Sunday, May 24, 2009

The No Metanarrative Fallacy

Some of you may have read of the view of many emergents who reject metannaratives, the view that there is one overarching view of the world that is true and correct, claiming it to be abusive and a power trip. They do this having taken on board uncritically the view of postmodernism.

You will often hear "postmodernists" explain either their rejection of a metanarrative or in relation to all religions having part of the truth by using the example of the 6 blind men and the elephant. Where one has hold of the tail and claims this is the reality, another has hold of the trunk and says this is it, another has a leg, and another the ear and so on. Or that each person has partial religious truth and is to be respected for it's their perspective.

Without going into whether this is an epistemological rejection of an overarching view of reality or a rejection of metaphysical perspective per se we can see what they are getting at. It is I believe an illustration used by advocates of religious pluralism and radical skepticism. See Greg Koukle's article The Trouble with the Elephant.

However, have they a case to argue using this illustration or analogy? One thing that is often ignored but pointed out by Leslie Newbingen is that while there are 6 blind men groping around the elephant, we and the narrator of the story actually see the whole elephant. That is, at least the person using the analogy is claiming a total comprehension of reality. They themselves claim to know it all in order to be able to use the analogy in saying each of the 6 blind men only have part of the truth but it is truth as far as it goes and true for them!

You see, the person using this anaolgy is actually usurping the place of God who is omniscient and omniresent. That is, God who is the only one in the position to know everything and know it truly. He alone knows how it all fits together. And some of this he has revealled to us in Scripture. Not every known fact there is, but how it relates to Him as Creator., as Sovereign Personal Triune God.

Grasping this will help immensly in speaking and communicating with the present unbelieving generation.

In Christ,


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