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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

American Idol

Are you watching American Idol? I'm not. (Is it even on?) So this isn't about that show.

John Calvin called the human heart an idol factory. We just produce idols -- God-replacements -- right and left. We almost do it out of nothing, like our own little miracle. But not out of nothing actually. Generally out of our imaginations and ourselves. Different times and places have enjoyed different idols. Ours today are much more "friendly" and less "spiritual". You know, money, power, fame, pleasure, comfort, "stuff" ... that kind of thing. Science is a big one for many. "If Science says it, that settles it!" Never mind that Science is never actually settled. We have lots of them today. But I think, perhaps, America in particular has one leader competing with all others. That one American idol is freedom.

We take this freedom to an extreme here. Free to do what? Just about anything at all. Many put "except to harm others" on there, but, if the truth were told, harming others is also acceptable if it is consensual. "Self-determination" is our god. You can believe what you want, but never interfere with self-determination. Even if you believe that unfettered self-determination is harmful. (We end up in a Catch-22 there, you see, where "except harm" runs into "it does harm" but gets set aside for "self-determination".)

You'll hear it all over the place. "No one his forcing you to marry someone of the same sex." What's the point? "We don't want to force you to violate your self-determination; don't try to violate ours." "No one is making you have an abortion." Again, "We don't want to force you to violate your self-determination; don't try to violate ours." That is the bottom line in all these types of positions. No one asks, "What is marriage?" or "What about violating the right-to-live of that baby you're killing?" Not at all. In these examples, marriage and the aborted baby are sacrifices to the god, "freedom". "And don't you dare consider interfering or even commenting. What ... do you hate liberty?" The fact that our deep concern for marriage, the lives of the unborn, the spiritual welfare of others, and the answer of a Savior are to be shut down in favor of freedom doesn't seem to come into play anywhere. That is, yes, they do want to violate our self-determination if it infringes on theirs. (So I guess the other exception to absolute self-determination is "don't violate mine -- yours can be violated".)

You see, the questions at stake here are not about liberty. They are much bigger. But nearly no one asks so no one sees it and they sound so sanctimonious, so holy, so righteous by defending freedom. It is, indeed, the American religion. Unfortunately, large numbers of Christians buy into it as well, blithely sacrificing God's self-determination in favor of our own. Humans really are idol factories.

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