When we look at the thesis of Fredrich Nietzche’s “superman” we realize the irony, which the sixteenth-century Reformation dubbed “theology of glory” in its medieval version, was in itself a kind of slave morality that champions the powerful over the weak, the intellectual over the common man and the corporate elite against the working-class man.
Today, religious leaders easily perpetuate their flocks on the dependency on the marketplace for its popular culture position. By no means are we advocating pessimism because God’s common grace can still experience grand proclamations for justice, civic virtue, and artistic beauty? However, advocating a following of healthy-mindedness and ignoring the ‘Fall’ realities only renders its teachings a therapy in times of plenty and non-consequential in times of tragedy or pain and suffering. Humanity does not need a mask from the realities of the world around us. Good News, the news found to lift the spirits of the downtrodden and hurting and gives hope and destiny, news that binds the broken saves the lost, and brings hope. We have sidetracked and avoided its true meaning to ourselves in our selfish pursuits.
It is in the word of God that brings good news for the lost. Do not fool ourselves into believing that we are grounded in spiritual fulfilment if we measure ourselves by God’s interpretation of reality rather than our own. The desires of glory, power, comfort, autonomy, health, and wealth create a vicious cycle of craving and disillusionment. Promoting our industry of therapist, exercise, style, and self-esteem gurus – and cults to massage the egos wounded by this indulgence.
When a crisis befalls, the soul is too artificial to respond appropriately. We are bound and imprisoned by our own felt needs, which were ingrained in us from the beginning by the surroundings we live in that, like a drug, provides us with an easy ‘fix’. We succumb to our shallow hopes and desires. We are too quickly disappointed since we, easily persuaded that the environment we dwell in has the ‘fix’ that will provide us with the illusions of contentment.
It is not pessimism, but sanity, that recognizes the truth in God’s judgment:
A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40: 6-8 (ESV)
It does not mean that we resign ourselves to an average lifestyle, but the realization that it is a life of pursuing immediate gratification, with no greater purpose or meaning, is genuinely average, no matter how inspiring, fulfilling, or pleasurable be at that moment. While a life of abundance, offered to us, we settle for the false promises of this world. This ‘Theology of glory’ is hardly for fulfilment or power, but instead, it spins weakness as a strength, feebleness as power, and pride as humility.
We must distance ourselves in this theology of glory and look to the ‘Theology of the Cross’. We look to the prophets who emphasized that ironically it was at the cross that the world looked towards as an example of weakness, but God triumphs over sin and death. Here is the irony: Just where the highest and holiest victim of genuinely undeserving suffering cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, victory over sin and death is taking place.