Where Do We Get Our Truth?


Josh McDowell discusses the differences in modernist and postmodernist beliefs.

One of the most frequent phrases we hear around us today is “Well, if that is true for you, then good—just don’t push it on me.”

In the last two or three decades, postmodernism has edged out modernism as the prevailing mode of thought influencing our culture, casting a dark shadow over both reason and the scientific method. Postmodernism is a worldview that asserts that external, absolute truth—that is, a truth that is true for all people, in all places, and at all times—cannot be known through reason or science because truth is either nonexistent or unknowable.

Postmodern thought asserts that experience is more reliable than reason. Reason, claims the postmodernist, is fogged and contaminated by worldviews, prejudices, environment, and upbringing, all of which render it undependable as an instrument for grasping absolute truth. Therefore, says the postmodernist, the idea of truth is created rather than discovered. Postmodernists’ personal experiences define their needs and shape their answers to those needs. In spite of their belief that we can’t really know truth, they understand that all individuals must have some sort of working philosophy as a framework for their thought and values.

Therefore they must create their own truths based on what works for them. In a nutshell, postmodernists say, “If it’s true for you, then it’s as true as it needs to be. And no one has the right to question what you have chosen as truth for yourself.”

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