By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Idols: Making the Relative Absolute

We have plenty. X's mood varies when the U.S. News college rankings show that his favored university has been sliding down from the top ranks. Another thinks his own ethnicity is something that others should applaud or find impressive. Another is addicted to one political ideology or another, whether the Tea Party or a left-wing or nationalist cause.

Yes, we humans have a strong attraction to making what is relative absolute. There are many good colleges. Your favorite is one of many. It is not the center of the universe and never will be--and that includes Harvard. Your ethnicity is part of the diversity of mankind. It is really no big deal. All of us share in that diversity. Political ideologies are tools for manipulation. Never turn over your common sense or judgment to any political party, agenda, or politician.

Now, some things are absolute in their worth: the moral law, human dignity, compassion, love, and the God who, for us Christians, is love and the voice of conscience. Those are indeed the truly exceptional things whose absolute worth we need to emphasize. All the other trinkets--my school, my ethnicity, my politics, etc.--are of relative, very relative worth. Wisdom is living this difference.

(Image in public domain)