I Wonder And Ponder, Therefore I Flounder
For the last few years I’ve observed in frustrating conversation the clash and confusion of humanistic and idealistic views.
This has been an ongoing mental problem that has infected Western thinking since the early Greek times. We see the conflict between humanism and idealism set in stone, expressed through Catholic Church and Gothic/Baroque architecture, and now thrown every which way through saturated media content.
I can’t help but think, this has a huge and devastating effect that is having on generations in their early adolescence. I can’t help but think this is the reason why their is a rise drug taking and substance abuse, depression and suicide and the increase of homosexual behaviour.
But it’s worse then that. We see this Humanism vs Idealism (HvI) appeal to us through today’s advertising. And now we can’t even have normal conversations because of these fundamental clashes when we discuss issues.
In observing my own conversations and others, we are failing to communicate effectively to each other anymore in a way that makes sense. With the way I have spoken, I have observed that I will often speak with an image in my head in what is ‘right’, with the ideal form or concept what a good government is or what a good church is. But then I am not seeing this revealed in either the country I live in or the church that I’d like to see.
Have We Been Fed A Lie?
A common marketing quote I keep hearing is ‘People don’t know what they want, so convince them what you have is worth getting’. I believe this is the lie. And I believe this lie is often hidden behind the appeal.
Let’s look at politics and see how Humanism and Idealism work in this setting.
Much to my horror, George Bush used Christian ideals to invade Afghanistan. The propoganda that the Howard government churned through the social media was one of idealistic tones. The strong faced Howard, the axis of Evil, evil North Korea, anti-abortion, anti-gay, right and wrong.
After the whole world was united singing with Autralia in the 2000 Olympic Games, ‘Share the Dream’, you have to ask the obvious – where did this dreamworld go? War was declared a year later that divided the world! I can only see it boil down to the way we see things with our minds, or how we are taught to see or think with our minds. The ideals in propaganda were pushed on us to justify murder under false evidence.
It was sad to see that Hillsong and C3 align themselves to strong anti-Christ ideals in being silent on such issues as murdering innocent people, money is the root of all ev sign of prosperity and blessing. But very quickly, as a nation, we were getting tired of an idealisitc government. The Greens on the other hand were portrayed as very humanistic. Talk to any Christian about the Green’s and they were treated like communists.
Just before Kevin Rudd was elected, he took a very different approach to his political portrayal then Latham and Crean – he became human. He was portrayed as a family man. He lost the suit. He was wearing smart casual clothing you would see someone wear around the house. I actually believed he would start a behavioural trend in local churches – and he did. Some Pentecostal churches in my local area, C3 included, had pastors change their attire to more casual and down to earth basis.
Kevin was relatable. He seemed human. He was likable. And he was questionable. He answered questions!
And then I saw something unsettling. It was on ABC’s Q&A. Rudd was in parliament with Tony Jones, answering students questions. Maybe the students were intimidated looking like fools in front of the Prime Minister, the camera’s or their peers. But I had trouble watching this.
I felt fear. Not from within me but from within them. They were worried. Their questions were great. But they were afraid. Afraid to offend each other – but not afraid to boldly question the prime-minister. They were quick to get really fearfully offended if a comment slightly degraded the colour of a another person. They were afraid of racism and having a difference of opinion that would look as though they might offend another peer – but those that asked questions were all idealistic. I was seeing a manifestation in these kids paralysis between humanistic and idealistic mentality’s. They were trying to be one mind with these two paradigm’s. That’s what I feel I could narrow it down too. I could only feel sad for them.
In this setting, Rudd had lost the relaxed father-like figure. Coming up to the elections, the suits were back in. Even though he was ousted by Julia Gillard, all the attire and slogans and propaganda are being drummed into us again. And the Australian public is sick of it.
But we don’t want empty idealistic slogans and promises. We want to be advertised a government that we can relate too, where we can accept their failures. But the media won’t allow fatal humanistic qualities now.
There is the ideal Right and the ideal Left. It’s the same for the US and the Brits. We’ve heard the ideal promises, but they’d lost any sense of reality with us as they make Australia ‘Move Forward’.
You could not get more of a Western Statement. We are still stuck in pagan Greece and so is the church. The current ruckus with Hillsong and the ATO has caused a serious debate among friends and family and other forums I’ve been watching. Normal people have been tainted to believe that the church just wants your money. Some want all the churches to be gone and that would help Australia a lot.
Humanism fell completely silent as ideal’s clashed. And I’ve seen myself and Facelift come up against these clashes. Then up comes the ‘Yes We Canberra’ Chaser show. Julie Bishop came on and made us all laugh with her ‘death stare’.
She became human again. Suddenly politics seemed interesting to me again. It was great to see her laugh and not take herself too seriously.
I’ve often wondered if Humanism can be associated with Arminianism and Idealism associated with Calvinism. There is something in this thinking that, I believe, has also affected the way the church perceives God and the way we live. Let’s look at two classic examples of this – Todd Bentley and Gugglimucci.
Both were praised and were mighty men of God (not in the bloggers eyes). Idealism seemed to get them to the platform as they became more the idols of different movements. People flocked to hear both and both were horribly exposed. How was their sin justified?
“You need to understand that they are human. For all have sinned and fallen short of -” No! When Idealism reigned in the minds of believers – a humanistic response JUSTIFIED their idol’s behaviour. Where did Idealism’s hold go?
From above, we have found this similar with discussions to justify failure. While seemingly opposite, they are lethal when we are not aware what happens when they work together. When in argument, this combo seems to work AGAINST our own rationality and reason. This, I believe, could be a symptom of brainwashing.
Oh The Confusion Of It All!
It’s odd to note that when the Protestant movement started, it was very similar to the early Catholic Church of the believer’s understanding that God is completely sovereign. In reading Luther and Calvin, they too were very idealistic in their faith towards God. But we’ve fallen the same way the Roman Catholic Church has. We are embracing other faiths into our own, (Gothic/Renaissance/etc art) and heading once again down a very humanistic road like the Catholic Church did (Baroque art). Jesus today is portrayed so human He’s sinful.
I’ve got a book in front of me. The title is ‘Jesus, CEO’ by Laurie Beth Jones. They’ve also written a book called ‘Jesus In Blue Jeans’.
Creflo Dollar has also redefined the Jesus of the bible, much to many Scholars disapproval. Phil Pringle has done EXACTLY the same. Influential ministers in the protestant movement are trying to make Jesus relevant today, renovating his image to make him popular among youth and hip culture. Those who have nothing to do with the church depict Jesus now as a sinner. (Believe me, you don’t want to see some of these images. Google at risk!)
In examining those hurt by religious idealism’s in America, we have seen a more humanistic movement emerge through John Crowder and Brandon Barthrop’s ministries. They engage at our level and bring God’s presence to us on a human and goofy level. Why can’t we have fun with Jesus who was human with us? Why can’t we have fun with Jesus? In making Jesus fun and relevant, they have turned him Jesus into an experiential Jesus. Their movements are focused on getting drunk and high on God
All you need to do is look at the art some of these experiential churches are using. These are churches that seem to be started up that aren’t into organised church structures. Brandon Barthrop’s church is using Bernini’s ‘Ecstasy of St Theresa ‘, an old baroque statue, to capture how we can have experiences with the divine. He uses her orgasmic-like expression to suggest that we too can have a supernatural experience with the divine. This image is on his merchandise and youtube videos.
So we are seeing the timeline, this decade, our culture, the church, caught in this weird spiritual entanglement of spiritual mental instability. We are confused! So confused we can’t even communicate to each other properly anymore. So caught in these mindsets we can’t see the other person’s views because our ideals get in the way.
With Hollywood, we want to see our ideals become human again. Why? When our ideals are so far removed from our reality, we want to bring them down to our level so we feel connected with ourselves. To appreciate ourselves. But as soon we become insecure about anything at all, we want those ideals exalted so they can be a pillar to pretend our insecurities are dealt with.
This is why in times of fear and war, propaganda is so effective.
Once again look at the church culture. There are churches that tell us that Satan is king of the world, roaming like a lion, devouring our finances, ruining us, etc. We are told not to be unequally yolked. We are told to be of God’s House or God’s Army. We are told to submit to those who are pioneering reformation’s, bringing revivals, starting movements… the burn outs start, illusions break. Idealism weakens. People fall into exhaustion.
I’ve seen many churches go through this. Sometimes monthly, annually, every few months. It’s a cycle. I’ve nicknamed it ‘Bridal Menstruation’. The emotions of everyone are affected the way a lady is with her cycle. And it’s usually this gradual swing from humanism to idealism, then a repentance, refreshment or fall back into humanism. Or… depending on the church background, the other way round. It’s the inner tango of the mind. Does the mind of Christ focus on idealist or humanist views?
What am I saying in all this? Humanisms and Idealisms are wearing not only the world out, but also the church. Our own logic is exhausting us. Something in our thinking needs to change. What that is, I am yet to find out.
How can we overcome this? What are your thoughts?