Thursday, March 10, 2005

Radio theology

I was listening to Derryn Hinch's radio talk show the other day when the topic moved on to religion. Hinch is every inch a secular liberal, yet he listened politely while a Christian lady explained to him her beliefs. All went well till she mentioned her conviction that the faithful would go to heaven and the rest to hell.

"What!" spluttered Hinch. "That's discrimination!"

Hinch then repeated his often expressed view that "we are just ants". Which is an interesting position for a modern liberal to take. Liberalism evolved out of a humanism which wanted to make man the centre of things. Man was to take on god-like qualities of creating his own being. Yet to do so man and the universe he inhabited had to be made empty so that there were no limits to what men could will for themselves. But by making man and his reality empty, man was in the long run made to seem small - ant-like in Hinch's view.

Liberalism reached too far and achieved the opposite of what was intended. We need now to recognise that a god-like self-authorship is not the way to make man into something fine and admirable. It's better to accept that we have a given nature and that we live within a given reality, but that within this existing situation there is a possibility to find and to manifest what is inherently good and meaningful.

Which is simply to say that we have to stop the deliberate, ideological process of making ourselves and our reality empty, and recognise the finer things that are part of our human experience.

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