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Monday
Mar052012

We Don't Need No 'Poor in Spirit'

“We can torture ourselves and others with a number of rigid shoulds and oughts and musts. The ironclad convictions can produce guilt, shame and other unpleasant emotions when we fail to live up to them. They can injure our self-esteem....”
--University of San Francisco Health and Counseling Services/Student Services

“When writing avoid words like should, ought, must, all, always, never, perfect. Instead, use phrases like I'd like, I'd prefer, or I want to”
--University of San Francisco Health and Counseling Services

* * * * * * *

“Every bit of me is devoted to love and art. And I aspire to try to be a teacher to my young fans who feel just like I felt when I was younger. I just felt like a freak. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm trying to liberate them, I want to free them of their fears and make them feel that they can make their own space in the world.”
--Lady Gaga

“One who refuses truth cannot be refuted or healed with truth or its prophet, reason. There is in him no sense of obligation, even to truth, and therefore no obligation to anything.”
--Peter Kreeft

* * * * * * *

Someone once made the observation that the conscience is God's Prophet to the soul.

I am persuaded today that the collective soul of the western world is on virtual life support, her collective conscience having been seared as with a hot iron.....cauterized, numbed and dying.

As Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft so aptly stated, “[we are witnessing today]....the slow, insidious drip that blurs the point of the icicle of conscience until it is all melted into a warm pool of psychobabble.”

The Ten Commandments have been banished from our polite and oh-so-thoroughly-tolerant society. So much so that any mention of those commandments is no longer something to be tolerated. Sinai's Law, the virtual linchpin of western civilization, has been decommissioned, mocked, castigated and cast aside. The Law has been declared virtually weightless, regarded with contempt and swept under the secular rug of emotion-driven so-called “tolerance” where it may no longer disturb us. Thereby we sidestep any feelings of “guilt, shame and other unpleasant emotions” that The Law may produce in us.

If our forefathers were alive today to witness this contemporary fit of cultural petulance and arrogant childishness, they would not only be shocked, they would also be thoroughly ashamed.

But nothing shocks and nothing shames us anymore. (And we are fool enough today to consider that sad fact to be a positive indicator of our “progressive” sophistication.) You see, we...the “science-informed” and liberated post-moderns....have moved beyond any concept of “iron-clad conviction” of a clearly-defined Morality. Today, any thought of a Moral Code or Moral Standard that claims to hold us accountable is viewed with utter contempt. Such a concept is not only hopelessly out-dated and distasteful to us, it has become regarded as utterly reprehensible. Such a Standard threatens our ill-conceived idea of freedom, where “freedom” is defined in easy-breezy, smiley-face terms of the pursuit of personal pleasure and radical Self-Esteem enhancement.......Forefathers be damned.

What did they know, anyway?

The only commandment that is permitted today is that there be no commandments at all. Yesterday's authoritative language of “oughts” and “shoulds” has been replaced by the glazed-over stare, the indifferent shrug and the dispassionately delivered ”Whatever...”. Tolerance-at-any-cost has trumped all talk of virtue, duty, obligation and. “right” and “wrong”. Consequently, the toxic and corrosive, acid-reign of relativism is effectively paralyzing an entire culture.

We have, in effect, judged the words of Jesus and found them lacking. When Jesus stated .....

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...”
(Matthew 5: 3)

we are being told that what Jesus really meant was:

“Heaven on earth will be a reality when everyone feels good about themselves and enjoys positive Self-Esteem.”

Welcome to the Therapeutic Era of the Outlawed Law..... the “I'm OK, You're OK Corral”.

Can Utopia be far behind?

Lady Gaga, lead us home.....

* * * * * * *

"Final Judgement" (detail), Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel

“We Don't Need No 'Poor in Spirit'”
(We Just Need More Self-Esteem!)

 

Don't be fooled by talk of “morals”...
We don't feel that they're so good.
They imply some sort of judgment,
That's just based on “oughts” and “shoulds”.


Judgment talk? Well, that's a No-No!
It just scares the Inner Child!
Guilt 'n' Shame are not approved of;
They no longer fit our style!

Father God-talk's not productive;
Those Commandments shouldn't be!
They should all be dashed to pieces...
And Thou Shalt Not Disagree!

Holy Moses! We now protest!
Heaven knows, The Laws should go!
They just make us feel so guilty,
So uneasy, man,.... ya know?

"Moses on Sinai", Gustav Dore

Yep, that Decalogue's the problem...
All the Laws must be replaced!
Just pretend you never heard 'em,
To erase their bitter taste!

No....Thou Shalt Not hear of “Evil”,
No....Thou Shalt Not speak of “Sin”!
We Shalt see no pointing fingers!
You! …Don't mention “Sin” again!

Yes, that Monkey-Bar's been lowered,
So we all can feel OK!
Shame's no longer on the radar...
We've abolished Judgment Day!


“Sin”'s a concept we won't stand for,
Conscience-free's the way to be!
“Moral Guilt” is too distasteful.....
None of that for you and me!

We don't like to judge such matters.
(Jesus said that judgment's bad!)
So, we press on toward nirvana...
(That's where no one's ever sad!)

We don't need no “poor in spirit”!
We just need more Self-Esteem!
Feeling good's the goal we're after...
Feeling good's our hallowed dream.

* * * * *

“Truth” is such a loaded issue...
“What is truth?” Ol' Pilate sighed.
Then he washed his hands and muttered....
“Truth be told?....True 'Truth's a lie.”

"Pilate Washing Hands", Jans Lievens, 1670

Now we're all on Auto-Pilate...
Touchy-Feelies high above.
Smiley faces...goin' Gaga....
All we really need is luv.

* * * * * * *

"This banishment of guilt by any means necessary—ideological or chemical—is the truest measure of the meanness of modern man."
--James Barham, philosopher

* * * * * * *

“I don't know if 'judgmentophobic' is a word but it ought to be. Where conscience used to raise an eyebrow at our slips and falls, sunny non-judgmentalism winks and slaps us on the back......The ancient Biblical maxim 'Judge not lest ye be judged', implied that God's standards are high. The modern maxim forbids standards altogether. (They art harmful of self-esteem.)”
--Michael Novak

* * * * * * *

“Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith....It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
(Galatians 3:23-24,... 5: 1)

"Sermon on the Mount", Gustav Dore