Kan ’n mens die volgende lees en verstaan vanuit ’n Christelike perspektief?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
Met die eerste oogopslag lyk dit nogal na iets wat ’n Christen sou kon sê om ander mense te bemoedig. Die feit is egter dat die skrywer daarvan ’n spiritualis en New Age denker is. Dit is juis omdat die postmoderne en relativistiese idees onderliggend aan iets soos die New Age soms so ‘reg’ klink en voel dat dit dikwels die vesting van waarheid sonder enige teenstand infiltreer en geleidelik al die fondamente wegvreet. Siende dat die New Age geloof deurtrek is met ondeurdagte aannames, is dit nodig om die halwe waarhede bloot te lê vir wat dit is, naamlik, valsheid. Die probleem is dat baie mense net dink aan die ‘waarheid’ van die halwe waarheid en nie enigsins ag slaan op die valsheid daarvan nie. Net hoe betroubaar of veelseggend is ’n halwe waarheid egter? Wat is die antwoord op: 50% waarheid + 50% valsheid? Die probleem is dat die waarheid nie werklik gegradeer kan word nie. Die waarheid is ’n geheel en is absoluut.
Natuurlik kan ’n mens suggesties van waarheid herken in baie idees, al sou die groter geheel waarvan dit deel is, vals wees. Ons maak egter dikwels die fout om net die dele in isolasie te beskou en nie ag te slaan op waarheid van die geheel nie. My standpunt is dat ons eers moet seker maak oor die geldigheid van die geheel, voordat ons allerhande waarhede en waarde aan die dele toedig. Sonder om die groter geheel as konteks in ag te neem, kan ons nie werklik verstaan wat met die dele bedoel word nie.
Goed, dit ter inleiding. Ek sou soos volg op frases uit bogenoemde paragraaf reageer en ek doen so in Engels:
1) Contrary to the statement that “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate”, it really is the case that people’s actions reveal their deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. From a Biblical point of view these feelings are the result of sin and the guilt that it brings about. It seems that most people arrange their lives in order to simply please themselves. But since God has not made humans with the purpose of pleasing themselves, it seems that they constantly struggle with feelings of inadequacy for not being able to live up to what they are supposed to be. Instead of finding their worth and significance in what God is offering, people tend to strive for achieving, being and doing things according to their own desires, all the while trying to find purpose and worth in themselves.
2) What does one make of an absolute meaningless statement like “our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”? The attribute of an infinite power (“power beyond measure”) is usually attributed to the Biblical/theistic concept of God. In contrast, the pantheistic worldview declares that god is in everything and in everyone, and there’s no need therefore to be inferior or accountable to some distinctly personal and moral Being. Talk of being “a child of God” sounds Christian enough, but given the worldview context, it would actually mean “you are God”.
3) Marianne Williamson asserts that “it is our light that most frightens us”. Here is another concept which is presented in Christian garb, but which is decidedly unintelligible from a Christian point of view. For the Christian the metaphorical use of light in the Bible is never something to be afraid of. As Ephesians 5:9 says: “for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth”.
4) The reason people might doubt their abilities or “[play] small” is not because they are afraid of their own power or of their “light” (whatever that might mean). It is simply because people are, in fact, plagued with feelings of inadequacy. By asking: who you are not to be “brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous”, might sound profound and enlightening, but it really is neither. Such a ‘be all you can be’ attitude would not empower anybody to actually be those things, neither would it rid anybody of those nagging feelings of inadequacy. The Christian would agree that actualizing your potential is a good and necessary thing to do. But the Christian differs utterly as to the source and motivation for doing so. The Christian accepts his or her abilities, talents and gifts as undeserved (yes, undeserved) blessings from God. There is no hint of an arrogant and self-righteous “who are you not to be” attitude. The Christian understands that God blesses each person in a unique way with the purpose of blessing others, and therefore no comparison with others is needed. The Christian does not “[play] small” or “[shrink]” back so that others “won’t feel insecure around” them. The Christian who lives according to his God-given potential (through the power of the Holy Spirit) will inevitably attract people with his attitude, words and actions.
5) The concepts of “shining your light” and being “born to manifest the glory of God that is within us”, is another example of words that fall familiarly on the Christian ear. In fact, isn’t it words straight from Matthew 5:16? “In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” By it should be clear that ‘familiarly’ does not mean ‘Christian’. The problem is not that we should shine our light or manifest God’s glory – this much is true. The distortion is found in how this allegedly occurs. Williamson declares that God’s glory is “within us” and then goes on to say “[it’s] not just in some of us; it’s in everyone”. Since pantheism regards a human person as God, then “to manifest the glory of God” would in effect simply mean ‘to manifest yourself’. It must be said that it is true that all humans reveal something of the image of God and therefore have intrinsic value no matter who they are. But it is simply false to maintain that all people manifest the “glory of God”. This flatly contradicts Biblical statements like the following:
John 3:19-21 (GNB): This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
Rom 3:23 (MKJV): …for all have sinned andcome short of the glory of God…
Rom 8:9 (GNB): But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to – if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
6) It needs to be emphasized that the ability to shine our light and to manifest the glory of God comes from God himself. He is the source of all light which we as humans merely reflect. This is apparent in statements like the following:
2 Cor 4:6 (GNB): The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ.
John 8:12 (GNB): Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”
John 12:46 (GNB): “I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.”
Christians who shine their light will influence other people in many positive ways, but the main purpose will always be to point others to its Source. It is not merely to “subconsciously give other people permission to do the same” as noble as that might sound. It is only as people recognize and give glory to the God of heaven (Matt 5:16) and not the ‘god of me’, that they will be liberated from whatever fears keeps them from living to the full. It is tremendously egotistical to think that it is “our presence” that “automatically liberates others”. But then again, if you really think you are God, then supposedly you are free to think whatever you want. And when you think about it, you then don’t need Marianne Williamson to tell you that.