Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Obama, Postmodernism and the Definition of Sin

There's a devastating column by Jonah Goldberg exposing Barak Obama's postmodern and morally relativist thinking. Moral relativism is the belief that there are no absolutes; that each person decides what is right and wrong. Postmodernism, as described by Chuck Colson in How Now Shall We Live?, "rejects any notion of a universal, overarching truth and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender, and ethnicity."

Goldberg points to the self absorption of Obama and his campaign as evidencing this postmodern mindset.
The Obama campaign has a postmodern feel to it because more than anything else, it seems to be about itself. Its relationship to reality is almost theoretical. Sure, the campaign has policy proposals, but they are props to advance the narrative of a grand movement existing in order to be a movement galvanized around the singular ideal of movement-ness. Obama's followers are, to borrow from David Hasselhoff — another American hugely popular in Germany — hooked on a feeling. "We are the ones we have been waiting for!" Well, of course you are.
What I found fascinating and disconcerting are Obama's religious views which only confirm this relativist, postmodern streak. Goldberg pulls a gem out of an interview Obama gave back in a 2004. When asked, "What is sin?" Obama's response? "Being out of alignment with my values."

Now Obama identifies himself clearly as a Christian. When asked what he believed, Obama states unequivocally: "I am a Christian." The problem with his view of sin is it's a decidedly non Christian view of sin. Sin is a transgression of God's laws not an individual's values.

Obama goes on to say: "So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where already there are a lot of Eastern influences...And I'd say, probably I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith...So I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."

Here again Obama's postmodern, relativist thinking comes out. "I believe there are many paths to the same place." Again, that is a very non Christian perspective. Jesus was very unequivocal about Him being the way, the truth and the life.

The lessons to be drawn from Obama's comments are one, he is confused about what Christianity believes which isn't unique, because many people who identify themselves as Christian are equally confused, but second, his lack of a moral compass. He is the decider of what's right and wrong, not an objective standard.

I wonder if that's what's at play with his flip flop on so many issues. He has changed is views not because he's received new information and simple believes the new position is the right one. Rather, it's because he will do whatever it takes to advance his personal goals and ambitions; anything done in furtherance of personal ambitions is fine.

Now this isn't necessarily anything new for politicians. Many take positions or change them simply because it's to their advance politically. But Obama holds himself out as something different. A deeply spiritual man. A man driven by ideals. A broader vision.

This postmodern, relativist streak reveals something much different. A person driven by what advances himself.

For this reason, McCain's focus on Obama's character is wise. Is this the sort of president we want in the White House? Somebody with a shifting moral compass; driven by self and not bound by principles and a higher moral standard? We had that for eight years in the 1990s and things didn't go well.

1 comment:

mom said...

Somebody with a shifting moral compass

some fun facts on flip flops and moral compas on John McCain. As a religious right group, tell me how you defend these. If you are brave enough.

just to name a few, I could list more.......

The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill

McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but has since decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks. (Indeed, McCain has now hired Falwell’s debate coach.)


McCain used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he reversed course in February.

He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations

He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year

In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

McCain supported a major campaign-finance reform measure that bore his name. In June, he abandoned his own legislation.

McCain used to think that Grover Norquist was a crook and a corrupt shill for dictators. Then McCain got serious about running for president and began to reconcile with Norquist

McCain took a firm line in opposition to torture, and then caved to White House demands.

McCain gave up on his signature policy issue, campaign-finance reform, and won’t back the same provision he sponsored just a couple of years ago.

McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws

And now he’s both for and against overturning Roe v. Wade.