Tuesday, February 27, 2024

No shortage of hubris. . .

There seems to be no shortage of and no end to the hubris that presumes we are so much smarter and well-informed today that we cannot possible hold to what those who went before us thought and believed about the world, where we came from, and what is true.  In this context, these things are no longer anchors but boats moving to and fro on a current of change.  In another conversation the statement was made by one Lutheran to another that the strides made linguistically, culturally, and historically within the last couple of centuries require us to change our understanding of who we are, where we came from, and what is true.  While this is especially true with regard to the Bible, it is no less true of just about anything and everything else.

Of course, we are not alone in such arrogance and pride.  It is the failure of every generation to defer to the past any authority and to insist that newer is better, that we are more educated and erudite than our forbearers.  While it is certainly true that our knowledge has expanded, the implicit conclusion of such hubris is to believe that this expansion negates and omits what went before.  Among some this could be applied to arguments in which some would insist that you believe the science while at the same time positing the science to a momentary postulation and ignoring the weight of evidence of history.  Among others it is the constant attention to exception and the substitute of exception for the rule or norm of a time or position.  Among Christians, it is the common fallacy that we know more about God's Word than those who went before us and therefore cannot be bothered by the statements of Scripture except, perhaps, those directly related to matters of salvation.  Neatly dividing the Word of Truth is no longer then about Law or Gospel but about sorting out the myth, legend, poetry, and falsehoods from the one truth.  But that is the point, isn't it.  Who gets to decide which are the myths, legends, poetry, falsehoods, and truth in the Scriptures?  Who decides which words belong to God and which belong to man?

The goal and end result is then not to better understand or know the Scriptures but to be able to omit or erase or diminish portions of those Scriptures that offend against modern sensibility or individual conscience or conviction.  Thus the goal of such hubris all around is to elevate the individual, the reason of the individual, the feelings of the individual, and the moment of the individual above anything and everything else.  And how is that working for us?  Well, look around.  With churches arguing over which words we ought to pay attention to and which words do not belong in the mouth of God, Scripture is left with little authority and even less power.  It is what we make it to be.  The same can be said for history, science, and every other division of human knowledge and culture.  Nothing is what it is -- everything is what we make it to be.  And if we do not make it to be anything, then it is nothing.  The only problem with this is that eventually it comes right back to us.  And the nothing ends up being me. 

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