Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ego Gone Amuck

By Brenda Black

“We are the first society to be living in a world where we don't worship anything besides ourselves,” says Alain de Botton, Swiss/British writer, philosopher, television presenter and entrepreneur. “Our heros are human heros. This is a very new situation. Most other societies have had right at their center the worship of something transcendent – a god, a spirit, a natural force, the universe. Whatever it is, something else is being worshipped. We've lost the habit of doing that.”

Earlier in his TEDtalks presentation on success and failure, Botton quotes St. Augustine: “It's a sin to judge any many by his post.” He then goes on to explain Augustine's perspective with his own creative edits. Botton says, “Only God can really put people in their place and he's going to do that on the day of judgment with angels and trumpets and the skies will open. Insane idea if you are a secularist person like me. But something very valuable in that idea, nevertheless. In other words, hold your horses when you're coming to judge people. You don't really know what someone's true value is.”

How can a secularist see the problem with such an egocentric society who has forsaken worship and sets itself up as judge, yet condemns the omnipotence of a the one true God who is worthy? How can one who appears to respect the grace and justice of God, discount His power over the affairs of man?
First Botton clarifies the vacuum in which humans exist apart from God. “We've lost the habit of [worship] which is why I think we are particularly drawn to nature. Not for the sake of health, thought it is often presented that way, but because it is an escape from the human ant hill...We like to feel in contact with something that is non-human and that is so deeply important to us.” Then, on the heels of pointing out the error of humanism, Botton falls prey to it, concluding his “inspirational” message with, “Make sure we are the authors of our own ambitions. Focus in...”

Whip lash reasoning at its best! Just because a person refuses to acknowledge God, doesn't make God disappear. Choosing to deny deity doesn't elevate humanity. It only makes our ant-like status more miniscule. For in refusing to believe in God and substituting worship of Him for worship in ourselves, we become less powerful, more ignorant, less capable and more desperate.

Ironically, this same talk began with Botton defining snobbery. A snob is anybody who takes a small part of you and uses that to come to a complete view of who you are,” he says. “The opposite of a snob is the ideal mother – someone who doesn't care about your achievements.”

So just who is the snob? Is it the secularist who takes God and puts Him in a box and tells Him He doesn't exist or shall have no participation in life on earth? Or is it the Christ who doesn't care about your achievements, He just loves you to death, even death on a cross?

I think I'll keep God at the center of my universe where I'll gladly worship Him. I'd rather feel more like a child of the King than an ant in the dirt. And with the Lord on the throne where He rightly belongs, success is guaranteed.

 “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18)

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