even tucked itself to bed yet?
Another example would be me trying to determine what my grandchildren will look like before even having my own children. I have no idea even what my children will look like. I have no idea who they might marry. I have no idea what kinds of events may occur to change their appearance: such as fads, accidents, exercise habits, etc. The best I can do is suppose that there will be some kind of resemblance to me.
But let's give it a try. Who knows? Maybe I can coin a movement or something in my presumptuousness. Many scholars expect some kind of return to premodern thinking. Of course, we can't call the next movement premodernism. We already have one of those. Perhaps "neomodernism" will rise from the ashes of postmodernity. As postmodernism has critiqued the certainty and absolutes of modernity, perhaps "neomodernity" will seek to find balance between certainty and skepticism. Honestly, I can glean truth from both dispositions. I can also see detrimental holes in both movements. Perhaps neomodernism will rescue us from the idea that man is the measure of all things while preserving the fact that truth exists. Perhaps it can also harmonize our desire to see the viewpoints of others without giving in to the danger of political correctness. But let's not be too presumptuous. Modernity is not even dead yet. There are still plenty of folks, in the church and outside of it, that are modernists. Could we or our children live in a day when modernists, postmodernists, and "neomodernists" all live concurrently? How would that work?
This is more or less a guessing game of entertainment caliber. I have to be honest. Even as I write this I'm shocked by the biblical support for what I just termed as neomodernity. Isn't what I said just another way of saying Christian? Perhaps we shouldn't get too caught up in any movement, but simply seek to remain true to biblical suppositions. I'm not even sure if all these labels are worth their characterizations anyway. Everyone seems so serious about defining ourselves.
If experience serves as a teacher, we may be on the doorstep of still more confusion. I've been an Arminian, a Calvinist, a Baptist, a Lutheran, a liberal, a conservative, a pretribber, a midtribber, a son, a father, a philosopher, and a philo-SELF-er. The bottom line is that Christ and Him crucified has been the only constant in my life. He has seen me through all those days of extremes, and He will be my Lord whether I'm a postmodernist, modernist, or a neomodernist. The name game is only that, a game.
But on a lighter note, I want to be the guy that started the neomodernist movement. HAHA.
About the Author
Kris Samons is a former research associate and resident editor of Probe Ministries. He received the B.A. in both speech communication and religion from Southwest Baptist University and the M.A.(TH) in philosophy of religion from Southwestern Seminary where he studied mainly postmodern thought and minored in church history.
What is Probe?
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