Like me, you have probably heard the phrase “postmodern” for a decade or more. I have always struggled to really understand what it means. I knew it was connected to relative morality and relative truths and people putting feelings ahead of thoughts. But it still never connected until our present political climate.
If you are still struggling to see what a postmodern America looks like, look around. One year ago, Democrats were savaging James Comey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for plotting to keep Hillary Clinton out of the Oval Office. Comey’s release of his letter, they assured us, scuttled her chances of winning. But Democrats also assert that nothing was wrong, Clinton did no wrong, the FBI “witch hunt” was wrong and Russia stole the election. Multiple, mutually exclusive truths are all true.
Meanwhile, Republicans thought the FBI did not go far enough and now are convinced that the very same FBI that investigated Clinton also worked to undermine Donald Trump. Ignore the context of various text messages, just look at them individually. Do not think about them. Feel them. Emoting is the new thinking.
Stormy Daniels is another example. She is the porn star who had an affair with President Trump while his current wife was pregnant or had just had their new child. I will ignore the use of the word “alleged” because it does not, or should not, apply here. Daniels gave a lengthy interview about it referencing things that no person would conjure up in a made-up conversation. Well before any of President Trump’s tweets on how much he hated sharks and would not give to shark-related charities, Stormy Daniels was telling reporters how the president hated sharks and would not give to shark charities.
If that was in Scripture, Christians would point to that sort of thing as proof that Scripture must be real. There is no way Stormy Daniels would have gone into a lengthy dissertation about the president hating sharks and not giving to shark-related charities unless it happened. In fact, Christians do this sort of thing in Scripture. You would not conjure up a story where angels appear to shepherds because the shepherds had no credibility, were completely distrusted, and could not even testify in court.
With Stormy Daniels, we have a confirmed press report from The Wall Street Journal that a company related to President Trump paid her $130,000.00 in exchange for her silence. The Trump campaign, around the same time, transferred that same amount of money to the Trump Organization. In a modern world, we would take all these things and suggest the story at least has a significant kernel of truth.
In a postmodern world, the very evangelical Republicans who would try to impeach a Democrat over a similar fact pattern are saying there is no proof. Because no court of law has shown that this happened beyond a reasonable doubt, the affair could not have happened. But Jesus is real, y'all.
I actually believe Jesus is real and I think the breakdown in truth in this country comes from a growing rejection of his truth. Now truth is tribal. If it benefits your tribe, you accept it. If it hurts your tribe, you not only reject it, but reject the person who revealed the truth. Sadly, the media has a role to play in all of this. The media should be about fact-finding and truth revealing. But the media has its own tribe, which tends to be the liberal, postmodern tribe. So the media will focus on impropriety on one side and focus on explaining away impropriety on the other.
Republicans can believe the FBI has been infiltrated by partisan forces undermining the president because they saw it happen at the IRS. And they do not trust the media to accurately report on it now because the media did not accurately report on it then. In a postmodern America where people feel instead of think and truth is relative and not fully knowable, finding the real truth becomes a more necessary task, particularly for people of faith.
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