Fr George Adimike
The worship of human well-being, rational efficiency and self-sufficiency parse the culture of diminishing gratitude, which is stressful instead of grateful. Due to the dire socio-economic challenges seconding the COVID-19 pandemic and its ramifications, material progress measures success for families and families of nations in an absolute manner. Irrespective of the fact that economic, technological and scientific progress alone is inadequate since it has to be integral for development to be properly human, there are growing pro-material salvation and anti-Christian religion narratives. However, humanity forgets that any development anchored on insufficient knowledge of man exacerbates his inclination to false emancipation, leading him to absolutise his efficiency, which keeps failing him. Naturally, humans are dependent on God and interdependent on others; they lie when they pretend to be self-sufficient.
The temptation to false emancipation that spilt over from the Garden of Eden to the garden and desert of the quotidian human existence continues to catch humanity off-guard. This false emancipation, which entails a refusal to be in a filial relationship, exaggerates human capacity and strength. In this clear manifestation of diminishing gratitude, humans succumb to radical autonomy and self-sufficiency that excludes God and misunderstands the mystery of the human project. As one of its significant ramifications, a section of humanity disregards its relationship with God in their self-delusion. In the stead of God, it enthrones the human person, leading to anthropolatry (worship of man). In effect, it expresses itself in attenuation of the supernatural dimension to life and demarketing of religion. Consequently, man turns dominion over creation into domination of the created order as a tin god, prioritising material progress attained through human efficiency. Yet, since man cannot do away with relationship and wardship, he surrenders to efficiency and worships it, giving rise to the worship of technology – technolatry.
The prodigal humanity typified in the story of the prodigal son, in refusing the fatherhood of God, glories in her overconfidence in radical autonomy. She thinks herself capable of anything unaided, falling into the same sin of Adam. The latter in manipulating to be like God made a god of himself. The enthronement and worship of the self and its capacity that disregards God and path to Him (religion) parses the bane of the modern world and modern man. The prodigal humanity struggles to liberate herself from all theological and supernatural sovereignty of God. Such a misdemeanour was the original sin; it was the biblical sin and it spells sin of the modern society. It is both a refusal to worship God and adoption of the self as a god, which also expresses itself in the adoption of other gods. Man switches allegiance to self and the ramifications of placing self above everything, namely deification of money, pleasure, power, and the general tendency to turn icons into idols.
The incontrovertible truth is that switching between masters does not guarantee human freedom. Instead, it can turn human interdependency into dependency, depending on the identities of the new overlords. The effort to free himself from the lordship of God leaves him imprisoned in the imperialism of the self and sovereignty of the efficiency. It leads to a radical departure from man’s destiny to a distorted pursuit of a temporal kingdom with its full option of glory. As a result, worldly progress replaces eternal salvation and material well-being trumps friendship with God. Such a scenario produces a …