By Pastor M. Alson Ebanks
To anyone alive and attentive to life in these fomented Cayman Islands, it is obvious that we are at another major moult, pulsating to shed the now-considered outgrown skin that is linked to a unique past in order to move into a more propitious future. Not being masters of our own destiny, however, we appear to have given insufficient thought to what is being promised by the purveyors of the “Emperor’s new clothes,” nor have we carefully counted the cost associated with this exchange. To this observer, one thing that is being jettisoned (or has been jettisoned) by my people is our value system that gave priority to community over individualism, and objective truth over personal (subjective) preferences.
Since all decisions are values-based decisions, we do not need to judge what people’s values are; they show us what they are by their actions. And my people have shown by their actions what their “new skin” represents. Our society now celebrates the great value that is placed on personal choice and individual happiness, despite the reality that with many of these choices there is a high risk of danger to the individual and society at large. The dominant outlook and approach is that the autonomy of persons cannot be trumped by any other (imposed) value. Instead of religion and morality being viewed as wise masters in the school of life, they are now viewed as nuisances, or (at best) relics of a past era to be venerated, but of no current value — like yesteryear’s pounds, shillings and pence.
The dominant values in western culture are clearly those of personal happiness and material prosperity. Cayman is but a microcosm of western culture, in which both multi-generational Caymanians and newly arrived residents and transient (guest) workers relentlessly scramble to fill their baskets with trophies from the fields of pleasure and prosperity, like so many children in an Easter egg hunt.
The sobering reality is that in this cultural crucible, a kind of personality disorder on a society-wide scale is slowly burning away multi-generational values, like magma from an erupting distant volcano. This disorder manifests itself in the simultaneous embrace of social and environmental consciousness and a rejection of traditional (Christian-based) morality. We want to save the earth and feed our future, but apparently have not have seen how this is at odds with the agenda being promoted in certain quarters to sacrifice the life of the unborn for our personal comfort and convenience, or how the current emphasis on personal happiness and boundary-less sexual practices is a growing canker on the central organ of society, the human family.