Monday, 20 December 2010

Modern Guilt

One of our discussions reminded me of one of my many aborted blog posts sitting in the drafts of this blog. Since it's back in my mind, I decided to dust it off a little and post.

One of the things I find interesting about human nature is how adverse we are to anything that might be unpleasant, even that which is good. I think it says a lot about our incurvatus and how pathetically desperate we are to maintain it. So here we are, creating many theories and religions and devices to prove that unpleasantness isn't really real, much less necessary. Even we Christians have our Word-Faith heresies.

I was recently reminded of how we, in our narcissism, now tend to see guilt as a deadly enemy. Guilt is unpleasant evil, and one couldn't possibly feel guilt because they are guilty. Oh anything but that.   That kind of attitude just keeps one from being truly happy. Guilt is no consequence of your wrongdoing-it's the problem. And the solution then is to remove the sting of it, and re-label your sins, yourself.

But this dresses the wound only slightly and proclaims double fold peace when there is no peace at all. How can there be peace when we rip ourselves from our creator and then pretend we can "walk it off" as we bleed out all over the place? So we go through life suffering a vague and unsettling sort of "modern guilt"-like the song says, we don't know what we've done but we do feel ashamed.

This I think is captured well here;
The sad thing here is that this flight from guilt means not only a life of delusion, but a life of spiritual misery. If you are guilty, you are alienated from God, and you flee from Him. Then you are lonely at a fundamental level, because only God understands you deeply and can supply the deep fellowship that you yearn for. Cut off from God, your life is meaningless, because meaning flows from God. In addition, you lose capacity genuinely to befriend other people, because you can't admit your guilt to them. Instead of loving others, you are caught up with maintaining your own self-esteem—your own pride. You are swirling in a downward spiral toward death.

Vern Poythress (see the rest of this article here)

A spiral of death-orbiting around my navel.

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