Thursday, March 7

In our attempt to live as free men, we must recognise that what we believe about ourselves is of secondary importance to what we believe about our relationship to our Maker. Butler Shaffer has some very clear ideas about reclaiming self-ownership, ideas that deserve consideration. But he utterly fails to ackowledge that it is impossible for a man to be free if he worships any God other than the one who has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures.

How can this be?

Because we are creations whereas He is the Creator. We cannot understand our role in the universe apart from this central fact. We do not belong to ourselves, we belong to Him who created us.

In spite of these criticisms, Shaffer makes some powerful points. I quote here two paragraphs that illustrate both the weakness and the strength of his position:

All of this is a way of reminding ourselves that our claims to individual autonomy – or self-ownership – must, by their very nature, find their roots deep within that realm of existential loneliness that defines the human spirit. You will make your claim – or not – on the strength of the inner resources you find therein.

Not strictly true. Self-autonomy is the single biggest lie humans believe. But otherwise, this next bit is very good....

Neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you "how" or even "whether" to assert such a claim, anymore than one can direct another to "be spontaneous."

We can, however, offer one another that which our divisive, politicized thinking has long caused us to disregard: mutual support for the protection of our sense of humanity. We have conditioned our minds to regard as transgressions either violations of our group’s interests, or those directed against identifiable minority groups. We have, in other words, so thoroughly collectivized our sense of "rights" that, if an individual who has been brutalized by the state doesn’t happen to be a member of some recognized collective, it scarcely attracts our attention.

One of the most profound fruits of the reformation was the certain knowledge that all men were creatures, and therefore made in the image of God. Even though not all willingly acknowledge Him as the Creator, each is still worthy of respect simply by virtue of being an expression of the Creator's genius.

No comments: