Richard Rohr talks of an ‘addiction to one’s own ideas’. He writes, “Alcoholics just have their powerlessness visible for all to see. The rest of us disguise it in different ways, and overcompensate for our more hidden and subtle addictions and attachments, especially our addiction to our way of thinking. We all take our own pattern of thinking as normative, logical and surely true, even when it does not fully compute. We keep doing the same thing over and over again, even if it is not working for us.”
SET FREE TO BE
If we are addicted to our own and inherited ideas, we are probably not born again and need to die to our ideas and our way in order to be part of the new and living way that is Christ our life.’
We may all be ‘my world view’ addicts to some extent, but we don’t have to be. Jesus came to set captives free in the fullness of Himself. We verge on mindlessness when we deny reality in order to maintain our ideas. If the fool has said in his heart, there is no God, the fool has also said in his heart, ‘Me and my ideas are God.’ Jesus insisted that the poor in spirit will see God – and they do. They see Him in the steady revelation of who God is. The smug continue creating fictions to support their private reality.
If we are more than slightly observant, we may have noticed the present equation of ‘common sense’ with wisdom and the conflation of ‘false facts’ with ‘truth’. We may have noticed that some people are anxious to deny the truth because they think their normal life is under threat - and it probably is - if they accept the truth that events are thrusting into their face. Strangely enough there are people who deny the reality of covid 19 to their dying breath. It seems that the delusion in which some live is more important to them than life because these ideas are their ‘life’.
Living in delusion is a sad but it is a real world example of ‘living in this body of death’. It would be easy to dismiss this body of ‘un-thought’ as the result of dullness of mind and lack of education. In part it is, but there are many intelligent and informed people who have adopted ideas that are as absurd as ‘mistaking your wife as a hat’. Agnosia is the inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. The current agnosia cannot be explained as the province of the dim, since many who have embraced this fools gold are neither dull or uneducated.
Writing in The Age recently Parnell Palme McGuinness states, “Here’s something to pull you up short: the smarter you are, the more likely you are to be wrong in your most passionately held conclusions based on scientific evidence. All humans are susceptible to motivated reasoning, in which they cherry-pick data and information to reinforce a position that aligns with their existing beliefs. Smart and scientifically literate and numerate people are no less likely to do this than anybody else. Indeed, they’re better at it, meaning they can research themselves into being more wrong than your average person.”
THE MEEK GET IT
The implication of this is that one can still be misguided if one is smart. Many have wondered why notable theologians have committed themselves to ‘gospels’ that are a serious perversion of the Gospel of Jesus, Paul and the Church Fathers.
It seems clear that whatever the stripe, many people are committed to believe what they choose to believe because it suits them. It would not surprise us that a miser/hoarder would tend to climate change denial when his life impetus is to hang on to his stuff. For some people the existential stuff is the status quo. Neither would it be astonishing that a theologian might go for the order and structure of a legalistic gospel when his father was an alcoholic – even if legalism is no cure for alcoholism it promises a kind of ‘order.’ But not one that is alive.
CHRIST OUR LIFE
‘But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises’ Heb 8.6 NIV.
SOME FIND THE DOORS
What surprises me less is the fact that so many Believers make their way out of misguided gospels into genuine renderings of ‘life to the full.’ It surprises me less because human beings have an innate appetite for real life. For this reason the common people heard Jesus gladly. Those who remain content with their dormancy do so because they think the identity and status they have in their ‘lesser life’ is the only life there is. They become skilled a rationalising this lesser life as Christ’s life. This is a common distraction of the Enemy.
The idea that many Christians are addicted to is that salvation is earned. They find it hard to do without the notion of ‘entitlement.’
THE HARD MAN
For the Believer, a refusal of life is a refusal of grace. It may not affect our salvation but it does determine our fruitfulness as disbursers of the unlimited life that is Christ our life. This was the problem of the un-profitable servant. He described the Master as a hard man who reaped where He did not sow. The Master did this because He came in the flesh of the Believer and became the Believer/s by incarnation. The real church of Christ is Christ incarnated and multiplied in those who believe. The shadow of the real is church in which religion takes the place of Christ our life.
Myk Habets writes, “Of the possibility of refusing God’s love and grace Torrance can only say ‘that is a bottomless mystery of evil before which we can only stand aghast, the surd which we cannot rationalise, the enigma of Judas. But it happens.”(1)
(1) The Doctrine of Election in Evangelical Calvinism: T. F. Torrance as a Case Study, Myk Habets Irish Theological Quarterly 2008; 73; 334 DOI: 10.1177/0021140008095442