Most of you know that I am a confirmed Bible, history, and worldview nerd. That is why when I arrived at work today to the shock that Hello Kitty’s questionable identity was a “breaking news story” by many, I found myself in a quandary as to whether to be amused or in be despair. Before I receive emails telling me to lighten up or to realize what is meant as tongue-in-cheek humor, let me make a few introductory jabs at this entire fiasco.
If Hello Kitty is a little girl, I feel for her now that she is in her 40’s and still wears a full length kitty costume (or is it a kitty costume?). If Hello Kitty is not a cat, then is it possible that I should be concerned about the prescriptions I have from Dr. Dre? If Hello Kitty is not a cat, should I be horrified to learn that Taylor Swift may not be either a pop or country artist, but rather a punk rocker who dresses in an understated way? Please forgive me for these - but I hope it does show that I do grasp humor - well at least I think I do. Actually I may have just engaged in horribly depressive hate speech disguised as humor? Who knows any more?
I hope that this exercise helps you understand my main point in this article. I do not care who Hello Kitty is - except that, come on folks, that’s a kitty! But in our postmodern world in which truth is in the eye of the beholder, your kitty does not have to be a kitty. In order to get a ton of free press, as well as increased sales of Hello What-ever-you-are (which I believe should be the new “truth in advertising” ruling against Hello Kitty), all you have to do is make an outlandish claim that what is clear to everyone, everywhere - is actually a 40 year old, clever ruse. (Note: by the way I think Hello What-ever-you-are is better than Hello Creepy-40-year-old-cat-dressing-freak - don’t you think?) But back to my point about our postmodern society.
This entire situation is actually a good example of our postmodern thinking. Imagine with me this entire story back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. People would not have probably even considered arguing that their kitty was not actually a cat because it stands on two legs, and it has a pet cat named “Charmy-kitty.” (Boy is that a future cover story waiting to be written - “Charmy-kity” confesses to being a cat trapped in a dog’s body!”) But I digress yet again - sorry folks but this one truly brings out the sarcasm in me.
Let me get to my point. Postmodern thinking says, “What you believe to be true, is true.” It is true because you believe it to be true. No one has any right to tell you your beliefs or practices are wrong as long as you think that are true, are not hurting anybody. This has what has paraded for truth, or I guess at least anit-truth, for years in our educational systems, as well as among certain philosophers and deep thinkers. But there is a problem here - and I would like to use a well-known children’s story (although it can be a bit racy) to illustrate my point.
Enter the emperor, stage right. As he enters, it is apparent to all that the man is completely naked - as the day he was born. There are all the tell-tale signs that he is naked - such as - well . . . nakedness. As he rides or struts across the room, showing off what he thinks to be his new duds, all the post-modern ones in the crowd collude with him about his nakedness. They oooh and ahhh at the latest in minimalist fashion (yeah, minimalist is an understatement for a guy who should at least have on underwear) as they all agree together to lie about their ruler’s current unclothed state. Now for my personal million dollar question. “Is this guy naked?”
Maybe we should listen to the tailors who tell us that he is not naked. They assert that he is clothed in kingly splendor no matter what he is wearing. We are also told that clothes do not make the man. We are chided that our view of clothing is outdated, pedestrian, and nude-phobic. We need to get with the times so we can understand why we have such a narrow definition of clothes. I can tell you why I have that narrow definition. It is because the king in the story WAS NAKED! It does not matter to me what he or anyone else there believed - naked means, not having on any clothes. He does not have on any clothes, therefore, he is naked.
Now, having put a huge bullseye on my back that I am woefully out of touch with current trends (For which I daily thank God - Who’s Word IS truth - and Who has also defined nakedness pretty clearly in the Scriptures. By the way, He also defines who we should see naked - which is an incredibly more narrow list than what the world currently embraces.) I would like to comment on Hello Kitty for the last time, and then hopefully make a point concerning epistemology (Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.) Hello Kitty is a cat. Granted whatever weird version of a cat in a cartoon form is eventually agreed upon - that is a cat. People have bought into Hello Kitty for years as a cat, and since I’ve never seen a zipper on the cartoon version - or any of its multitudinous money-making products - I’m gonna go with the whole cat idea. Why wouldn’t we think Hello Kitty is not a cat?
We are engaged in this ridiculous news story - and the ensuing ridiculous commentary (mine included) because the creator of Hello Kitty believes that his Kitty is not a cat. In earlier (non post-modern enlightened decades) we would have written this whole thing off as a story illustrating someone who needs to re-take Biology 101. Or honestly, we would have shrugged and thought that the creator of this cartoon, albeit very gifted at kitty drawing, takes his cartoon a little too seriously. But in our post-modern society, this is what passes for a tongue-in-cheek breaking news story. Yet, here is what disturbs me a little.
We have been led to believe by post-modern thinking that if someone believes something is true - then it is true and we should let them hold that belief without criticism. If that is true, why is it that those who believe in God are treated with greater disdain than the Hello Kitty creator? There is actually epistemological support for belief in God according to classic apologetics. Even widely held philosophy has valid arguments for the existence of God. Yet, in spite of all this, bible-believing Christians who hold to the existence of God are being treated as if they are some sort of factually challenged freaks. If you really want to see an escalation of rhetoric, look at what is being said about those who say homosexuality is sin according to God’s Word - or that life begins at conception and what is in a woman’s womb is not just a blob of tissue, but a living child who deserves adequate protection from harm. There is where the lie of post-modern thinking is exposed.
You see, it is perfectly reasonable to defend Hello Kitty. What is utterly indefensible according to many in our society today is bible-believing Christianity. What is indefensible is anyone who believes in the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus Christ. What is indefensible is the audacity of believing that there are 10 commandments applicable to the morals of present day society. And thus the facade of post-modernism is revealed. What we have here is not a philosophy that embraces all views, but rather a pseudo-philosophy that embraces the Kitty - but throws out the dangerous idea that God might actually exist. Now there is a breaking news story!