Who knew I had so much in common with the iconic Dr. Freud, the Father of Mental Heath and the pioneer of sexuality and gender behaviors.
I share his opinion on humankind and ethics.
To prove his point, we have Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton and many more.
Religions teach the goodness of people, and there are many wonderful caring men and women. But it brings to mind the saying: “Do you believe what I tell you or what you see with your eyes?”
I’m not sure what religion she’s been checking into. (I know what that means, or used to mean, in Palm Beach.) But Christianity has a more complex view of the human heart than either its advocates or opponents care to admit.
One the one hand, we are taught that “I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.” (Psalms 139:14). On the other hand “For all have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glorious ideal” (Romans 3:23). We were intended for good things by our Creator, but we suffer from the blowback of the Fall. And our lives are a fall in and of themselves.
But our lives can be–and have been–redeemed as well. To cite a verse I heard many times during the Holy Communion at Bethesda from the 1928 BCP:
My children, I am writing to you to keep you from sinning; but if any one should sin, we have one who can plead for us with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous– and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world besides. (1 John 2:1-2)
I got a lot of Freud growing up in Palm Beach (it was the era more than the town.) But I didn’t need Freud to tell me that people can be, to put it charitably, untrustworthy. As I said in The Tree That Grows in Heaven, “…living in South Florida is a sure cure for universalism, reminding one that, if there’s a default option in eternity, it’s not heaven.”
We are sinners in need of a saviour. That’s cause for both hope and humility.