Before attempting to jump into a discussion of this sentence I want to first try and wrap my mind around some of the major points of postmodernism. From what we discussed in class I think postmodernism is, at its roots, a response. Where modernism said Science was absolute truth, postmodernism responded by saying no such thing existed. In response to clear boundaries, especially in the arts, lines were blurred and genres were crossed. A strong sense of individualism was replaced with conflicting identities. Following an age that valued consumerism and tended to ignore the less fortunate this worldview developed with the marginalized and a "healthy" skepticism of truth in mind. I say "healthy" because I believe the initial mistrust of truth was caused by our strong belief in the supremacy of scientific advancement and our overwhelming consumer capitalism. In that sense I agree that it is indeed healthy to examine the choices that say we should destroy our environment for the sake of "progress" or ignore the poor for the sake of our wealth rather than blindly accepting them. However, I think that is about the point where I stop agreeing with postmodernism. From what I understand the postmodernist distrust of truth stretches much further. One example of this is "The Postmodern idea that religious beliefs are private preferences ... because no one religion can be true" (Noebel 81). As a Christian I strongly disagree with this idea. I also tend to disagree with their overall distrust of metanarratives. While I do agree that it is important to examine the world's truths I think it is wrong to say there are no universal truths or ideas. One example of this, an example that will actually provide a nice segue into a discussion of the sentence if you bear with me, is the statement "God so loved the world." For a postmodernist this statement does not work; first because they don't believe in the existence of God and second because it creates a metanarrative for the whole world. The ironic thing is that by saying there are no metanarratives postmodernists are in fact creating a metanarrative (Noebel 120).
This is where the sentence comes in. I believe it is another example of the somewhat ironic and seemingly apparent double standard of postmodernism. I have a feeling Foucault or Derrida could look at that sentence and provide an eloquent explanation of why they agree with it. When I look at it, on the other hand, I see a logical statement that is trying to make a point about the illogicalness of language. To me it exists as a contradiction in the same way that claiming there are no metanarratives creates a contradictory metanarrative.
Along those same lines postmodernists also possess great skepticism about language. Jacques Derrida, a postmodern French philosopher, strongly believed in the concept of deconstruction. This literary methodology criticizes texts by claiming it is impossible for the reader to interpret them without applying their own biases, assumptions, and prejudices (Noebel 120). Therefore the words and language we use can never actually describe the "true" world because they are merely a representation of the biased words we've been conditioned to use. This is another reason why the given sentence is a good representation of postmodernism. The sentence would serve no logical purpose because the words used to create it are subject to the interpretation of each individual who reads it. Each individual would apply their own truth and knowledge to the sentence, rendering it incapable of possessing one true, logical purpose. A classic example of this is Belgian Rene Magritte's painting The Treachery of Images. In this painting the words "This is not a pipe" are written below a painting of a pipe. Magritte's goal was to show that images are merely representations of objects, not actual objects themselves. In the same way that the pipe is not a true pipe the sentence is not a true statement.
While I disagree with most of the main points of postmodernism, I feel as though I'm approaching the topic with a negative attitude (which, unfortunately, plays right into Derrida's point). There are key fundamental differences between this view and my Christian view that make it hard for me to approach the topic with an open mind. But in the spirit of not disagreeing with postmodernism from a postmodern standpoint I can say that I see contradictions within their beliefs and for that reason choose not to agree with them. Postmodernism isn't all bad, however. As Andy Glenn Stanton writes in a Christianity Today article, "The death of modernism has us listening anew to a rumor of angels... and rediscovering the supernatural. It finds us seeking something more. That is the postmodern turn. It doesn't promise good things for the church, but it does provide a massive opportunity, if only we will seize it" (1). If anything this postmodern trend is an opportunity for us as the church to step up and share the good news we've been given. We might have to find new ways to explain that God loves the world, but I think we're up to the challenge.