every Man’s god

According to Google, “every Man’s god is”…
1. his highest ideal
2. what he attaches the most importance to
3. what he serves and loves best
4. a reflex of himself
5. but an enlarged edition of himself
6. Gold
7. exactly what he thinks it is
8. just his own perception of what God really is
9. as that man (Goethe)

Reflecting on this, I recalled a photo, which I took in July 2007 at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. What remains apparent for me in this image is both the contrast and the similarity between the two religions: capitalism and catholicism.

In this reflection, I also recalled a talk by Karen Armstrong which I viewed on TED in September 2008. My notes on the talk included this: “every man’s god is his own creature, and in praising it he praises himself.”

These things are humbling. In the face of this postmodern mess, it’s at least somewhat counter-cultural to yet uphold the Reformation’s ideal “Soli Deo Gloria”. In doing so, it of course remains easy to claim just a little bit of that glory for oneself… whether it’s intellectual prowess, or some other gift of grace that we claim as our own.

To move forward, though, let’s recall that if there is brilliance in us, it’s because we reflect it, and not because we invented it. We ultimately remain creatures, even as we become (lowercase) creators.


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