AbstractThe historical background of the postmodern view on normativity and on a Christian worldview
Usually the criticism of Christian thinkers on postmodernism includes the notion that its representatives are normative relativists and that they furthermore do not apply relativism to their own viewpoint. Postmodernists in turn regard a Christian worldview as absolutist – a legalistic, exclusivist, marginalising and oppressive ideology. This article intends to make a small contribution to this debate. As an introduction a brief characteristic of the contemporary postmodern spirit is provided. It is indicated that the spirit of a period is determined by its conception of normativity or its idea of lawfulness. This is followed by a historical survey to trace the road which subjectivist Western thought about normativity had travelled until it reached radical relativism in postmodernism. The question is then asked whether postmodernism can really maintain its historistic relativism. As an alternative to such a viewpoint a Reformational worldview suggests the stability of God’s creational ordinances. At the same time the postmodern warning that worldviews can be or become legalistic, oppressive ideologies should be taken seriously. Specific trends that may endanger a Christian worldview are therefore identified. In conclusion it is indicated how, through a careful listening to God’s Word, these threads can be counteracted.
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