Monday, July 29, 2013

Questions for Non-Theists

Having a self-concept is unavoidable. We have to have a concept – think “understanding” - of anything we manage, whether a business, a car, or even our clothing. We need to know the nature of our clothing so that we can best care for them. We also need to know where to put the gas in our car and where to put the oil. Reversing them might prove catastrophic!

Likewise, we need to understand ourselves if we are going to manage our lives in a fruitful manner. I used to have a highly inflated self-esteem, and this cost me dearly. Even though I could not read music, I foolishly tried out for the lead role in a musical. How embarrassing!

We need a self-esteem based on truth. I just left this series of questions on a secular discussion group concerned about psychology and religion. Please pray that the Lord might use it to provoke some significant thinking:

How should we regard ourselves? Do we need a self-image and upon what is it to be based? For those of us who have come from loving families where the primary relationships provide our self-definition, this larger, ontological question might not seem relevant, at least until our lives get bogged down. In the long run, it is hard to avoid this question.

Along with it, is the question of handling our guilt and shame as we try to forge a positive self-identity that we can live with. Our culture teaches us that we can and should forgive ourselves and think good things about ourselves. However, can we take such self- or societally-generated messages seriously? Does it represent any more than a form of masturbation? Can they really give us the relief we crave? Or must the answer be found in the Transcendent – an ultimate and unchanging relationship?

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