Sunday, June 25, 2017
Now, I have to warn you, my English professor said, when you discover that there is no ultimate Authority--no Author who supposedly 'gives meaning' to your existence--you may, at first, find yourself fighting a deep depression.
She went on,
Some students in their early years of university have even been tempted to end their lives when the false worldview they've been brought up to embrace has been deconstructed.
She explained that she needed to give us this disclaimer so we wouldn't be caught off guard. She didn't want any suicides in her class.
She was full of encouragement:
Realize that you will move on, and your more rational self will adjust to the new reality--your own personal reality. You will survive and thrive with the realization that no one has the right to define reality for you. What you decide is true for you is all there is of Truth.
Let's put aside, for now, all the obvious questions this statement should have raised in the minds of the young adults sitting in the class around me. Questions like:
If it's 'my truth' why are you telling me what it should be? Why are you speaking with authority to me, telling me there is no such thing as Authority?
And the most obvious question, Why should I even listen to you?
The question in my mind, as I listened to her lecture, was an ancient one, recorded in Psalm 11:3:
When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?
I often find myself wondering these days how the world can go on as it does, even in our modern, highly advanced Western culture with all it's technological trappings and "advanced" ideas. Everything our earthly worldview--our perception of reality--should be based upon has crumbled beneath our feet. The foundation has been slowly eroded away by the subtle innuendos of secular humanism that tell us that everything is accidental, and therefore without lasting meaning or purpose.
In that Literary Criticism class, my university professor taught us that the old idea of a God who created everything and therefore has a right to define Truth for all of His creation is simply a social construct, foisted upon us by our overbearing patriarchal ancestors in an attempt to control us for their own evil, misogynistic purposes. Because there is no ultimate Author, no human author--no creator of anything--has authority. He does not matter. You have the right to extract your own personal meaning from all of art and literature.
We had some further discussions, this professor and I. She eventually acknowledged that if her theory is correct, then even language has no meaning. Language is a communicator of rational thought, and all rational thought is based on the necessary assumption that there is an absolute Truth. You cannot make an absolutely true statement that there is no such thing as absolute truth. But in the end my professor showed no interest in being persuaded to give up her nihilism. My heart ached for her.
But was she right? Is there no foundation for anything? Is life meaningless?
This morning I am encouraged to read in Isaiah 33, verses 5 and 6, that
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.
We have a sure foundation, even in these times of ours.
The verse goes on to say, The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
May we all discover that key and so enjoy the rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.
Suicide is not necessary!