Man has been plagued with the desire to “play God” since Genesis 3. This includes promoting “imago” self rather than “imago Dei.” That is, culture is obsessed with representing self, according to one’s own design.
Although the created has always sinfully desired to be the Creator, contemporary culture is fraught with heightened forms of creating one’s identity.
Online avatars permit us to create a virtual self where visual appearance, attributes and behavior may be represented in any manner in the perceived risk-free environment of online spaces. This permits individuals to act out their personal fantasies without apparent consequences. Online screen names and profiles permit us to self-represent ourselves in a particular manner that is often far from reality. Social media permits us to define facets of self with mere images and a few characters.
Gender fluidity, meanwhile, is being promoted as a cultural norm. Individuals may now self-identify as someone or something else. Bookstores and blogs are rampant with self-help, self-awareness and self-actualization topics. Tattoos have moved from expressing identity to defining identity. Advances in artificial intelligence are rapidly colliding with concepts of identity and personhood. TED talks provide unending lectures on personality, self-motivation and humanity, all with the goal to assist us in defining our identity.
The 1978 rock classic “Who Are You” by The Who is the siren lament of contemporary culture. Culture has more adjectival labels for people now than one’s favorite cup of coffee at the boutique coffee shop. People are in an identity crisis, desperately trying to define themselves in a world that strangles uniqueness as it makes everything normative.
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Source: Baptist Press