Is Metanarrative Possible Following the Postmodern Critique? (A Summary of Three Christian Responses)

NarrativesThe Western world at the beginning of the 21st century is at a critical crossroads. Shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the worldview of postmodernism was given a relentless truth test in conversations that occurred in almost every conceivable venue—the workplace, the radio airwaves, television, newspapers, the Internet, and especially in candid discussions between neighbors, friends, and families. Although the topics related to the terrorist atttacks eventually faded from the fore, for several weeks we were suddenly awakened to the possibility that real evil might actually exist, that different cultural values could perhaps be superior (or inferior) to our own, and that the postmodern ethos of relativism and pluralism in which our culture is so comfortable with may not be an adequate answer. But as time passed and the imminent expectation of another attack subsided, we resumed our anti-dogmatic slumbers. That may be for the better for some reasons, because there might be enough distance between then and now to soberly and intelligently discuss the philosophy known as postmodernism without our faculties of reason being clouded by raw emotional reaction. So the question that Western society must confront is this: in the wake of 9-11, is it possible to interpret and narrate the world according to some measure of objective Truth? In other words, is there a grand story—a metanarrative—that is true and that we can all find our place in? Or are the stories we live our lives by and pass down to our children just that—stories—stories that we have no authority to judge as right or wrong, no matter how violent or oppressive they may seem to our limited cultural perspective?

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