II – The Straw Man that Lives in your Head

Originally a comment by someone over at Orthosphere:

Man is made in God’s image, and as such is not suited for servility, even towards his creator.

The image of God as a king (enthroned in our hearts or not) is a lie of certain humans who presume to rule over other humans. The real god is an anarchist who wants creation to be as self-governing as he is.

There followed in that combox a discussion about the nature of God when I realized that this wasn’t a good faith discussion. The commenter clearly has an idea of God that is different from the Catholic perspective, and so myself and others could probably go back and forth all day about what he believes and why he believes it. But it does no good.

Robert Heinlein coined the word ‘grok’ in his book “Stranger in a Strange Land”Grok means to know something so thoroughly that it becomes a part of us, and changes us. It’s the difference between knowing someone’s name and remembering their name. When it comes to faith, which is the most important thing in the universe, we have a responsibility to seek to Grok the teachings of Christ. If we truly, TRULY understand them, we will take them as our own, and follow Christ more closely. The alternative is to be stubbornly ignorant.

This commenter has an idea of God that comes from no where but his mind, and disagrees with me on the basis, essentially, that his misunderstanding of what I am saying doesn’t make sense.

This serves as a great example, which is why I’m harping on it. Our first obstacle to holiness is ourselves. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to lift the veil of ignorance and inform ourselves. That way, if we disagree, at least we do so in an informed way. If we don’t fight the straw man that lives in our heads, then the straw man rules us. Contains us.

This applies in more than just faith, but nowhere but faith is it so important. Self examination is the beginning of understanding. Seek out and do combat with the straw men that live in your head.


5 thoughts on “II – The Straw Man that Lives in your Head

  1. The real God is a father who is pleased by neither servility nor defiance. Servility and defiance are both forms of injustice.

    It didn’t come up in the Orthosphere thread, but anarchism is incoherent. The conditions of anarchism must be held in place by power. If they are not, anarchism naturally evolves into some sort of hierarchy.


    1. I agree, God is a loving father who wants us to do those things which are best for us, and to do those things willingly. Doing something “because we have to” is insincere and fails to grasp the meaning. Not doing something “because you cant tell me what to do”–i cant think of a better term than “Rude” but only in matters of Faith is rudeness considered a virtue.

      I agree too re: Anarchy. In a sense–perhaps a quite literal sense–it is Liberalism, perfectly conceived. No one is obliged to do anything, no one has authority or power. And it allows contrary ideals to seep in. The first person to create authority will consolidate it. Its almost as if the more “Liberal” a society is, the faster it moves away from “Liberalism”, because the faster illiberal ideas can take root and flourish under the “tolerance” of that society.

      This can work for better or worse, too.


  2. I don’t think the propagation of illiberal ideas ends a period of social anarchy. It is the natural inequality of individuals reasserting itself and forming a natural hierarchy. Imagine ten individuals shipwrecked on an island. As they lay on the beach gasping for air, their society is socially anarchic. But because those individuals are not equal, they will very quickly form a hierarchy in which there is a leader, his closest advisors (lieutenants), and the rank and file. If they do not form this hierarchy, they will die.


    1. That’s a good point. I was envisioning an ‘anarchic society’ if such is even possible, and how it would dissolve. But when true Anarchy exists, when man is left to fend for himself in the wild, without hope of certain rescue, he immediately creates order out of chaos for survival. One could argue ‘social hierarchy’ is just another word for a groups instinct for self preservation.


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