A few months ago the Girl Guides changed the oath that girls are expected to make upon joining. Rather than promising to serve God and country instead the girl guides now promise to be “true to myself and develop my beliefs”. It probably wasn't the intent of the girl guide organisation but they have unwittingly provided a devastating critique of Western secular society.
We live in the age of Me, an age where morality is determined, not by any objective standard, but by the fickle reason of our egos. All that matter is being true to "myself". We see this in the issue of transgender individuals insisting that biological gender is second place to the decision of Me to be the gender Me wants. We see this in the issue of abortion where Me chooses to rid Myself of an unnecessary inconvenience rather than valuing the life of Another. We see this in society's attitude to sex where the only moral consideration is the consent of two Mes. We see this in the consumer society where Me has to appear better, richer, cooler than anyone else. And we see this in the greed and selfishness which typifies so much of human existence – Me gets what Me wants over the opinions and actions of any other.
When did narcissism become such a sure decider of right and wrong? Yet listening to the moral debates that are had by our society reveals that the only factor under consideration seem to be doing what Me wants as long as it doesn't harm another. But we are deluding ourselves if we think that such a compromise is possible. The wants of Me will inevitably conflict with the wants of another Me. The desires of Me will eventually only be fulfilled at the expense of another.
_ There are many people who would describe Christianity as a restriction on life and on a certain level they have a point. The Bible does lay out a standard of living that is partly a list of don’ts: don’t get drunk, don’t worship other gods, don’t respond to violence with violence, don’t have sex before marriage, don’t gossip, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be lazy, don’t give way to sin, etc. And if there wasn’t enough the Bible also lays out a list of does: be obedient to Christ, be pure, be holy, love God, love others, do good deeds, give cheerfully, go to church, be encouraging, rebuke error, rejoice in God, pray, read the Bible, take communion, etc.
In a certain way it is of no surprise that people view Christianity often as a prison, a religion that limits choice, stops people having ‘fun’, narrows the options down and chains people to an outdated morality. But, and this is a big but, the reality is completely different. Christianity doesn’t enslave it frees, obedience to Christ is not a restriction it is life in all its fullness, denying ourselves to follow Christ is not a chain but a hammer that breaks chains in two.
“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
John 8 v 34