Autonomy: freedom from external control or influence; independence.
“I am free to make the choices I want to make.”
“I am free to make those choices as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.”
“Who are you to tell me what to do? It’s my life.”
It seems to me that the greatest offense you can cause to many people today is the offence of telling them you disagree with them or that their views need challenging or that they are just wrong. Of course there is a way to disagree with people that is hateful and obnoxious but disagreeing and discussing and listening are the ways we learn and grow.
On the radio the other day two women were arguing about discrimination and gender re-assignment and the discussion decended into a battle of who was the most offended by what the other person said. What I heard as subtext was: “my opinion is the right one and how dare you tell me I am wrong. You committed the ultimate sin of offending me.”
My guess is that part of the struggle we have with diagreements over gay marriage and gender fluidity and abortion (to mention the most controvertial) are partly down to something I know all too well: the problem of wanting to do what I want to do and how dare anyone tell me any different. How dare God tell me that what I want is wrong. And if I can get behind that and simply argue that God’s word didn’t mean what I think think he might mean then I can be free from his terrible control. Or I can go a stage further and say that the Bible is simply a human invention and it’s not God speaking at all. Or I can go even further and say God doesn’t even exist so I can just stop worrying about it and get on enjoy my life.
Except… I don’t. I get angry with anyone that dares challenge my right to think and act as I want. I know it all too well in my own experience so I shouldn’t be surprised that others struggle there too.
I was reading something from the Apostle Paul the other day on idolatry and it struck me again how the biggest idol in my life is me. I want what I want and my wants are the driver and definer or my existance. I am the idol, I am the god who determines my own destiny.
What a joy to get over myself and see in Jesus someone who is God and yet models selflessness (ultimately by dying) in a way that smashes the idol of me. (Philippians 2v3-11).