May 21st, 2005

Loyola Faculty Portrait

Randomly Theological: Postmodernism, et al

Well, I've spent most of the night building myself an anti-telepath hat out of tinfoil. The most important part is to make sure that the peak is really pointy.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to decide whether I really believe there is such a reality or condition as "postmodernity," "postmodern," or "postmodernism," or whether all this is really just modernity coming to its natural conclusion. Was this not a foreseeable end centuries ago, but one which could be postponed, as it were, while modernity "fooled itself" by being able to move on the inertia of its Christian heritage for generations? For example, is a line like, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." truly a set of thoughts natural to modernity, or are they borrowing from modernity's medieval patrimony? And in so borrowing, are they evidence of a process of simply holding on to certain benefits of the former order of thought, while slowly going through a generations-long process of realizing that it no longer has any basis for such assumptions?

Thoughts? I promise no replies worth your effort: I'm really busy with this hat.
Loyola Faculty Portrait

Theological Notebook: Flew from Atheism to Deism

There's an interesting article on the conversion of philosopher Antony Flew, a famed atheist and secularist, to theism or deism through this link. Alas, I was explicitly forbidden to repost the article here, even for my personal use. The article is by a professor who is a former graduate student of Flew's and is interesting for the background it gives into the current state of what is perceived as the philosophical strength for belief in God.
Loyola Faculty Portrait

Theological Notebook: Victorian Metanarratives and Belief

Are we feeling postmodern?

Another article of note is this one on the subject of Victorian metanarratives of belief and unbelief. The standard metanarrative is that the Victorian age, advancing in scientific understanding of the world, was one where those enlightened by modern education were able to throw off the superstitious and intellectually-backward remnants of Christian belief. No news there, right? What is interesting about this article, then, is that even books today engaging in this kind of metanarrative willfully ignore that a significant proportion of the figures whose loss of belief they discuss as emblamatic, actually in time converted back to Christian faith. How's that for an interesting fly in the ointment? What the author finds remarkable in this article is that a proportion of 3/8 of one's "typical population" moving against the common narrative is conveniently deemed irrelevant data. I found it surprisingly fun reading.