We Are All Slaves

By the title I mean we are slaves to a worldview, a narrative in our heads that tells us how the world works.

You could call this religion, or faith if you want. Though faith is a lame English word; trust is better. We trust the world works a certain way. We trust other people. We trust the institutions that our lives and our society is built on. We trust what we see on the news or hear from other people. We trust ourselves.

Whatever the case, we all act on trust. If we didn’t, we couldn’t get out of bed each morning.

We as humans navigate the world by constructing a narrative—or worldview—out of all these things that we trust.

None of us can interact with the world directly. Even from a sensory point of view this is true. Our brains interpret the electrical impulses coming through it from our sensory organs and interprets the information for us.

The same thing happens with events. When, say, a natural disaster or violent crime happens, unless you were there to witness the event yourself, you learn about the event and the minute facts from various sources.

These sources could be lying or withholding information, or simply presenting things in a way to push the news provider’s own agenda.

These narrative worldviews we construct, or allow to be constructed on us by others, are our religions. In the ancient world, these narratives were anthropomorphized and worshipped as gods.

Everyone’s narrative is not a single, coherent perspective. It’s always a messy, incoherent tangle of different ideas constructed over a person’s lifetimes from different sources.

It’s like a big pile of dirty laundry. We pick through it and find a sock or a crumpled shirt to suit the occasion.

What’s going on right now in America is that there are largely two vastly different worldviews controlling the right and the left. They are, in effect, watching two different movies, two different takes on reality. This is why the political thinking is bifurcated in this country. And it’s no mere difference in thinking, it is deeply religious since so many people see their value and self-worth in whatever political side they are a part of.

The ultimate challenge of the Hebrew Scriptures is that it challenges you to have one narrative, one point of view, that of Scripture itself. You don’t get to construct the narrative, the narrative is already written in Scripture.

This is why, since its conception, different traditions and cultures have always mishandled Scripture, starting with the Hebrews themselves to modern Jews and Christians.

Scripture has issued a challenge that very few in the last two to three millennia have answered.

In the meantime, we continue to muddle through life with our chimeric worldviews which, whether we realize it or not, function as gods to us, guiding our choices, influencing how we perceive reality and those around us.

We all are religious. We are slaves to the gods which infest the false temples of our thoughts and words.

The least we can do is realize this is so.