Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony, narcissism and the gospel

Like everyone else I was surprised at the not guilty verdicts rendered in the Casey Anthony trial, though I didn't follow the proceedings closely enough to judge whether there was "reasonable doubt" to justify the jury's decision. What little I know of the case comes from the occasional newspaper article and from overhearing conversations of others who did follow the trial religiously. That being said I'll venture a few comments.

Justice has not been served on behalf of this little girl victimized on many levels by those to whom she was entrusted. It seems to me this is a case where the sins of the fathers were passed down, and wherever the truth lies, it's hard for me to believe the defendant's parents are completely innocent. The whole family situation is one of brokenness and dysfunction. The dark side of American suburbia was on display in this trial. Tragically, the truth of what happened to a precious child remains hidden in a web of lies.

Whether she murdered her daughter or not (and I suspect she did) Casey Anthony's ultimate goal in life was personal happiness, and her defining characteristic was narcissism. In this way she's emblematic of our society. Perhaps some of the vitriol directed her way is a subtle form of self-loathing? This is clear in the notorious diary entry; the timing of which was a point of dispute in the trial.

I have no regrets, just a bit worried. I just want for everything to work out okay.

I completely trust my own judgement & know that I made the right decision. I just hope that the end justifies the means.

I just want to know what the future will hold for me. I guess I will soon see -- This is the happiest that I have been in a very long time.

I hope that my happiness will continue to grow -- I've made new friends that I really like. I've surrounded myself with good people -- I am finally happy. Let's just hope that it doesn't change.

Wow, that reads like a manifesto for our age. The self as God, and happiness as the ultimate good -- man's original sin. The paradoxical thing about that way of life is that it's a dead end. Jesus said it best. . .

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

What good news this is! That I can lay down the heavy burden of self at the foot of Jesus. That I can give up this fruitless quest to create my own happiness. The gospel is for narcissists. Narcissists like Casey Anthony. And narcissists like me.

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