Thursday, June 5, 2008

Take two and call me in the morning!

Lately my husband and I have been discussing the "triumphant power of inner beauty and strength" doctrine. This is definitely the favorite philosophy of our culture. Prominent media personalities (including presidential candidates) are always pulling this card to incite a little excitement and support. The idea is that the "human spirit" is inherently good and that humans are capable of changing the world with unharnessed positive energy. Ultimately, goodness and beauty does not come from God. As a matter of fact, many people who believe in this idea either deny the existence of God altogether or dismiss the issue and unimportant. My husband said this much more eloquently but here's what I'm thinking:

a) What exactly does the "beautiful human spirit" triumph over? All the horror that was in the world 1000 years ago is still here today. We have not "triumphed" over evil, we've just given it a new name.
b) In my experience, people are not good. Yes, some people are nice and do "good" things, but I have yet to meet an infallible human. Even those of us who are covered by grace are "prone to wander." All you have to do is drive on any freeway in Phoenix during the week to witness the inherent sinfulness of man.
c) This idea of beauty and goodness (especially as it applies to humans) would not be known to us at all if we had not been made in the image of God. God is the origin and embodiment of goodness and beauty and strength. The fact that we are His image bearers is why we even are able to know of those things. Where we go wrong is when we apply the concept of beauty and goodness to our "spirit"without acknowledging our Creator. His grace alone can make us beautiful and strong.

This leads me to another point that is moderately related:

The idea of inherent goodness (apart from God) in man logically sets a very high standard for human behavior. . The reasoning is simple: if men are inherently good, then their behavior should be nearly perfect. Obviously, this is not the case. Not only do humans not exhibit perfect behavior, we revel in poor behavior (just turn on your TV). Humans in general have relatively poor control over their emotions and actions. People who deny the sinfulness of man often can't understand why they feel depressed or sick, or guilty. We usually blame this on low self esteem or some kind of "chemical imbalance." Children who misbehave are labeled with a disease and given pills to "modify" behavior that love and discipline could easily correct. Our culture says everything goes and no to "normalcy," yet we pump pills into ourselves and any other person who exhibits undesirable (aka abnormal) tendencies.

In conclusion, I believe (as I'm sure many readers of this blog would agree), Christians should be setting the example by developing a consistent worldview that has a right understanding of the condition of man. Our culture should be learning from us to not cling to the facade of supremacy and autonomy, but to take the path of reason that will ultimately lead to the Creator.

1 comment:

Coffee Snob said...


Thanks for this not-so-gentle reminder of our inherent (dare I say it?) EVIL.

If in fact humans are basically good and getting better all the time (evolution, remember?) - then yes, the world should be a better place today than it was a hundred years ago. Sadly, we see far too many examples of just the opposite.

I've been pondering some of the same ideas in recent weeks - (Thanks for stealing one of my ideas for a future blog! ;~)