Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Humility and Reality

" ...self-deception is everywhere and it affects our ability to be honest with ourselves."

"...beginning with Kierkegaard, the existentialists (including Sartre, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and others) elevated authenticity to a place of primary importance in their understanding of the virtues. Due to the writings of the existentialists and other cultural trends, the "Good Person" was increasingly understood to be the "Authentic Person." Being true to oneself became a--or, in some cases, the--chief good. Self-deception, then, was given a promotion in the ranking of vices. What was once a derivative vice--one whose primary importance was found in its ability to facilitate other, more serious, vices--became itself the most egregious of all sins."

As much as 'being real' has become a part of the human conversation, it has taken a mind of its own in establishing itself as the 'self' of understanding and with that impetus has become delusional. This 'new-found' honesty; 'being real' are phrases which are by-words of this current culture. Many are using this 'new' opportunity to express themselves to gain noteriety. Yes, I believe there is a sincere place for honest and revealing discussion about the harms and injustices committed in the world, however, the objective of the discussion should determine the motivation and context for the discussion. There has been an emphasis on the ability of a story to 'shock' people by its horrific content; there has been an emphasis in the story which tends to glorify the past life in its atrocious  behaviour. Although I believe that is not the intent, it has tainted the story with the stain and has diminished the opportunity for the story to focus upon the cleansing of God in the personal life of the believer. These lives we have and are living are a reality, but are they "the state of things as they actually exist"? In many ways our perspective is the result of personal interpretation and that interpretation is affected by the unique experiences of the individual. That sense of reality, my honest evaluation of events as they pertain to me, are derivative and dependent upon the personal structure of my mental and spiritual state and that 'perceived' reality acts as an interpretive function of all of life. I may never transcend my reality, or recognize a need, to experience a non-derivative and independent existence beyond the strictures of the structure embedded in my mental and spiritual life. Whether people realize it or not, freedom begins in the heart, mind and soul.

As people we really do not move in the context of reality, this physical life we live is governed by the 'laws' of nature; the governance of scientific explanation, however, we as individuals have certian freedoms in terms of relating that scientific explanation; this physical life, as conditional to our beliefs. The reality (physical; scientific) is consistent, it is the interpretation (belief) that is different, not the cause of the event.

Many believe theopraxy (God is the good we do) and orthopraxy ('correct belief' compels 'correct action') are indicative of a greater moral progression. We have become deluded in thinking we are better people because we have better beliefs. Authenticity, being 'good', and theo-praxy have become merely another form of self-delusion. Self-delusion is a reality, but only for those who are spectators. The view through the looking glass of personal discernment will reflect an image that is linked to reality, but will never be reality. 1 Cor. 13;12, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, ..." the clarity of perspective needed to accurately appraise our spiritual state of being is obscured in personal reflection. Job has a profound and touching moral defense in Chapter 31. "Is it morality that we seek? Or that Job seeks? He achieves his desire. But not because he deserved it for moral behaviour. And it should not be so hard for us with the revelation of Jesus Christ as it were - behind us. But then that's the problem - we see its back when it is the face to face that we need." James 1: 23,24 "... if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was."These beliefs touting moral progress have had little affect on the ability of man to acknowledge 'sin', to deal with guilt and to have redemptive power. Yes, many will provide reasonable arguments of the change brought about by this paradigm shift in philosophical thinking, however, it must be asked if any change has occurred? or if any change that has occurred has any redeemable value for man?

The essence of change should be indicated by a universal shift in the dynamics of human association and interaction from the recurrent state of animosity and mistrust to a state of cooperation and mutual beneficence. "Writing in the 1790s, Kant argued that the “moral tendency” of humanity was, like human knowledge as a whole, destined to carry on getting better till there was no room for further improvement: humanity was imbued, he thought, with a transcendental impulse to refine and clarify its moral opinions as time goes by, or to grow in moral intelligence."

"One of the most intriguing questions about morality, it seems to me, is what happens when it changes. What happens, for example, when the subordination of women to men, or their exclusion from higher education or the professions, ceases to seem innocuous or natural, and starts to be regarded as a grotesque abuse? Or when corporal punishment goes out of style, and homosexuality comes to be tolerated or even respected, or when cruelty to animals arouses indignation rather than indifference, and recklessness with natural resources becomes a badge not of magnificence but of monstrous irresponsibility?" "A Christian is a choice that depends on certain "faith stances", which are not based solely on scientific evidence. So, Christians are biased (prejuidiced), but do they handle their prejuidices with "justice"...(?)" Is it morality we are seeking? Is it justice we are seeking? Society tends to equate the two as attaining the same outcome, morality will achieve justice, justice will in turn be indicative of our morals. I believe this is being achieved by the current agenda. At what cost as is yet undetermined, but I believe there will be a price to pay.

Without question the view of morality in the preceeding paragraph outlines some critical issues of our time and represents a moral improvement as deemed by politcal correctness and a liberal media perspective. What needs to be addressed is not necessarily the change in public opinion or popular dynamics, but the central issue of the heart of man. Specifically the heart of man in relation to God. What is missing in the 'view from the top' of the liberal media point-of-view is the accountability to the higher power of God's authority. Without doubt we view life from a personal pespective, which by my own admission is reflected in my decision-making, choices, prejudices and biases. "All of us are prejudiced in different areas of our "commitments", otherwise, we could not be committed to goals or purposes. The question is not if we are prejuidiced but what do we do with that prejuidice. Is the prejuidice justly handled and acknowledged by ourselves?"

Perspective is not truth in and of itself. Truth is not determined by a personal view. Hence, morality is not determined by humanity. The moral fabric of our current society is at odds with truth (from a Christian view). The most important determinant of moral fabric has been lost in the human conversation, because it has denied God an essential part of value in the conversation.
At issue is still the huge chasm which exists between the polarized camps of the right-wing conservatives, predominantly Judeo-Christian view, and the left-wing liberal, predominantly secular-humanist view. There can be no reconcilition between these two camps, as it is impossible for one camp to deny God and the other camp to acknowledge God.  One camp accepts God's justice as fair and equitable recognizing God's authority and His provision of salvation. The other camp can not afford that option or belief. They live with the fear of admitting that they might at times really be living in illusions? And case in point, throw in the face of Christianity the same argument of being enchanted. The point that must be made is that without something to guide the appraisal of justice and morality, something which enables discernment we will remain lost in the void. Perhaps we ought to focus more on the meaning and importance of "humility", humbleness, which is the essential stumbling-block of left-wing thought and the point of clarity for the right-wing.

Each agenda assumes a sense of  "mens sana in corpore sano", "a sound mind in a sound body,". This is a contradiction of terms, an oxy-moron, because it would have a man possessed of his own religion allowing for the pleasures of life without any cost and a man possessed of Christ denying the inherent flaw of his own nature. Humanist-secular thought seeks to insure the recipient of a reward by merely assuming a self-proclaimed form of asceticism; a self-willed, arbitray humility to an agenda of personal choice. I-do-good therefore I-am-good. "No sane man can afford to dispense with debilitating pleasures; no ascetic can be considered reliably sane." Such is the thought behind the premise.

Humility is not an inherent characteristic in a man, it is an understanding of a man's relationship to his environment, his fellow man and the revelation that God, an all-powerful, all-knowing, God exists. Being humble means, in a transitive state, "to lower (someone) in dignity", it is interesting that it is not a personal action, but relys on the actions of another.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Truth in Christianity is not described but experienced. This is not then the affirmation of some objective description concerning Truth but rather describes a relation with the Truth. In other words, Truth is God and having knowledge of the Truth is evidenced, not in a doctrinal system, but in allowing that Truth to be incarnated in one's life. Peter Rollins
Faith goes much deeper than justifying our next actions. Faith may be integral to the structure of consciousness itself, the "stream bed" guiding and supporting the "stream of consciousness".
Faith is not just about action but about the very fabric and structure of consciousness.