Today's entry is unformed. I haven't really thought through it very deeply, so if you have critique's or corrections let me know.
A while ago I was looking at this map. The map is about social mobility according to geography and it demonstrated that all over the place there still is a good amount of economic mobility to be had. What struck me the most was that children of the wealthiest 1%: those who had the most opportunity and ability to "play" the system only ended up being on average in the 30-40%. (NY:32% San Fran 38%). This was pretty shocking to me. How could people with the best educational opportunities fail at a pretty significant rate to "maximize" their opportunity?
So here is the idea. I was thinking about the modern godless notion that we are the ones who imbue life with meaning. People can pursue whatever they wish, whatever they assume will bring them happiness. And for many,they find it is not money that brings happiness. The children of the wealthiest have seen the things and status and wealth do not bring lasting joy. They see the lies that their parents have made god And so they pursue a different path to personal happiness. Only these paths are just as godless and just as false.
In all of these paths where the individual is free to give life it's meaning for them each person is forming a god in their own image. And all of these end up being expressions of our pride, our self sufficiency and our alienation from the true God. In an atheistic culture it is no wonder we see the explosion of narcissism. It is no wonder that without a god to follow we become god's in our own eyes.
Narcissism continues to grow as we strip western culture from it's religious underpinnings. Narcissism grows as we advocate self esteem above a universal moral code. We are seeing the outgrowth of Nietzche's philosophies all around us as people feel freed from the social rules and mores. More and more people see themselves as Nietzche's Supermen (women) who saw themselves as above an artificial other imposed ethical code. Atheism breeds Narcissism. An individuals ability to be the author of meaning in their life is not a positive development.
I say this even as many choose "noble" paths, and seek to fill their lives with good deeds, and by being people of substance and concern for others. Even in the what I would say are the majority of cases. Those where individuals don't exhibit narcissistic behavior' there remains an aspect of self-centeredness since the individual is the author of meaning. So even if meaning is derived from service, and caring from others. Ultimately it comes back to the fact that the individual wants to serve self through others.
It is only in Christ that this self focused reality can be undone. When we live for him, either serving others or making a lot of money are both honorable paths forward. It is the entire Christian message applied to life. When we know grace, we are free to uphold the laws. When we know God's grace, we are free to use our gifts and passions in our work to the benefit and service of mankind, whether it be in finance, the non-profit sector or as a baker, teacher or trash man. In all of these areas we serve others because we first serve God. In that our identity is found in him, and not our jobs. In that, we are no better than anyone else because we have a "better" job. In that, we are equal because we are all made in the image of God. When we find our identity in him we are free not to give purpose and meaning to our own lives, but rather we are free to live out the purpose that is already there.
"Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-38