The Secular Worshiper

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The words of novelist David Foster Wallace, not long before his suicide:

“Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship…is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough…Worship you body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you…Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is…they’re unconscious. They are default settings.”

Despite his secular background, Wallace makes some very precise observations here. This is an observation that dives straight into the heart of how we function and live our lives on a daily basis. This is the mechanism of the human heart – we live by our worship; we live by taking one of the good things in life and exalting them as ultimate sources of meaning.


Its not enough for us to have mere answers, mere equations about how life works. To be human is to long for an answer that captivates our heart. Each of us seeks this and we will be restless until we are gripped by something. A religion, a hobby, a career, a relationship – the list goes on. No matter where we look in in our own lives, hearts and histories, we will see this reality being played out.


This then leads each of us to the obvious question: what do I worship and why? What is the thing that grips by heart and breathes meaning to my everyday life? Where is my worship taking me?


As if thats not enough, there is an even deeper question here: why is this so? Where does such a drive for worship come from? There is no point in answering the first question unless we stand on solid ground in our answer to the second question. If I don’t know why I am a worshiper, it sucks all the meaning out of my worship. This second question drills down to the core of human nature. It also helps us really start to see whether or not the answers that we hold to really align with reality.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]



“In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it Bulverism.


Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father—who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third—‘Oh you say that because you are a man. ’ ‘At that moment’, E. Bulver assures us, ‘there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.’ That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.”


Lewis, C. S. (2014-05-20). God in the Dock (p. 301). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

An Honest Look

Conversations on faith and spirituality don’t necessarily have to be complicated. Perhaps you’ve had the frustrating experience of trying to read or listen in on these types of conversations and felt alienated and confused. Maybe you’ve tried to have these conversations and find yourself getting lost. The key to clarity is to remember why we are having these conversations.

We cannot avoid faith and spirituality because these are connected to some of the most foundational building blocks of being human. The point is not to try to understand every philosopher and theologian that fills the library bookshelves. The point is to take an honest look at who and what we are as people, and then ask yourself, “How does my worldview explain this experience? What do I believe about this and why?”

Continue reading “An Honest Look”