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So, I will confess my sin.  I think some views are wrong.  Some are not just mistaken but flat out dangerous.

I do truly and honestly confess myself a heretic of the postmodern church.  The dogma that all opinions are equally deserving of consideration I deny.

Terrible I know.  I think some people are wrong and mistaken.  I don’t know why this is so shocking – perhaps the people shocked believe they have always been right in their beliefs.  I, who started out as a fundamentalist and now is a pretty poor evangelical Christian (and most evangelical Christians would deny me the title), don’t have this luxury.

It is my experience that I have been wrong.  This has been occasionally liberating and often embarrassing.

What’s more it is my conviction – based on the experience of myself and others – that some people are wrong.  To the extent that people have influence and power is the extent to which we should be concerned that they are not wrong.  We should be very concerned if the powerful are wrong.  It costs people their lives.  There are less dramatic consequences too.  For instance there is a lunatic notion that building more roads will mean that roads don’t get jammed with traffic.  Can you think of a case where this has been true for more than the first couple of years?  But this delusion leads to the expenditure of billions of dollars that could be better spent of far more ecologically friendly modes of transport.

At the everyday level people can be mistaken too.  Some people believe that all men are violent or all women unsuitable for political office.  These people often aren’t in positions of political power, the consequences are far less severe; but it does effect their relationships with their friends and loved ones.

My heresy is: I believe some ideas are truer to our experience than others; that some ideas can be shown to be wrong; that some ideas take account of more of our experience than others.  Here I stand: unless I am convinced by plain reasoning or new experience, I can do no other.

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10 Comments to “Committing the Postmodern Sin”

  1. You hit the nail on the head. Consequences will come. It will affect many seemingly innocent lives.

    “We should be very concerned if the powerful are wrong. It costs people their lives.”

    Yes. It really does.

  2. John says:

    Thanks for the post, Evan.

    You speak of something very important here, and it is this: You base your convictions on experience. A great spiritual teacher once said that one experience is worth more than 100 hours of talking.

    It’s pretty easy to get into a purely hypothetical argument, and have whoever’s better at argument arrive at a “truth”, but if you have an experience, you can hold firm no matter what happens.

    Jodie Foster’s character at the end of Contact is a great example.

  3. Being a scientist I completely agree with you. 🙂

  4. Evan says:

    Thanks for your comment Kimberly. I really like what you are doing with your blog.

  5. Evan says:

    Thanks John. That spiritual teacher got it right I believe. I haven’t seen Contact I’m afraid. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Evan says:

    Hi Jean. I’m no scientist but I certainly believe that some things can be falsified. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Mark says:

    I’m wrong quite often. That’s why I don’t go out on the limb very far. I just poke and prod at things. Fortunately I’m not very powerful.

    I agree with you when you said being wrong can be liberating and embarrassing. It takes an awful lot of pressure off realizing this. {Big grin}

  8. Evan says:

    Hi Mark,
    I think I’m usually pretty cautious too. But sometimes I get het up about particular values that I hold dear. Then I can get into flaming. Thanks for dropping by.

  9. sarah luczaj says:

    FWIW I agree with you, Evan – but I am not sure that the ‘postmodern church’ isn’t a bit of a straw man – who actually espouses such an extreme view that nothing can be said to be “wrong” in any sense?

    oh and thanks for the ‘notify of follow up comments’ box!

  10. Evan says:

    Hi Sarah, Well, this post was written in response to the idea that all opinions are of equal value and deserve to be listened to and respected equally. I think the postmodern church has many adherents – they just don’t realise it. One common example is, “I think you are wrong but that is just my opinion”. I think it is the ‘just’ that is so pernicious. Thanks for your comment.

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