Reading a novel after reading semiotic theory was like jogging empty-handed after jogging with hand weights. What exquisite guilt she felt, wickedly enjoying narrative! Madeleine felt safe with a nineteenth century novel. There were going to be people in it. Something was going to happen to them in a place resembling the world. Then too there were lots of weddings in Wharton and Austen. There were all kinds of irresistible gloomy men.
Women's liberation is one thing, but the permeation of anti-male sentiment in post-modern popular culture - from our mocking sitcom plots to degrading commercial story lines - stands testament to the ignorance of society. Fair or not, as the lead gender that never requested such a role, the historical male reputation is quite balanced. For all of their perceived wrongs, over centuries they've moved entire civilizations forward, nurtured the human quest for discovery and industry, and led humankind from inconvenient darkness to convenient modernity. Navigating the chessboard that is human existence is quite a feat, yet one rarely acknowledged in modern academia or media. And yet for those monumental achievements, I love and admire the balanced creation that is man for all his strengths and weaknesses, his gifts and his curses. I would venture to say that most wise women do.
What was true of an ancient community of Christian believers struggling with a powerful and appealing philosophy is also true for Christians in a postmodern context. Arguments that deconstruct the regimes of truth at work in the late modern culture of global capitalism are indispensable. So also is a deeper understanding of the counterideological force of the biblical tradition. But such arguments are no guarantee that the biblical metanarrative will not be co-opted for ideological purposes of violent exclusion, nor do arguments prove the truth of the gospel. Only the nonideological, embracing, forgiving and shalom-filled life of a dynamic Christian community formed by the story of Jesus will prove the gospel to be true and render the idolatrous alternatives fundamentally implausible.
The radical hermeneutic of suspicion that characterizes all of post-modernity is essentially nihilistic, denying the very possibility of creative or healing love. In the cross and resurrection of Jesus we find the answer: the God who made the world is revealed in terms of a self-giving love that no hermeneutic of suspicion can ever touch, in a Self that found itself by giving itself away, in a Story that was never manipulative but always healing and recreating, and in a Reality that can truly be known, indeed to know which is to discover a new dimension of knowledge, the dimension of loving and being loved.
In this atmosphere of general discouragement, it is tempting to attack something that is sufficiently linked to the powers-that-be so as not to appear very sympathetic, but sufficiently weak to be a more-or-less accessible target (since the concentration of power and money are beyond reach). Science fulfills these conditions, and this partly explains the attacks against it.