Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Man Is God and Other Acts of Rebellion

Man Is God and Other Acts of Rebellion

The more I look at different political philosophies the more I am coming to think that there are only two. One that proclaims man as God and the Other that denies that man is God. The basic idea seems to be that the one that proclaims man is God, believes that man is free to do as he wishes and that there is nothing to stop him from achieving his goal. As we look through history we find this philosophy just keeps turning up. The basic idea remains the same but the topic changes. For example, the French and Russian revolutions had different ideals, but when you look at them you find the same philosophy at work, man is God.

If man is really God that means that there is no external influence upon man, we are free to choose our own destiny. We not only can create heaven on Earth, but in a sense we must, as there is no other heaven. God is replaced with man becoming the supreme being. Bizarrely even people who believe in God can come to believe that man is God. There is something quite appealing here, that man can judge himself and there fore is free from external judgement. Would you damn yourself? No, your a good person no matter how badly you behave, no matter how badly you act, thats how most people think. Thats part of our limitation and it makes man as God very appealing. Because it ignores our limitations. We are also free to follow our own ideas, even if those ideas do come from someone else. God is so judgmental, whether you believe in Him or not. But man would not be so judgmental as we know what it takes to get through life.

If man is God then which man? All men, now that sounds fair! But isn't, because human society is hierarchical, that means that someone will end up in charge and someone will end up with more money and someone will end up with more power. Thats not including those things that we are each born with that are part of our makeup, now we have to factor in that someone will be better looking, more charming, smarter, more agile and so forth. It seems that some gods are more equal than others.

But we each know that, we know that life is unfair, but some pretend that it is within their power to make life fair. Whats gives them this idea? The philosophy that believes that man is God.

We are not God, that doesn't mean that God exists or does not exist, it means that we are only human and we are nothing more. To be human means that we are more intelligent than animals, much more intelligent. To put it in perspective if all humans left Earth and only a 9 year old child remained and they were of average intelligence, that child would be the most intelligent creature upon the Earth. Now think how much smarter a 12 year old is compared to a 9 year old, now a 15 year old, an 18 year old, a 21 year old, 42 or 84 year old. We are so intelligent that we can understand a paradox of intelligence, that to understand how dumb you are you must be smart enough to understand the limits of your own intelligence. We are capable of that and that means that we are more than animals. But that does not mean that we are more than human. And that is the argument.

The argument goes something like this, life is unfair and it should not be unfair, man should fix this problem and if man is free to do so he will. It is an optimistic vision, blindly optimistic, the limits of man are no where to be seen. We are unlimited in our ability, we are not men but supermen, dare I say it we are Gods. Unfortunately this philosophy believes in mans unlimited intelligence, that we can out think any problem and there is a part of each of us that wants that to be true. The evidence is not so good however, what we find when we look at human history, ancient and modern is a mixed lot. Our achievements are legend and they should be, man has achieved great things, we should all be proud of that heritage. But every Empire ends and so does every Republic. Nothing that we build lasts, it is all doomed to end, even our own lives. Each of us knows this but we like to pretend that thats the story of every other Empire, of every other person, but not us, we are special. Yes, we are special, but we are not exempt from reality and when we deny our own human nature and believe that we have unlimited ability or power we only set ourselves up to fail. The idea that man is God and that we can create our own paradise is very appealing, but it is an illusion.

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  1. Mark,
    Excellent post. I just finished reading a book by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias titled Why Jesus? In it, he describes the threat of New Age Spirituality and the emphasis on the attempt to elevate humanity to god-like status. The idea that man himself is divine and has a deity buried deep within him just waiting to be set free is the recurring theme. Truth in its most ideal sense is abandoned to encompass "all paths to God" - namely the narcissistic belief that since Man is God, you have to look inward for true spiritual life and Truth.
    This, of course, it nonsense but at the same time it is very appealing in this "self-empowered" culture we live in.
    I have just discovered your blog and I intend to peruse thoroughly. If this post is any indication of your other writings, then I look forward to reading them.

  2. Dear Geoff

    Thank you for your kind words, I hadn't been thinking of New Age Spiritualism when I wrote this post but your quite correct it is very much related.

    Mark Moncrieff