So I was thinking about Western society and our relationship to God. It seems to me to parallel a parent-child relationship.

Childhood
So when you’re a child, you think of your parents as people who do no wrong. If there’s a problem, you’re sure that it’s your fault. Mom and Dad can’t be to blame. Likewise, in the early centuries, God was viewed with reverence. If something was wrong, it was assumed that somehow people had done something to cause it. People might disagree on who God is, how many gods there are, etc., but it was generally agreed that people=wrong and the cause of their own calamities.

Teen years into college
This is the time in your life where the flaws in your parents become evident. Now, it could be that you’re seeing flaws that don’t exist, but they’re obvious to you nonetheless. In that same way, beginning with the Enlightenment, western society became more and more suspicious of God, the church, and all. To be sure, the Church, didn’t help on this account. “God’s representatives” had made some big mistakes. These were projected onto God Himself. Questions about God’s character led to questions about His very existence; it wasn’t long ago that God’s death was proclaimed. Rationalism and science were our god and we liked it that way. Like teens we said, in essence, “We don’t need you and your rules; let me lead my life.”

Early Adulthood
I’ve noticed a trend lately that makes me think our society is emerging into early adulthood. People say things like, “Maybe faith is something that will help me in my life.” This is akin to the twenty-something who notices that his parents aren’t as stupid as he thought.

I’ll admit that this isn’t a foolproof analogy, but that it does help me as a way of thinking of history. What do you think?

Paul

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