(First posted on Facebook 5years ago.)
If we have an eternal soul that transcends death, then the soul is what matters and it is the soul that defines our identity. On the other hand, if all we have is our material existence, then the form of our material existence matters.
It matters if you are fat or thin. It matters if you are black or white. It matters if you are strong or weak. It matters if you are wealthy or not. These are all material attributes.
If we are purely material, then there is no basis to believe in human dignity. Materialism is nihilism and anti-identity: we are merely atoms and molecules and cellular processes and heat. Which is why so much discussion around identity in our society concerns the trivial made large. Skin color. Sexual preferences. Gender. Nationhood. Class. Membership. Job title.
We desperately grasp at these insignificances because we are afraid of the significant: the existence of the soul. Yet we also ignore the void that such denial leaves. We do so by shouting ever louder that our self-determined identity matters.
It does not.
The only identity that matters is our spiritual identity: our virtues developed by sacrificing all those trivial aspects of identity that our materialistic society is so keen on using to segment us into sliver-sized markets while selling stuff to stuff the unstuffable void. The driving force of this segmentation is the death of death.
Death used to be a passage to a greater stage. Now death is the end of our existence. Death, too, is sold. Avoid death at all costs or embrace it early – the choice is yours. This trivialization of death supports the narrative of material identity.