I could expand on the ideas here almost indefinitely, but this blog is mainly to journal my current thoughts in order for future reflection, expansion, and alteration. I invite you to comment in order to aid me in this process. I've come to realize that the vast majority of individuals, both religious and otherwise, lack understanding of, and possibly the ability to fully grasp, core religious concepts. As a result of a recent debate with eldanny, I've begun to consider the various reasons for this and how culture works to establish ideologies that prohibit this understanding and actually form language or logic barriers between fundamental and necessary religious doctrine and our assumed place in society and reality.
This blog, like many others of mine, references only the Christian God and
Christian doctrine. It assumes that God exists and that He possesses
all traits disclosed or assumed from logical necessity in the Bible. If you are unwilling or unable to
allow me these presuppositions for the sake of argument, this is not
the place to debate them.
I'd also like to clearly state that I am entirely in favor of both of
these concepts, and all of the subsets that they encompass. However,
they, like many other social paradigms, are practical only in
moderation and under the authority of a governing entity. For this
reason, they are both entirely illusionary. I've attempted to organize my thoughts into broad characteristics or paradigms and they are as follows:
Autonomy: What it is - Simply put, autonomy refers to individualization and the notion of self-governance. It is the thought that people can make their own moral and ethical decisions.
How it is Reinforced - The
concept of autonomy is echoed through all accepted avenues of social
thought including: psychology, sociology, business
leadership/management, and the overarching philosophical acceptance of
moral subjectivism. It is established and reinforced in society in numerous places from our occupations to school to life at home. For instance, my recent blog on abortion will meet great opposition because of the autonomy we feel is due to women. The slogan "right to choose" exemplifies our understanding of and desire for self-governance.
What it is - Our sense of entitlement is the understanding that we deserve something. How it is Reinforced - Much like autonomy, our sense of entitlement is established through nearly every social and educational medium. We are politically entitled to our civil rights and legally entitled to receive payment for goods or services. We feel entitled to own and use property, possessions, and our bodies in whatever manner we see fit. We express this in varying degrees and through multiple channels. For example, many feel entitled to use their personal cellphone or personal belongings on school property or during class. They feel they deserve free health care, a well paying job, or to make profane/explicit posts on private internet forums.
Our sense of entitlement also changes with social status. In the states, you're entitled to drive at age 16, to vote at age 18, to drink at age 21, though these boundaries are typically ignored as a result of our sense of autonomy.
Why they cause Misunderstanding - Together along with other social ideals, these concepts work to establish that our entitled possessions and autonomous identities are paramount and nearly synonymous to our social and physical existence. In addition, they enforce the idea that what we have and who we are at this moment is all that there is and all that there will be. We're entitled to make the most of our existence in this universe, and possess the autonomy to decide what that means on an individual basis.
The truth in Christian doctrine - There are really only two fundamental points from which everything else can be assumed.
1. This existence is neither all that will be nor paramount.
actions in this universe should be tempered by the fact that our true
existence is eternal and our true possessions entirely metaphysical.
Our purpose and usefulness are not contained to this life, and this
life is not, or is not intended as, the pinnacle of our achievements or
desires. 2. We have defined terms such as innocence, justice, and fairness in ways that reflect and compliment our social paradigms. Just as the government, your parents, your boss, or your teacher act as a boundary for our "autonomous" decisions, God is a moral authority. Furthermore, nothing we have is entitled to us. On a macro scale, we are here purely because God created us to be so, and on the micro level everything we possess we do so by the grace of God. Keeping in mind my first point, if
God wishes to terminate your existence in this universe, He is not
denying you something to which you are entitled and neither is He
committing an act of injustice regardless of your perceived innocence.
finally! someone else who actually knows what they believe and why they do!
1 Peter 3:15-16 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.