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War of the Words

by Hiram R. Diaz III

Philosophers have moved away from postmodernism, primarily under the influence of criticisms raised by philosophers in the so-called analytical tradition. However, the postmodern ethos has worked its way into much of Western society by way of literary theory, historiography, and popular media. Much of the language being used in “conversations” about “decentering” “privileged” “power structures” “complicit” in “marginalizing” “the other,” for instance, is postmodern jargon. More than that, the ideas that are conveyed by such jargon are also postmodern, as they center around the idea that systematicity-in-itself is a social construct which, therefore, does not represent objective reality but the version of reality embrace/formed by historically ensconced people groups who use their peculiar understanding of reality to gain power, maintain power, and oppress those who are not part of their in-group. 

Dominant views of reality, therefore, are viewed by postmodernists as expressions of political power. As for the institutions that teach – explicitly or implicitly – the dominant view of reality, they are power structures perpetuating the oppression of l’autre, the Other. The Other is simply that, some existent thing (person, place, experience, etc) that does not fit into the dominant view of reality. According to the postmodernists, the Other disrupts the categories definitive of the dominant view of reality and exposes its human, non-rational, socio-political, open-ended, and fragile origin and nature. Consequently, the Other being identified as a criminal, subversive, deviant, transgressor, etc is a last resort act of power executed by the defenders of the dominant view of reality in an attempt to save what has been revealed to be a transient social construct.

Postmodernists, therefore, typically characterize any attempts at refuting opposition to the dominant view as acts of aggression and hate rooted in fearfulness. This is because once you deny that knowledge of objective reality can be obtained by means universally shared by humans, you reduce all human interaction of this kind to a war of words, an eternal power struggle that cannot be resolved. At best the power struggle can only be alleviated by means of conversation/dialogue, socio-political negotiations which result in either the construction of a new dominant view of reality, or one that results in the dominant view of reality loosening its hegemonic epistemological grip.

Could They Be Right?

Of course the irony here is that postmodernists want their view to be the dominant view of reality. They do not really hate universality and absoluteness, but a view of universality and absoluteness that does not allow their consciences to ignore the fact that they are engaged in rebellion against the Absolute, Universal, Dominant One and his objective revelation of objective reality. Man never lost his responsibility to order creation via language – as Adam did in Gen 2:19-20 – but his desire to do so in subjection to God’s revealed order. After the Fall, man sought, and still seeks, to go beyond the categories of being and thinking established by God. Put more simply: Fallen is trying to be God, and it shows in how he uses language.

So while the postmodernists are wrong to assert that the war of words they talk so much about is the inevitable consequence of historical, material, and purely human conflicts over the acquisition and maintenance of power, they are right to think they are engaged in a war of words. Their opponent is not “modernists,” however, but God. Rather than subjecting themselves to the Word of God, they say – 

“With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
(Ps 12:4)

They speak against the God of heaven, failing to realize that his Word always prevails over his enemies. They forgot the Scripture which declares that 

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  


From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.(Rev 19:14-15) 

In this sense, then, the postmodernists are right. They are embroiled in a battle with God over what can and cannot be said to be definitive or explicative of reality. Fallen man is at war with the Word of God, the Divine Second Person of the Trinity who, with the Father and the Spirit, defined the structure of all things in the beginning according to his eternal decree, and sustains the universe now by the word of his power. 

His Word will not pass away.

The Battle is the Lord’s

Therefore, we endure in speaking the truth. Our words are only valuable insofar as they echo, reflect, or quote verbatim the words of Yahweh. Our words will only endure forever to the glory of God insofar as they glorify him, and not glorify ourselves or the ideas of men who stand opposed to the faith. It is not us who are acting in violence by proclaiming the Word of God, but the enemies of Christ who initiate attacks against the Sovereign of the universe in an attempt to rid themselves of his Sovereign rule.

So as they attack the foundations of the truth in order to overthrow the truth, let us boldly and unapologetically reinforce those divinely revealed, immovable, and glorious foundations.