Saturday, December 18, 2010

Culture's Obsession With Self-Help

Naturalism devalues humans to the point of being of equal value to dirt or having no value at all (neither does dirt, really; see short series "Human Equality and Naturalism"). This has created a psychological crisis of self-confidence. The culture has proposed what it thinks to be the, muscles, money, status, titles, power, education, "causes". People strive for these things constantly to the point of being obsessed, because they want to establish their value and be worthy of confidence (from themselves or other people).

This is self-defeating. If humanity has little or no value, why is confidence in humanity (thus, one's self) so important? In order to make life even seem like it is worth living (considering all the suffering involved), naturalism tells us that we have to place value on ourselves. Yet we know that that kind of value cannot simply be stated to be true- there must exist some foundation for the value, then it can be stated to be true. People will try to establish the foundation the way that naturalism offers (given above), but they do figure out that a foundation based on those things is only as strong as the value that culture places on them. Unfortunately, culture is fickle and changes what it believes to hold value constantly. When one person builds their value based on one thing, its value changes to being useless. All that time, effort, and resources were wasted, because their confidence is based on a value level, that is based on a foundation of relative value, that is based on a culture synonymous with A.D.D.

Anyone who wishes to establish a foundation for confidence is fighting a losing battle, and eventually they figure that out. Naturalism has no foundation for the value it has set on humanity. Following suit, it also has no foundation for the solution it has posed. This explains why people will pursue these "solutions" until they die, and still be unfulfilled, and why people will pursue these at any sacrifice (including moral sacrifices).

Man needs a solid foundation for his desire for confidence. Christianity offers this in the doctrine of the Imago Dei. Being created in the image of a Being of ultimate intrinsic value, gives us ultimate intrinsic value. That value gives us an unmovable foundation of value that our confidence can be based upon.

But that foundation is a double-edged sword. If we have reason to rely on ourselves, we have a solid foundation for having confidence. However, if we have reason to not rely on ourselves, we can be confident that we cannot rely on ourselves. So, which is it?

The Christian worldview holds that even though man is created in the Image of God and has ultimate intrinsic value, man fell from moral perfection and thus cannot be trusted. It seems that the fallen state of man can be evidenced by observing my own behavior (not always good) and my own thoughts (not the nicest they could be), not to mention all the other things that people do that we would label as "wrong" (look at people around you and history).

Since man cannot be trusted, there is a reason to not have confidence in man (either oneself or another). So, we can't have confidence in ourselves from a Naturalistic perspective or the Christian perspective...where am I going with this? You'll have to wait until next week. :)

Here are a couple articles by Clay Jones that touches on this issue:
Ayn Rand- The Bad
Any Rand- The Ugly Self-Esteem Movement

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