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17.F. Nietzsche,Thus Spoke Zarathustra, part IV, “On the Higher Man,” nearthe end of section I.18.Raimond Gaita,A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love and Truth andJustice. (Quoted in Michael J. Perry,Toward a Theory of Human Rights, pp.7 and 17–18.)19.From Chapter 10, “Fecundity,” in Annie Dillard,Pilgrim at Tinker Creek(HarperCollins, 1974).20.Quoted in Peter C. Moore,One Lord, One Faith(Thomas Nelson, 1994), p.128.21.C. S. Lewis, “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948), reprinted in the volumePresent Concerns, pp. 73–80.TEN—The Problem of Sin1.Barbara B. Taylor,Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation(Cowley,2000), pp. 57–67.2.Andrew Delbanco,The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope(Harvard University Press, 2000), p. 253.Soren Kierkegaard,The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian PsychologicalExposition for Edification and Awakening(Penguin, 1989), pp. 111, 113.4.Ernest Becker,The Denial of Death(Free Press, 1973), pp. 3, 7.5.Ibid., p. 160.6.Ibid., p. 109.7.Ibid., p. 166. It is important to note that Becker was not trying to promotefaith. He was an atheist, so that was not his agenda.8.If we use Kierkegaard’s definition we can categorize various “god-substitutes” and the particular kinds of brokenness and damage that each one
brings into a life. So we could discern some of the following:If you center your life and identity on your spouse or partner, you will beemotionally dependent, jealous, and controlling. The other person’sproblems will be overwhelming to you.If you center your life and identity on your family and children, you willtry to live your life through your children until they resent you or have noself of their own. At worst, you may abuse them when they displease you.If you center your life and identity on your work and career, you will be adriven workaholic and a boring, shallow person. At worst you will losefamily and friends and, if your career goes poorly, develop deepdepression.If you center your life and identity on money and possessions, you’ll beeaten up by worry or jealousy about money. You’ll be willing to dounethical things to maintain your lifestyle, which will eventually blow upyour life.If you center your life and identity on pleasure, gratification, and comfort,you will find yourself getting addicted to something. You will becomechained to the “escape strategies” by which you avoid the hardness of life.If you center your life and identity on relationships and approval, you willbe constantly overly hurt by criticism and thus always losing friends. Youwill fear confronting others and therefore will be a useless friend.If you center your life and identity on a “noble cause,” you will divide theworld into “good” and “bad” and demonize your opponents. Ironically,you will be controlled by your enemies. Without them, you have nopurpose.If you center your life and identity on religion and morality, you will, ifyou are living up to your moral standards, be proud, self-righteous, andcruel. If you don’t live up to your standards, your guilt will be utterlydevastating.