I was listening to a TED Talks the other day, and was once again appalled by the false religion of secular humanism that pervaded every sentence in its quest to brainwash the unwary masses. If you’re not familiar with TED Talks, they’re basically all of the stuff you would get in a university, minus the actual facts and critical thinking skills you should be taught to evaluate what’s being said. In other words, it’s everything the modern secular university wants to really teach each student without all of those critical details getting in the way. But we’ll talk about that more in PART II when we discuss the “holding hands” part of the title. Today, I want to talk about what was specifically said by Brené Brown here (http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html), simply because I find it completely fascinating that despite all of the evidence to the contrary, people still eat this stuff up.
I’ve already spoken many times about the postmodern attack on certainty, and how it is really just a cult tactic to take people away from being certain about what their religion, families, etc. consider important so that they can then be certain about things that the postmodern cult thinks is important instead. However, what I found even more interesting in her lecture was the idea that the best of people are those who find themselves to be most worthy.
I find this to be a complete and utter joke. And yet, people devour this stuff like funnel cake, simply because there is a constant search of the self in our culture, a self that has no place in a world where God has been removed from the center of our being. Hence, people are continually trying to find themselves, and the postmodern narrative can turn no one outward toward God and others, precisely because it is a worldview that traps oneself in oneself. There is no greater reality than the self and what the self perceives and experiences. Hence, there is nothing greater than the self. Because of this, the prophets of postmodernity, i.e., media, professors, school teachers, etc., must always exalt the self as worthy of esteem. This lecture does not depart from that.
But let me give a reason why I think this is such a joke. The examples of the contrary are so numerous that one must truly believe contrary to the evidence in this case. Just watch “American Idol” and contrast those who think they are worthy versus those who are not sure of their worth. We are constantly told by the worthy that they are going to take the world by storm, that they are so much better than the judges and that the judges don’t know what they are talking about. In other words, we get abusive rants that demean others and lift up the self, because the worshiped self has been blasphemed.
Take, as another example, those who have considered themselves worthy in our modern history: Hitler, who believed that he and his pure race were most worthy, and that others were therefore beneath him. This led him to abuse and murder. The same can be said for all revolutionary movements, where the figures, such as Mao or Pol Pot wanted to cleanse society of the less worthy.
Take, as yet another example, the serial killer Ted Bundy. He believed he had the worth of a god. In fact, he once said that he felt like a god when he killed people, and that he didn’t feel guilty at all, but felt sorry for people who felt guilty. In the postmodern paradigm, guilt is just a tool of Christianity to humble the self and place it under its reigns. Hence, guilt, or the feeling of being unworthy, is for lesser beings.
In the film, “Waiting for Superman,” the narrator tells us that Americans basically fall far short of most of the developed world’s education standards. In other words, Americans are some of the most uneducated kids in the developed world. But, as the narrator tells us, they excel to the highest rank in one area: self esteem. They evaluate themselves to be of the highest worth, and believe they are the best of people. A student may flunk out of school, be arrested for drug possession, and beat his girlfriend, but he believes he is a great person.
I’m reminded of the ironic song “We Are Young” by Fun. The song describes the high and drunk young people at a bar, passing out and hooking up. In other words, it describes our generation as a bunch of worthless drunks that need to carry each other home at the end of the night. But what is fascinating about the song is its chorus:
“Tonight, we are young. So let’s set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun.”
From cartoons and elementary school to college professors and psychologists, we are continually given one single message: You are worthy, despite what you are, what you believe, and what you do. You are just inherently worthy. There is no need to seek worth, as you already have it. Hence, you seek greatness, not because you have something great to do or some great idea to put forth, but because you already are great and need the world to know that too.
In other words, the problem, contrary to Brown’s suggestion, isn’t that abusers don’t think they’re worthy enough, but that they think they are more worthy than those they abuse. Hence, the problem is that they think they are worthy in disregard of the unworthy things they believe and do. They have no guilt. They have such a high opinion of themselves that others ought not dare to challenge them on their self evaluation.
You see, what’s missing from Brown’s lecture are genuine examples of people in reality. It sounds nice until you actually apply it to our situation, and then it becomes a narrative that doesn’t make sense, like a puzzle piece that’s being crammed in to fit where it doesn’t.
So, in contrast, I’d like to give the more biblical view that I think accords with reality, and here it is: The best of people are people who know their unworthiness to receive forgiveness and love and are now grateful for having received it. Did you catch that? It’s the polar opposite of the picture Brown paints. The best of people are those who are grateful people, and gratefulness is created by knowing one’s unworthiness to receive acceptance, and yet believing that one has received it anyway.
But such acceptance can only be received by an unworthy person by an outside source. If one is unworthy, then only another can bequeath gratefulness to the individual, and that is why the Christian worldview makes much more sense of our world than one that seeks to locate the answer within. At Christmas, Christians sing a song about Christ that says, “For He alone is worthy.” The Bible tells us that we are not worthy people. In fact, the further one gets from taking his role as the image of God, who views the true God as the only worthy Being that exists, the more the Bible considers him to be a “worthless person” (Deut 13:13; Jud 9:4; 1 Sam 2:12; 2 Sam 23:5-6; Jer 10:14-15; Heb 6:7-8), having lost the worth placed upon him by the outside and now only left with the worthlessness that is false humanity.
Those who don’t think much of themselves, when they are accepted on “American Idol,” are the best of people. Those who don’t seek to ascend to the heights of Olympus in our modern history are they who oppose the dictators of unjust genocides and they who submit themselves to be ruled by a court of law in their dealing with serial killers. They see others more worthy than themselves, and sacrifice themselves for those others. They do not think of themselves as anything, and thus, are filled with love and gratefulness when they receive acceptance. The answer, then, is outside of the self, as the very problem is the exaltation of the self in the first place.
But why does Brown tout this as the answer? Why is this answer what we hear over and over again? Why is the certainty of counter-religious claims brought into question at the end of the lecture? And are we as free to believe otherwise as we have come to think or have we been deceived as a society into thinking we ever really made the choice to believe in the answer Brown, as a prophet of postmodernity, provides as opposed to the Christian paradigm that counters it? We’ll talk about this more in PART II.