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Postmodern shifts in realities session 3


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Postmodern shifts in realities session 3

  1. 1. Postmodern Shifts in Realities Session 3 Joshva Raja .
  2. 2. Postmodern shifts • A Paradigm shift • Death of Institutionalised religions • New Religious cults • Decentred Self • Different ways of Telling Stories
  3. 3. Resources • Heelas and Mar (eds), Religion, Modernity, and Post Modernity. Oxford: • Blackwell,1998. • David Tracy, Plurality and Ambiguity: Hermeneutics, Religion, Hope London: SCM, 1987 • Chapter 1 • J Richard Middleton and Brian J Walsh. Truth is stranger than is used to be. Biblical Faith in a PostModern Age. SPCK, 1995. pp 46-80 • Phillipa Berry and A. Wernick (eds), Shadow of Spirit: Post-modernism and Religion. • London: Routledge, 1992. • David Ray Griffin, God and Religion in the Postmodern World: Essays in • Postmodern Theology Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989. • Christopher Lamb and Dan Cohn-Sherbok (eds) The Future of Religion: Postmodern Perspectives. Middlesex University Press. 1999.
  4. 4. 1. Decentred Self • Humans are Homo autonomous • Greek myth of Prometheus – giving power over creation – a paradigm for individual • Renaissance gives power definitely to the individual subject.
  5. 5. Adam and Promethus • Pico Della Mirandola – 1487 – Oration on the Dignity of Man -God grants freedom from any laws but by free will –auto (unto himself) and nomos (law) • Self centred ego – constantly in the process of constructing and reconstructing its own center, its own identity, its own place in the world
  6. 6. Democratic self • Powers independent judgement, political opinions, desire for the social good [Kenneth Gergen] • Modern self – imperial self [Christopher Lasch] – endeless search for conquering and pioneering • Exercises his freedom and constructs his own identity by mastering over the world of nonhuman (subhuman) objects.
  7. 7. Self-centred and self- controlled modern self • Constructed self at the centre of the world • Freed from the control of ecclesiastical authority and imposition from rigid social order • Self-made subject can transform the world of objects into subjects of the human kingdom
  8. 8. Not feeling myself anymore • Heroic Mastery haunting us • Despoliation of the natural environment • Subjugation of people • Metaphysics of violence – Violence against nature, human beings and one’s own self • Structural control and cultural power
  9. 9. Conquered self • Conquered by its own • Self centred ego is a construct • Discourses of our culture structure how we see ourselves and how we construct our notions of self, in the past and in the present • Self is a construct or a product of social systems – language or discourse construct the self
  10. 10. Language and self • No more Homo autonomos rather Homo linguisticus – language as autonomous • Derrida – language is a system unto itself - self must be placed in quotations – representations not reality • Logocentric presumption is questioned
  11. 11. Postmodern self • Natural way to think is denaturalised • Falling into a postmodern crisis • Self is deconstructed • Lost identifiable and unitary self • Social saturation – multiplicity of incoherent and unrelated languages of the self • I can be whatever I construct myself to be
  12. 12. Decentred Self • Play with truths, shake them about, try them on like funny hats. • Like in comedy we become the other • Whatever is mastered, constructed, produced is in the end disposable even identities • All our life is commodified
  13. 13. Multiphrenia • Individual split into a multiplicity of selves • Multiple personality disorder? – to celebrate • Demon possessed man legion – Mark 5:9 • Saturated self not to enter into a relationship of commitment and intimacy
  14. 14. Homeless self • Selective apathy, emotional disengagement from others, • Moral undeciadability • Nomadic self • Ethical normativity – a matter of choice • Freedom to choose everything at once
  15. 15. Choice of the self • I want it all – keeping one’s option open • Freedom is trivialised into market preference • Self is driven and directed by its own arbitrary preference • Choice becomes not an owning of responsibility but an escape from allowing oneself to be held accountable
  16. 16. Mall Culture • Aimlessly wandering through the mall • Incredible range of consumer options • Inability to make a normative choice • People act, make ethical decisions – moderns - reasons
  17. 17. Deconstructive patterns • Uncovering our biases, interests, assumptions… normless universe • Normative confusion –world as home and rules and responsibilities of house unknown • Moral discourse – language game • J D Crosson – No lighthouse keeper, no lighthouse, no dry land, only people living on rafts made from their own imaginations. There is sea. • Left alone in the sea!
  18. 18. 2. Different stories • Nature of a narrative – plot – movement from initial complication or tension to denouement – tying (Aristotle) – formal structure of enplotment – worldview questions • Plot conflict – question of evil – resolution to redemption – Bible story enplotment is soteriology
  19. 19. Narrative and worldview • Character and setting in the narrative • Bible a narrative of God intent to redeem a faller creation • All religious narratives have truths about the world, humanity, evil and salvation through stories
  20. 20. Modern Ethics • Meaningful ethical action cannot be rooted in anything as naïve, subjective stories – which would make ethics as merely an expression of a particular cultural or religious attitude • It is a quest for a purely rational, objective, abstract and universal foundation for human action independent of any subjective point of view
  21. 21. Ethics • Kant – neutral human reason and universalizable • Aristotle – theoria (contemplative thought) and phronesis (practical reasoning) • Ethical decision making to apply universal and objective moral principles
  22. 22. Ethics – narrative bound • MacIntyre – ethics is tradition- bound and narrative dependent • Human subjectivity is intrinsic to ethics • Ethics developed from the stories of the Bible – God’s drama
  23. 23. Metanarratives • Story is socially embodied narrative • Story as a way of life of an actual community of persons oriented toward a common heritage and common goals • Story as grounding and legitimating narrative guides the practice of a given community
  24. 24. Mythical narratives • Myths become normative for the way of life • Lived stories or sociall embodied narratives • Postmodernists are suspicious of grounding or legitimating stories • Incredulity toward metanarratives - Lyotard
  25. 25. Problems with metas • Epistemological – socially constructed knowledge claims universality – homogeneity and closure over difference • Oppressive and violent • Metanarratives fictive devices through which one imposes an order on history and make it a subject to us
  26. 26. Metanarrative ethics • Claims of moral universality can be deconstructed to see them as legitimating of vested interests of those who have the power and authority to make such universal pronouncements • Postmodernist signals the death of such meta-narratives (Eagleton)
  27. 27. ideology • Fukuyama – end of history – history is driven by the conflicts of ideologies and since 1989 there has been nothing to fight about. Liberal capitalist democracy is the highest ideological achievement of the race. • Fukuyama’s reading of history excludes other perspectives • Ideological form of genocide • Metanarratives also result in violence
  28. 28. Beyond narrative • All voices to be heard in the carnival of postmodern culture • If all are constructed no one should be privileged, local, marginal ones should be encouraged • Actions are locally justified • To embrace heterogeneity and differences
  29. 29. Nietzsche • Refused to look at story or narrative even local • Aphorisms as a means of communicating – a set of loosely connected, randomly sequenced, assorted comments. They are pithy statements (proverbial) or poetic but consistent point is that no series of aphorisms constitutes a unified totalizing structure. It is a vector through which energy is transmitted but no conclusion reached.
  30. 30. Critical response • Critic of modernity – minority voices not heard and metanarratives of war. • Local narratives are also violent ethnic cleansing in Balkan areas • Tribal violence in South Africa
  31. 31. The need for meta- narratives • Humans need metanarratives • Local tribal groups too have meta and others become enemies • Best and Kellner – Does not the very concept of postmodernity presuppose a master narrative, a totalising perspective which envisions the transition from a previous state of society to a new one?
  32. 32. Postmodernity • It functions as the larger interpretative frame that relativises all other worldviews as simply local stories with no legitimate claims to reality and universality. • Contradicts – arguing against metanarratives by appeal to a metanarrative
  33. 33. Paradigm Shift • A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when scientists encounter anomalies which cannot be explained by the universally accepted paradigm within which scientific progress has thereto been made
  34. 34. • When enough significant anomalies have accrued against a current paradigm, the scientific discipline is thrown into a state of crisis, according to Kuhn. During this crisis, new ideas, perhaps ones previously discarded, are tried. Eventually a new paradigm is formed, which gains its own new followers, and an intellectual "battle" takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm.
  35. 35. Mission History • History of People of God as part of Salvation History • Jesus as part of the History of God’s plan • Acts as History of mission of the Early Church • Then early Christian Fathers, their writings and their mission continued… • Our mission story must be seen as part of this history
  36. 36. Looking at the Historical Period Stephen Neil (A History of Christian Mission) • The Conquest of the Roman World (100-500 AD) • The Dark Age (500-1000) • Early European Expansion (1000-1500) • The Age of Discovery (1500-1600) • New Beginnings in East and West (1600-1800) • New Forces in Europe and America (1792- 1852) • The Heyday of Colonialism (1852-1914) • Rome, the Orthodox and the world (1815- 1914)
  37. 37. Ralph Winter The 25 Unbelievable Years: 1945- 1969. • 0-400 AD Winning the Romans: Evangelizing the empire of the Caesars • 400-800 AD Evangelization of the Barbarians • 800-1200 AD Evangelization of the Vikings • 1200-1600 AD Evangelization of the Saracens / Muslims • 1600-2000 AD Evangelization of the Ends of the Earth (Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity. New York: Harper &Brothers, 1953, pp. 181, 221-234).
  38. 38. David Barrett (Statistical Point of View) • 30-500 AD The Apostolic Era (Luke and Paul) • 500-1750 AD The Ecclesiastical Era (Cosmas Indicopleustes and Francis Xavier) • 1750-1900 AD The Church Growth era • William Carey, the "father of modern missions" • Henry Venn -- "self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating churches" • 1900-1990 AD The Global Mission era ( John R. Mott and Kenneth Grubb) • 1990- present The Global Discipling era (Taken from Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of the Expansion of Christianity. New York: Harper, 1937-1945.)
  39. 39. Hans Kung’s Paradigm Shift in the History of Missions • The Apocalyptic paradigm of primitive Christianity • The Hellenistic paradigm of the patristic period • The Medieval Roman Catholic paradigm • The Protestant paradigm • The Modern Enlightenment paradigm • The Emerging Ecumenical paradigm (Bosch book - 182)
  40. 40. History of Mission?! 1. God’s Salvation History of Israel 2. Jesus’ Movement 3. Apostolic Missions 4. Early Christian Fathers’ Mission 5. Constantism and Mission - Division of Missions – Orthodox and Catholic 6. Reformation as mission within the churches and Modern Missionary Movement 7.Indigenous Missions and Parachurch Missions 8. Pentecostal and Charismatic Missions
  41. 41. Looking at the History of Mission • God’s Ongoing activity in the World through missionaries • Expansion and Fall of Christendom around the world • Mission from Uncivilized to the Civilized • Revolutions? • Evolutions?
  42. 42. History from whose perspective? • Missionaries or from Converts or from non- converts • Dominant readings – wives or women in mission secondary readings • People at the margins are often neglected • From West to Rest – Orthodox or other denominations • Indigenous Mission often unrecognised • Small movements versus Mass movements • Successful versus failures in Missions
  43. 43. History of Mission With what views • Ethno Centric/Westcentric/Sponsorcen tric views • Heroic or Victors views • Teleological views • Progressive views • Evolutionary views • Revolutionary views
  44. 44. Issues in the History of Mission • Conversion of Kings and Tribal leaders led to mass • Mass conversion by Force or by bread or by social service • Conversion of groups as expression of liberation from oppression • Through education, interaction and rhetoric individual intellectuals converted • Through adaptation, syncretism, enculturation, people were converted.
  45. 45. Deconstruction • At its core, if it can be said to have one, deconstruction is an attempt to open a text (literary, philosophical, or otherwise) to several meanings and interpretations. Its method is usually based on binary oppositions within a text — for example inside and outside or subject and object, or male and female.
  46. 46. • 'Deconstruction' then argues that such oppositions are culturally and historically defined, even reliant upon one another, and seeks to demonstrate that they are not as clear-cut or as stable as it would at first seem. On the basis that the two opposed concepts are fluid, this ambiguity is used to show that the text's meaning is fluid as well.