“Loving Yourself Means Thinking Highly Of Yourself”
I used to have a close Christian mentor. He often told me, “One sin I struggle a lot with is low self-esteem.” Today I put my hand on my forehead when I think about that. This push for self-esteem at any cost is what has made my generation all fat and worthless. We want to blame the public schools for it, but the churches are almost as bad.
For those of you who grew up in American Christianity, recall VeggieTales’s “God loves you because you are unique” ethic at the end of every episode.
I remember in my early days of People of Praise we all listened to a talk. It was recorded, and they don't like to put stuff on the internet, largely because it can be critiqued to death. I was supposed to be impressed by this guy- people said he was a physicist or something; can't remember for sure, but what I do remember for sure is that he sorely needed to be familiar with Alfred Korzybski.
He spent what seemed like hours- and I think it was actually hours- trying to talk about what God is, which he couldn't really do, so he spent a lot of time talking about what God is not. It was a giant freaking waste of time, but I generally gave him the benefit of the doubt. He's trapped in Aristotelian logic, just like most of America, and he's struggling to find the right way of saying it.
But not now. The extent of the man's faith is Veggie Tales. The veggie tales quote is what reminded me of this talk. Talking about the uniqueness of you is a lot like how doctors just make up labels for stuff. If you go to the hospital with severe pain in your abdomen, and they do all the tests they can think of and they can't find anything, they say you have irritable bowel syndrome. It is a bit of a scam, because neither the Christian nor the doctor wants to be honest and say, 'I don't know.' I've got news- when you are trying to convince people of an All-Knowing God, you should say you don't know often, because you can't know the mind of God. He is just way too far above your head.
It seems to me much simpler to point to what God does. Then there are inferences to what God does that can be made. He wants more life- and that inescapably means more people, and He wants to bring people into perfection. Sure, maybe that talk would take hours too, but it would make sense. And you would end up with God's love being a driving, creative force seeking to increase creation and bring it into perfection, rather than something dependent on your flimsy uniqueness.
This isn't mentioned much, because God wanting more life would interfere with some girl deciding she really needs to be doing something more important than having babies. Blair Naso has seen that too:
I was recently gaming a high school senior who was convinced that God wanted her to become a surgeon because “He has placed this desire in my heart.” She wouldn’t listen no matter how I tried to tell her that was a bad idea. So I had to dismiss her.
Now not only is she about to fail at a miserable career—likely before it even starts—but she also missed out on a potential soulmate. Which ties back into my point above about toxic love, since I’m sure her parents encouraged her to piss away her best years in grad school.
Go read his post. There's more there.