I’m just going to say it up front – if your god is yourself, then God help you. Many people wouldn’t go so far as to call themselves the god of their own world for fear of sounding arrogant or even crazy, but the more I observe western culture in the present day, the more I discover most non-believers (including ex-believers) live this way. They believe in a god, it’s just a self-constructed one. I would argue that right now, the twenty-first century, in 2015 – the year of hover-boards and power laces, we are living in one of the hardest time periods to navigate if you want your life and your convictions to be anything but cold porridge (more on this analogy later). The twenty-first century has great benefits thanks to technological advances that mean we are easily connected, easily informed (at least on a basic level thanks to Google/Wikipedia) and easily entertained. Fortunately in the west we don’t live under oppressive political regimes and therefore consider ourselves fairly well versed in and blessed with freedom. Unfortunately though, despite this freedom we are in many ways selfish, stunted, slaves to a cruel dictator called uncertainty. Until fairly recently, even free/western societies held to core belief systems that guided moral standards, governance, logic and order. Not so today! Instead we inhabit an age of arrogance, in which a very vocal secular segment of society has thrown off any sense of objective morality and is determined to redefine right and wrong based on personal preference, effectively generating their own brand of ‘social responsibility’.
In arguably his most famous play, Shakespeare’s female protagonist asks a well known question about the substance of a name;
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
I haven’t really thought about this until now, but Shakespeare is like the king of the English language (other authors come and go but Shakespeare will seemingly forever be studied by English students) and yet in this very famous scene the character wants to disregard the word (in this case a surname) as a means of describing the idea or person that it represents. This of course goes against the grain of history in which names carried authority, tradition, and identity.
Similarly, 19th Century Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is quoted as saying
Now without getting into a full blown discussion on post-modernity, relativism, ‘progressive social norms’ and ‘subjective reality’ (I know, this sounds like an oxymoron, but I’ll leave that for later), I have to say both men were ahead of their time with the notion of wanting to strip words of their definitive meaning, instead freeing up concepts, ideas and even identities to remain undefined and unrestricted. However, I also think this notion is, at times, extremely unhelpful.
At the risk of sounding somewhat vague, I’m not sure exactly how to start (yes I know – not a very catchy opening line)! Words of introduction like “Hi, thanks for visiting” and “Welcome to my blog” seem all to cliche, although still appropriate. So for now I’ll just say “Hi, I’m new here.”
This isn’t something I’ve planned for a long time, nor is it something I’ve decided to do totally on a whim. I feel like there are so many voices already ‘clouding’ the online world (excuse the pun) that on one hand I wonder if mine will make a difference to anyone… or worse still – what if it just adds to the noise? On the other hand though, the further I go through my life journey (which is intrinsically linked to my Christian faith journey), the more I come to realise that each person really is fearfully and wonderfully made as a unique and separate person (you’d think this would be obvious), different from anyone else, and yet we are all connected through a common search for love, truth, joy, hope and purpose in this life.