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The Tragedy of our gods

Absolutizing relative values, idolatry becomes the hub of much human anguish. We feel torn apart when two or more gods claim us simultaneously. The essential predicament of man as a valuing being is his propensity to exalt limited values to ultimacy.

Only the highest goods and ideals we know are capable of becoming our gods: family, knowledge, nation, security, political movements, economic structures. Life is lived under the illusion that they (creatures) are ultimate meaning-givers.

Time makes relative all our absolutes. Though temporarily we may succeed, ultimately we fail to secure our values against the erosion of time. Our crutches become warped and broken. We mourn the passing away of our gods. The causes for which we live, die. The best ideals to which we give ourselves become outmoded. We grieve. "Where are your gods that you made for yourself?" the Bible realistically asks. "Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble." (Jeremiah 2:28.) When our causes collapse, absurdity meets us face to face. We try to guard against awareness of our vulnerability, but the truth of it is always just beyond the horizon of our awareness.

Reference: TSOA, pp. 236, 238.