Postmodern Christianity

The Christianity postmodern identifies various forms of Christianity that have been influenced by postmodern philosophy. Despite being a relatively recent development within Christianity, some Christian postmodernists claim that their style of thought has an affinity with fundamental Christian thinkers such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, and renowned mystics such as Meister Eckhart and Angelus Silesius. In addition to Christian theology, postmodern Christianity has its roots in post- Heideggerian continental philosophy, developed from the 1960s onwards.

Despite the name, some scholars reject the label of “postmodern Christianity”, because the meaning of the term “postmodern” is often debated, even among those who use the label. Therefore they argue that it has almost no definite meaning and, in the United States, it largely serves to symbolize an emotionally charged battle of ideologies. Moreover, thinkers considered postmodern as Jacques Derrida and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe have refused to operate under the postmodern column, preferring instead to specifically embrace a single project deriving from the EnlightenmentEuropean Union and its precursors. Nevertheless, postmodern Christianity and its components of thought continue to be relevant.

Postmodern theology emerged in the 1980s and 1990s when a handful of philosophers who took philosopher Martin Heidegger as a common point of departure began publishing influential books on theology. Some of the more notable works of the era include Jean-Luc Marion’s 1982 book God Without Being, Mark C. Taylor’s 1984 book Erring, Charles Winquist’s 1994 book Desiring Theology, John D. Caputo’s 1997 book The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, and Carl Raschke’s 2000 book The End of Theology.

There are at least two branches of postmodern theology, each of which have evolved around the ideas of particular post-Heideggerian continental philosophers. Those branches are radical orthodoxy and weak theology.

Radical orthodoxy
Radical orthodoxy is a branch of postmodern theology that has been influenced by the phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion, Paul Ricœur, and Michel Henry, among others.

Although radical orthodoxy is informally organized, its proponents often agree on a handful of propositions. First, there is no sharp distinction between reason on the one hand and faith or revelation on the other. In addition, the world is best understood through interactions with God, even though a full understanding of God is never possible. Those interactions include culture, language, history, technology, and theology. Further, God directs people toward truth, which is never fully available to them. In fact, a full appreciation of the physical world is only possible through a belief in transcendence. Finally, salvation is found through interactions with God and others.

Prominent advocates of radical orthodoxy include John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, and Graham Ward.

Weak theology
Weak theology is a branch of postmodern theology that has been influenced by the deconstructive thought of Jacques Derrida, including Derrida’s description of a moral experience he calls “the weak force.” Weak theology rejects the idea that God is an overwhelming physical or metaphysical force. Instead, God is an unconditional claim without any force whatsoever. As a claim without force, the God of weak theology does not intervene in nature. As a result, weak theology emphasizes the responsibility of humans to act in this world here and now. John D. Caputo is a prominent advocate of the movement.

Liberal Christianity
The Liberal Christianity, sometimes called “liberal theology,” has an affinity with some current forms of postmodern Christianity, although postmodern thought originally it was a reaction against liberalism Protestant mainstream. Liberal Christianity is a generic term that covers different movements with philosophical bases within nineteenth and twentieth century Christianity.

Despite its name, liberal Christianity has always been rather protean. The word “liberal” in liberal Christianity does not necessarily refer to a political agenda on the left, but rather to intuitions developed during the Enlightenment. In general, Liberalism of the Enlightenment Age stated that human beings were political creatures and that freedom of thought and expression should be among the highest human values. The development of liberal Christianity owes much to the works of the philosophers Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schleiermacher and, on the whole, liberal Christianity is a product of an ongoing philosophical dialogue.

In the nineteenth century, self-identified Christians liberals sought to establish the human teachings of Jesus as the standard for a world civilization free from cult traditions and traces of “pagan” faith in the supernatural. Consequently, liberal Christians gave less importance to the miraculous events linked to the life of Jesus than to his teachings. The commitment to remove ” superstitious ” elements from the Christian faith goes back to Christian intellectual reformists such as Erasmus and the deists of the XV-XVII centuries. The debate about whether believing in miracles was a mere superstition or essential to accept the divinity of Christ constituted a crisis within the nineteenth-century church, and then sought to arrive at a theological compromise.

The Jefferson Bible, also known as The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth from the title ( EN ) original, was designed by Thomas Jefferson to bring out the teachings of Jesus, by removing some of the parts of the New Testament containing descriptions of supernatural events, whose Origin according to Jefferson was given by the misunderstanding of such events by the four evangelists.

Many 20th century liberal Christians were influenced by the philosophers Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger; examples of important liberal Christian thinkers include Rudolf Bultmann and John AT Robinson (1919-1983).

Christian existentialism
L ‘ existentialism Christian is a form of Christianity that draws extensively from the writings of Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard started a school of thought when he reacted against the claims of universal knowledge of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and what he considered the empty formality of the nineteenth century church. Christian existentialism emphasizes the undecidability of faith, the individual passion and the subjectivity of knowledge.

Although Kierkegaard’s writings were not initially adopted, they became widespread at the beginning of the 20th century. Later Christian existentialists synthesized the Kierkegaardian themes with works by thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin and Martin Buber.

Paul Tillich, Lincoln Swain, Gabriel Marcel and John Macquarrie are examples of important Christian existentialist writers who have relied on fundamental neo-orthodox thinkers such as Karl Barth and Emil Brunner, who similarly rejected the propositionalism of traditionalist Protestantism.

Continental Philosophical Theology
The theology of continental philosophy is the newest form of postmodern Christianity. The movement was heavily fueled by the ranks of renowned post- Heideggerian philosophers who appeared on the continent in the 1970s and 1980s. Revolutionary works such as Dieu sans l’être (God without Being) by Jean-Luc Marion and The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida ( Jacques Derrida ‘s Prayers and Tears) by John D. Caputo have ushered in the era of continental philosophical theology.

Orthodoxy root
Radical orthodoxy is a form of continental philosophical theology influenced by the works of the reformed theologian Karl Barth, the Catholic theologians Henri-Marie de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Catholic phenomenological philosopher Jean-Luc Marion. It is a style of theology that tries to examine classical Christian writings and related Neoplatonic texts from a contemporary philosophically continental perspective. The movement finds writers such as Agostino di Ippona and Pseudo-Dionigi the Areopagitaprecious sources of knowledge and meaning relevant to modern society and to Christianity in general. John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, Graham Ward and James KA Smith are the main proponents of radical orthodoxy. The movement is also linked to post liberalism, a movement of theology whose main proponent is Stanley Hauerwas, who rejects liberal methods of hermeneutics and enlightenment assumptions about epistemology.

Hermeneutics of religion
The hermeneutics of religion is another form of continental philosophical theology. The hermeneutical interpretation system developed by Paul Ricoeur has strongly influenced the school of thought. A central theme of the hermeneutics of religion is that God exists outside the boundaries of human imagination. The Irish philosopher Richard Kearney (born 1954 ) is a prominent exponent of the movement.

Non-dogmatic theology
Non-dogmatic theology or ” weak theology ” is a way of thinking theology from a deconstructive point of life. This style of thinking has a debt with Jacques Derrida, especially in light of his idea of a ” weak force “. Weak theology is weak because it takes an approach to theology that is non- dogmatic prospective. Proponents of weak theology argue that contemporary dominant explanations in theology are inherently ideological, all-encompassing and militant. In response, the weak theology expresses itself through acts of interpretation.

According to the American theologian John D. Caputo, the distinctive interpretative act of weak theology has produced the concept of weakness of God. In this line of thought, God’s paradigm as overwhelming physical or metaphysical force is considered erroneous. The old God-of-power is replaced by the idea of God as an unconditional affirmation without force. As an affirmation without force, the God of weak theology does not intervene physically or metaphysically in nature. Weak theology emphasizes the responsibility of human beings to act in this world here and now. Because God is thought to be weak, weak theology emphasizes the “weak” human virtues of forgiveness, hospitality, sincerity and receptivity. In each of these virtues, a metaphorical “power of impotence” is at work.

John D. Caputo and Gianni Vattimo have recently completed works that further develop the idea of weak theology, also supported by Slavoj Zizek who has examined similar themes in his works. Previously, liberation theologians like Jürgen Moltmann had deepened the concepts of kenosis and God’s self-emptying nature in Christ. Even Peter Rollins, one of the main proponents of the emerging Church movement, has moved in the direction of radical theology and has become remarkably influential on the various strands of postmodern Christianity.

Main representatives
Marcus Borg
Rob Bell
Tomáš Halík
Stanley Hauerwas
John Howard Yoder
John D. Caputo
Stanley Grenz
Tony Jones
Richard Kearney
Mario Kopić
Jean-Luc Marion
Brian McLaren
François Meltzer
John Milbank
David Tracy
James Olthuis
Carl Raschke
John AT Robinson
Peter Rollins
Robert P. Scharlemann
James KA Smith
Mark C. Taylor
Gabriel Vahanian
Gianni Vattimo
Charles Winquist

Important influences
Michel de Certeau
Jacques Derrida
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Martin Heidegger
Søren Kierkegaard
Emmanuel Lévinas
Jean-Luc Marion
Friedrich Nietzsche
Paul Ricœur
Martin Buber
Jürgen Moltmann
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Source from Wikipedia