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Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: Turning Point Christian Worldview Series (Book 15)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (February 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891077685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891077688
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gene Edward Veith Jr. (PhD, University of Kansas) is provost and professor of literature at Patrick Henry College and the director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary. He has been a columnist for World magazine and TableTalk, and is the author of a number of noted books on Christianity and culture, including God at Work.

Marvin Olasky (PhD, American Culture, University of Michigan) is the editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He has been interviewed numerous times by the national media as the developer of the concepts of compassionate conservatism and biblically objective journalism and is the author of twenty books.

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Customer Reviews

Someone referred me to this book for a must read.
E. McDowell
Vieth's excellence is in his approach from a Christian viewpoint as well as surveys such broad fields as literature, theology, art. architecture, and politics.
Mr. Veith closes his book with some practical suggestions on how Christians should interact with postmodernism.
Joshua M. Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Joshua V. Schneider VINE VOICE on February 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
An important history of thought is provided in the first part of this book, which briefly outlines the transistion from Modernism to Postmodernism. Essentially the modern era began with the Enlightenment, and claimed human reason and science could determine all truth. Postmodernism does not have such a clearcut starting point in history, although Veith gives examples of when various stages of postmodernism began. Postmodernism essentially abandons the modernist ideology of rationalism, and the existence of objective truths. He then makes an important distinction between the postmodern era and postmodernISM. He identifies postmodernism primarily as relativism, which is the philosophy that truth is relative to the individual, and therefore there are no objective truths.
Although few people are conscious of this belief system in today's society, it is subtly pervasive. Veith's four part analysis of Postmodern Thought, Art, Society, and Religion ranges from interesting to startling to mildly cynical. While I found his discussion of postmodernism to be very revealing and largely accurate, I question whether modernism is as "dead" as he suspects. Perhaps the best example I see of an extant modernist philosophy is that of methodological naturalism: a necessity for evolution. (Philip Johnson does a great job of explaining methodological naturalism in his book "The Wedge of Truth).
However, for the most part, Veith hits the nail on the head in his diagnosis of postmodernism, especially with recognizing the trend in Christianity (but perhaps in religion in general) toward consumerism and empty spirituality (lack of truth). At times the book is repetitive and somewhat pessimistic, yet Veith also has hope for the postmodern age. Christians can build their thinking and live their lives on the foundation of Christ, and share this with society, as the postmodernism's self-contradictory relativism will inevitably collapse.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Quena Gonzalez on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like other reviewers, I experienced quite a bit of frustration the first time I read this book; I was looking for a much more specific methodology to apply in communicating my faith relevantly to my generation. Instead, Veith gives us a synopsis of the major features of the postmodern worldview (or system of thought and belief) within the context of the premodern and modern worldviews, shows how it influences the general populace's perspective of historic Christianity, and challenges us to find the cultural opportunities it presents.
Vieth is cautiously hopeful. He recognizes postmodernism's potential weakness for despair; when a person believes that all truth is relative and indiscoverable, they will quickly loose hope. He also correctly identifies the dogma of absolute tolerance as intolerant.
Nevertheless, his hope springs in part from the fact that Christ was no stranger to the use of image and story to communicate the Gospel; living (as Vieth contends that we do) in an increasingly post-Christian culture, we are able once again to communicate the fundamental tenets of Christianity through allegories, parables, and pictures. Postmodern thought's ability to embrace paradox without tension leads postmodernists to instinctively understand certain aspects of our faith which the material, clinical mindset of the modern era has failed to adequately illuminate.
This book is no condemnation of postmodern thought, nor is it a postmodernist's apology; Vieth makes the distinction, for instance, between postmodernism and postmodern thought patterns, and posits that the latter lends itself to authentic, historic Christianity.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Eric Blievernicht on October 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
In daily conversation I notice the tenets of postmodernism cropping up all the time. People who have no idea what "postmodernism" is are nonetheless deeply influenced by it, mouthing its words, speaking its assumptions, believing its claims because they have been so deeply inculcated with it without even realizing it. I don't think people realize just how distinctively different a philosophy of epistemology it really is, compared to historical norms.
That said, Veith's book is a good introduction to the subject, and worthy reading for every person who is seeking a well-rounded education. From a Christian perspective (more specifically a Lutheran, not protestant, one) Veith traces the rise of Modernism from a biblical worldview, and the inevitable transformation from Modernism's empty claims to certainty to Postmodernism's notorious uncertainty and relativism. Between the two Veith charts a path that seeks to avoid the errors both of pompous Modernist dogmatism and Postmodernist denial that truth can be reasonably ascertained.
Veith's book conveys understanding and insight, if not a straightforward guide to helping others out of the morass of Postmodernism. Ultimately Postmodernism fails because it is so internally inconsistent (how can one argue rationally for it if rationality itself is suspect?) Rather than point to the internal inconsistencies, I suspect a better route will be to present a positive epistemology that is more consistent than the Modernist ideology that Postmodernists abandoned; in short, the biblical worldview.
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