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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Mailvox: the ethics of hypocrisy

RE asks about the hypocrisy of the religious:
I am a longtime reader of your blog, which I have found to be very helpful over the years.  Also, your book the Irrational Atheist is a God send.   I hoping that you would give me your take on something.  I recently had "discussion" with my older brother on religion. My brother stated "religion is bullshit, its made up by man, its full of hypocrites." He further explained the reason he doesn't go church or practice his faith in anyway is because everyone that goes to church are hypocrites.

I am sure every church has its large share of "hypocrites", but I feel he is being unreasonable.  I know it can be difficult to find the right place to fellowship with others, but I still find value in going to church, praying, and reading the Bible.  Can you please provide me another or your intelligent and witty rebuttals to his concern? 
First, relatively few of the religious, or anyone else for that matter, actually fits the proper description of hypocrisy, which is defined as follows:  a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.

Most people do not feign to having principles they do not really possess, but rather, fail to live up to the standards of those principles. What RE's brother fails to realize, as do most people who regularly observe hypocrisy around them and make a meal of decrying it, is that professing ideals and failing to live up to them is not usually an indication that the profession is false, only that the professor has failed.  While it is possible for such failures to be a sign of the profession being false, it is far from being conclusive evidence of it.

Failure is not, in itself, necessarily indicative of hypocrisy.  Moreover, it makes no sense to accuse most Christians of hypocrisy, in that Christian theology expressly and specifically declares that all, without exception, are fallen.  No one is perfect.  No one is worthy.  One can more reasonably question if a self-righteous person is actually a Christian than to claim his self-righteousness is indicative of his hypocrisy being a consequence of his religion.

As for a rebuttal, I would suggest the following: the only reason you think they are hypocritical is because they have standards.  Why do you believe that a complete absence of standards is more indicative of good character than apparent hypocrisy? I mean, say what you like about the tenets of Christianity, dude, at least it's an ethos.

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94 Comments:

Blogger Lovekraft December 01, 2012 10:04 AM  

Re your last point, I would often wonder what the Moral Center of atheists. IOW, what do they reference when making a moral judgement. This standard applies to everyone, however. Even Christians should be held to the same standard.

Take abortion. A woman's right to choose sounds good on a placard, but the act of abortion also includes destroying a fetus, which may trump her decision.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 10:10 AM  

The charge of hypocrisy is more substantial than simply not living up to standards. It's the claim that a religious person has any to begin with.

In TIA, you made it clear that the one and only objective moral virtue in monotheism is Obedience. However, that leaves one open to declare that the edicts of God to which a believer is obeying can be anything they desire. I've met girls who insist that BJs and anal before marriage are fine because that way they can't get pregnant, so it's not really sex. There are pastors and churchgoers who find homosexuality immoral and evil, and others who view it as morally neutral, both groups insisting on being labeled with the same moniker.

All they have to do is claim that their actions or intentions are what God actually wants or permits. So a religious person makes the bold claim that they possess an objective moral code, when in reality, they are living according to inherited cultural traditions and their own whims just as much as any nihilist.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 01, 2012 10:12 AM  

I would imagine the atheist ehtos to be that we should do everything in our power to protect people from the consequences of their actions, as opposed to the Christian ethos of teaching people not to do stupid shit.

Blogger Joshua_D December 01, 2012 10:18 AM  

Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 10:10 AM

All they have to do is claim that their actions or intentions are what God actually wants or permits. So a religious person makes the bold claim that they possess an objective moral code, when in reality, they are living according to inherited cultural traditions and their own whims just as much as any nihilist.


I don't think this is correct. You are accusing one person or group of not living up to their believed standards because other groups of people have different standards.

A person who believes in God makes the claim that God has provided an objective moral code, and the goal is to try to live by the Spirit, discern that code, and apply it in their daily lives. Seeing as how Christians acknowledge that we are all sinners and fall short, I think there is plenty of room for differences between believers.

What you are arguing is that people who live in different states in the USA are all hypocrites and shouldn't call themselves Americans because different states have different laws.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 10:23 AM  

@Joshua_D
I don't think this is correct. You are accusing one person or group of not living up to their believed standards because other groups of people have different standards.

Nope, I'm saying no divinely mandated objective standard exists. It's hypocritical to claim to be in possession of something you don't have.

Anonymous jartstar December 01, 2012 10:24 AM  

dominic of course we are all products of our culture to some degree but this says nothing about the truth of our beliefs. When the views are put to the test using the best tools we have available which is warranted? In fact which view has tools you can even trust?

Anonymous ivvenalis December 01, 2012 10:27 AM  

The obsession with hypocrisy is the means by which the amoral feel justified in themselves, because they have no morals to fail to live up to.

Anonymous antonym December 01, 2012 10:29 AM  

Nope, I'm saying no divinely mandated objective standard exists. It's hypocritical to claim to be in possession of something you don't have.

They believe they've found such a standard. You might(and I do) think they're wrong, but that doesn't make them hypocrites.

Anonymous Anonymous December 01, 2012 10:35 AM  


Interesting, according to the definition here the Bolsheviks were not hypocrites, since soon after the coup d'etat in St. Petersburg they made no secret of their standards and intentions. So they were just murderous, power-hungry atheists?

Borderline Anonymous

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 10:37 AM  

Although I think RE's brother simply isn't interested and wants to have RE stop bugging him, why not read him the parable of the wheat and the tares and its explanation? (Matthew 13:24-40) There are SUPPOSED to be hypocrites in the church, and, if the history of the Jews is a guide, it is only a remnant who aren't.

If he instinctively knows he won't make the cut (often people decry in others what they loathe in themselves), maybe it is better to just let him pass on the tryouts.

Plus, it seems reasonable not to join up with a group that is based on b.s. some hypocrites made up.

Anonymous jartstar December 01, 2012 10:39 AM  

Dominic, maybe the better question is : Can we even escape our socialization?

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 10:43 AM  

@jartstar
Can we even escape our socialization?

I'm not sure how that question is relevant, care to elaborate?

Anonymous jack December 01, 2012 10:44 AM  

Totally OT. Its usually easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Is today the day that March Lorder releases the ebook of the latest Vox book?

Blogger Joshua_D December 01, 2012 10:44 AM  

Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 10:23 AM

Nope, I'm saying no divinely mandated objective standard exists. It's hypocritical to claim to be in possession of something you don't have.


This is a different concern and not related to the question of hypocrisy.

Anonymous jack December 01, 2012 10:48 AM  

@jartstar
Can we even escape our socialization?

I'm not sure how that question is relevant, care to elaborate?

As a parable: The young and highly impressible college student heads off on their own, encounters an intense culture of rampant atheism at university, wants muchly to be liked and included in the 'cool' groups. begins to verbally agree with the anti-religious rhetoric and ends up believing it either all or partially.

This example to me would be an indication of socialization. Short of being raised in a militant atheist household.

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 10:48 AM  

The charge of hypocrisy is more substantial than simply not living up to standards. It's the claim that a religious person has any to begin with. DS

How universal are you willing to apply your definition? Are there any people who aren't religiously inclined who claim to have standards?

Anonymous Beau December 01, 2012 10:55 AM  

Last night we finished our second season of proclaiming the gospel on the courthouse lawn. One month ago a man named Chris staggered forward struggling against the message as I preached on the foolish and wise virgins. Directly facing where I was speaking, Chris was suddenly without agency of human hands flung on the ground writhing. Christians in the crowd didn't skip a beat. They immediately began praying for him. Concluding the message I joined them praying until Chris gained clarity in his eyes and peace in his heart. Last night Chris returned to the open air meeting filled with great joy. Chris very lovingly read us Psalm 31. "This is my life story," he exclaimed. Chris hasn't used meth since that evening.

Anonymous Anonymous December 01, 2012 10:56 AM  

Ha! This punk won't go to church because MTV said it's not cool, period.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 01, 2012 10:56 AM  

"A person who believes in God makes the claim that God has provided an objective moral code"

I try my best to tread on eggshells in this type of conversation, but, to make a slight quibble here....

A person who believes in God makes the claim that God has provided _God's_ moral code -- which is not necessarily the same thing as an "objective" one, although they share many similarities.

If the International United College of Logicians could somehow provide watertight logical proof that Bolshevik morality was "objective" and therefore scientific and triumphant and inevitable and all those other words they love to use (and I daresay they might try, or probably have already done so), I, and I suspect many others here, would still reject it as being wicked and not from God.

One should be careful not to mix the ideas of "objective," "righteous," and "unchanging." Especially with regards to human affairs, which are famously unscientific, irrational, and illogical.

Blogger Michael December 01, 2012 10:58 AM  

Here's my version:

"I won't go to church cause it's full of hypocrites"

"Then come join us, you'll fit right in!"

Anonymous robwbright December 01, 2012 10:58 AM  

"its full of hypocrites"

From Steve Taylor's "Bad Rap" song in the 1980s

"Can't understand those Christians
So you type us all in stereo
They're hypocrites
They're such a bore
Well come on in
There's room for one more"

http://www.lyricstime.com/steve-taylor-bad-rap-who-you-tryin-to-kid-kid-lyrics.html

Anonymous jartstar December 01, 2012 11:05 AM  

Dominic it's relevent as you made a claim we are products of our culture and whims. There are two questions from this: can we escape our socialization and can we escape our whims? Your claim seems to imply that we cannot.

Blogger Lamarck Leland December 01, 2012 11:14 AM  

The reason I don't go to a christian church is because I can't see any difference between Christians and irreligious people.

Their standards are simply not different from the world's, or, at least, nobody cares anyway.
So instead of claiming to believe in God only to live as if He didn't exist, I go one step further and live as if He didn't exist because He probably does not exist.

But I live in Brazil, it might be different where you live.

Blogger Booch Paradise December 01, 2012 11:14 AM  

I would actually agree that true hypocrisy is a bigger issue in the church than made out here. For example, there are a substantial amount of Christians that believe that homosexuality is wrong, and when faced with arguments about how the Bible verses that condemn homosexuality where only relevant to the culture at the time etc, will brush them off and stand on what the Bible says. These same Christians will then do the same thing that they condemn in those who say that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality when faced with what the Bible teaches about wives submitting to husbands, and women being silent in church.

Anonymous jartstar December 01, 2012 11:20 AM  

Larmark - So the truth of if God exists for you is dependent upon the observed actions of those who claim God exists?

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 11:27 AM  

Beau December 01, 2012 10:55 AM

Thanks for the updates, Beau. Edifying as usual.

Anonymous Anonymous December 01, 2012 11:32 AM  

dominic... looking for a divinely mandated objective standard.... try the Ten Commandments.

Blogger RE December 01, 2012 11:38 AM  

Thank you Vox.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 11:40 AM  

One can more reasonably question if a self-righteous person is actually a Christian than to claim his self-righteousness is indicative of his hypocrisy being a consequence of his religion.

Haven't read a word from the comments and don't need to. Vox, that is one for the History books.

Anonymous Josh December 01, 2012 11:41 AM  

Beau, you are amongst the best of the Ilk.

God bless you, my friend.

That is a wonderful testimony.

Anonymous Porky? December 01, 2012 11:43 AM  

For example, there are a substantial amount of Christians that believe that homosexuality is wrong, and when faced with arguments about how the Bible verses that condemn homosexuality where only relevant to the culture at the time etc, will brush them off and stand on what the Bible says.

I guess I've never heard that argument before. Can you explain how Jesus saying that catamites will not inherit the Kingdom of God was only relevant to the culture at the time?

Anonymous Porky? December 01, 2012 11:49 AM  

Last night we finished our second season of proclaiming the gospel on the courthouse lawn.

Impossible. Thomas Jefferson said this was unconstitutional over 2 centuries ago. :)

Anonymous YIH December 01, 2012 11:55 AM  

OT?: As in this may be a better fit to the previous post than this one:
Vox has said that he doesn't buy ''Young Earth Creationism'' and nor do I. The Bible is chock-full of metaphors and yet the ''six days and six nights'' of Genesis is a rock-solid literal? Even those passages suggest otherwise; God created day then night, defining a unit of time as we know it. Who's to say what God defines as time is anything like how we do? Or for that matter, does 'time' as we know it have any meaning to God?
I do not doubt creation, but I seriously doubt the suggested timeline.
Well it seems Pat Robertson has come to this conclusion as well.
The problem with this of course, is Pat Robertson has said so many things in the past that are just plain wacko his credibility is non-existent.

Blogger Booch Paradise December 01, 2012 12:04 PM  

@Porky
Some quick googleing got me this quote
"Derrick S. Bailey (1955) argues that Paul is culture-bound because Paul speaks about perversion (what heterosexually oriented folks do when they commit homosexual acts) instead of true inversion (what homosexually oriented folks do). Paul could not have made such a distinction, Bailey claims, so Paul condemns all homosexuality as devolving from idolatry. So we today have no reason to treat the Bible's condemnation of homosexual acts any differently than we now treat the Bible's endorsement of certain forms of slavery. "It was fine for then, but we know better now. " In the case of homosexuality, we have modern science to thank for showing us that homosexuality is a non-neurotic variation of human sexual experience, the argument continues (Lance 1989)."

Here is the site
http://home.messiah.edu/~chase/talk2/romans1.htm

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 12:07 PM  

I agree with Josh,

Beau, if you aren't already dead, someone MUST be looking after you.

God Bless,

Clay

Anonymous Log December 01, 2012 12:18 PM  

I guess Vox's interlocutor should find the religion where there exist non-hypocrites... or, at least, people who practice what they preach, if the distinction matters in the common vernacular. It doesn't, to me.

This blog is not where I would go seeking the pure in heart. Christ told the rich young man that he lacked one thing to be perfect, and that one thing was that he should sell his stuff and give the proceeds to the poor. Either then he would have been perfect if he had done that, or Christ was lying. Take your pick.

Anonymous Azimus December 01, 2012 12:20 PM  

No Tad? He must only troll while he's at work...

Anonymous Azimus December 01, 2012 12:30 PM  

Honestly the argument of "all [religious] people are hypocrites" is pretty easily over-ran from a variety of ways. VD chose "failure does not necessarily equal hypocrisy" abd that is a good one. It would be just as easy to demonstrate that ER's brother is himself a hypocrite by his own standard (once you draw out what *his* definition is), basically undermining the argument before moving on to why we follow Christ (and not men) who was not a hypocrite. Then hand him a Bible and ask him to show where Christ was a hypocrite. Give him a few weeks. Then tell him to stop acting like he's 14 and get his head out of his %ss.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 12:41 PM  

Had a lot of good Christians both protestant and Catholic praying for me, but the cancer doesn't go away, neither the infections from radiation. Not that I don't believe in prayer, but it does not fix everything and God does not make our breakfast.

If your faith is centered around pryers healing you, then I think you have none. It is faith that lets the man let go of the world, It is faith that moves me just now to even write about it.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 12:42 PM  

Ok, slight change of direction, but I am arguing from the position that hypocrisy does not require intent to deceive. It is my understanding that a person can be a very sincere hypocrite so long as the rationalization hamster keeps that wheel spinning. That being said...

@zen0
How universal are you willing to apply your definition? Are there any people who aren't religiously inclined who claim to have standards?

The charge is hypocrisy, not whether the concept of standards exists. Vox laid the groundwork in TIA already that there is no divinely mandated standard, the only thing one is expected to do is obey (or as Jesus said, love). Anyone who then claims to be in possession of that which it has been established does not exist, is a hypocrite.

@jartstar
Dominic it's relevent as you made a claim we are products of our culture and whims. There are two questions from this: can we escape our socialization and can we escape our whims? Your claim seems to imply that we cannot.

That is certainly an odd way to interpret what I said. It's an observable fact that people escape socialization and whims all the time, that's not even debatable. Sometimes all that is needed to change one's life is a violent blow to the head and they wake up a new man. My claim is that people who point to God as the source of their moral authority are really just pointing at themselves.

Any further questions directed at me will likely get lost in the thread, because I'm about to go clean and grease a bike chain. I can barely contain my excitement.

No, seriously. Bike chain.

Anonymous Porky? December 01, 2012 12:52 PM  

@Booch: Paul is culture-bound because Paul speaks about perversion (what heterosexually oriented folks do when they commit homosexual acts) instead of true inversion (what homosexually oriented folks do).

Actually the scripture refers to both - the effeminate, and the sodomite.

Effectively, it is the act that is condemned, regardless of "orientation" (whatever that is). The logical consequence of Bailey's argument is that God should also not condemn an adulterer who is naturally "oriented" towards adultery. Silliness.

Read the scriptures instead of social activist pamphlets.



Blogger JDC December 01, 2012 12:54 PM  

@Outlaw - God bless ya brother. Your house stands against the storm.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 12:54 PM  

And he doesn't correct your spelling either.

Anonymous Stephen J. December 01, 2012 12:55 PM  

"Most people do not feign to having principles they do not really possess, but rather, fail to live up to the standards of those principles."

But couldn't it be argued that someone who consistently fails to live up to a standard he advocates can be reasonably inferred to not truly believe in that standard? Your walk and your talk can only diverge so far before people will stop taking the talk as representative.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 01, 2012 1:01 PM  

Dominic,

Even so, it's good to see you contributing again. Tad is trying to fill in as the atheist voice of reason, and you've probably seen how well that's going.

...As for trolls, I'll take Loki of Asgard any day of the week, thanks.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 1:10 PM  

But couldn't it be argued that someone who consistently fails to live up to a standard he advocates can be reasonably inferred to not truly believe in that standard? Your walk and your talk can only diverge so far before people will stop taking the talk as representative.

No, because of the evidence of the effect of failing the principal.

Anonymous Stephen J. December 01, 2012 1:18 PM  

"No, because of the evidence of the effect of failing the principal."

I'll apologize for my own thickheadedness here but I'm honestly not sure what this means. Could you go into a bit more detail?

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 1:20 PM  

I'll apologize for my own thickheadedness here but I'm honestly not sure what this means. Could you go into a bit more detail?

No, think for yourself because God ain't going to do it and neither am I.

Anonymous Lamarck December 01, 2012 1:22 PM  

jartstar:
"So the truth of if God exists for you is dependent upon the observed actions of those who claim God exists? "

Nope, truth of if God exists is irrelevant to me, but the usefulness of living a religious life (to me) is dependent upon the observed actions of those who claim to be religious.

For example, my parents are Christians and they are divorced. Doesn't the bible forbid divorce? Does any Christian care about what the bible says?

Here in Brazil most people don't know how to read/ don't read the bible. So religion ( which I'd expect to have a philosophy, lifestyle, etc) is reduced to mere superstition.
I assume this is common in the third world.

Surely, you could find a true devotee here and there but in general religion is not important to a person's character.

Blogger Joshua_D December 01, 2012 1:24 PM  

Outlaw X December 01, 2012 12:41 PM

Had a lot of good Christians both protestant and Catholic praying for me, but the cancer doesn't go away, neither the infections from radiation. Not that I don't believe in prayer, but it does not fix everything and God does not make our breakfast.

If your faith is centered around pryers healing you, then I think you have none. It is faith that lets the man let go of the world, It is faith that moves me just now to even write about it.


I'm sorry for your struggles, and I don't know what to say. And though we've never met, I love you in Christ Jesus and I'll still pray for healing. I can't imagine what you're going through.

I know the Jesus Himself is the author and perfecter of my faith. He reminds me of all the times He's come through in the past. He reminds of the promises the Father has made. He reminds me of the great and wonderful future we have with Him, and I am thankful.

Blogger Joshua_D December 01, 2012 1:27 PM  

Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 12:42 PM

... I am arguing from the position that hypocrisy does not require intent to deceive.


Then you are simply trying to change the definition of "hypocrisy" and the argument is moot.

Anonymous asdf December 01, 2012 1:28 PM  

Dominic,

Knowing the truth and it existing are separate questions. I will start with the assumption (proven elsewhere) that the truth does exist.

As for knowing the truth its a question of free will. It would be a pretty useless truth if it was completely unknowable. Then you wouldn't have a choice to make. And it would also be pretty useless if it was knowable in its entirety, then again there would be no choice.

What we are left with is a truth that is partly knowable based on various sources in our lives and we attempt to discern and follow that truth as best as possible. This is different from the atheist who assumes no objective truth exists at all and makes no attempt.

Anonymous Stephen J. December 01, 2012 1:29 PM  

I have no objection to thinking for myself. I just honestly don't understand what you mean. What "principal" are you talking about? Or did you mean "principle"? And which particular effect of "failing the principle" (I suppose this to be shorthand for "failing to live up to the principle"), of the many possible effects, constitutes evidence against hypocrisy, and why?

I'm perfectly willing to do my own thinking about these questions, but hearing someone else's answers to them never hurts.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 1:29 PM  

"Outlaw X December 01, 2012 12:41 PM Had a lot of good Christians both protestant and Catholic praying for me, but the cancer doesn't go away, neither the infections from radiation. Not that I don't believe in prayer, but it does not fix everything and God does not make our breakfast.

If your faith is centered around pryers healing you, then I think you have none. It is faith that lets the man let go of the world, It is faith that moves me just now to even write about it."


Don't you be giving up on prayer, butthead.

I save all my prayers for other people. I NEVER use them on myself. My most important prayer "target" is my daughter & her husband. They are fine, and doing great.

SO. I look at Prayer as a checking account at the bank with God. I'm sure people will have problems with that analogy. I could care less.

Gregg, I just cashed you a check that made my ears turn red.

Anonymous asdf December 01, 2012 1:31 PM  

Dominic,

Also, if you will allow an analogy I think the search for truth, which ends in asking for and receiving it from God, is much of the point of life. The story of Satan's fall is key here. Satan fell because he wanted to substitute his own truth for God's truth. And his own truth is ultimately nihilism, because there can be no truth but God's truth. The fall of man is because we won't accept what God is giving us due to our pride. Life is mainly about coming to accept God's truth.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 1:33 PM  

I have no objection to thinking for myself.

Good then you don't need me.

And thanks Clay.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 1:35 PM  

:)

Anonymous JartStar December 01, 2012 1:43 PM  

My claim is that people who point to God as the source of their moral authority are really just pointing at themselves.

One day either you can expound upon this in the debate with Vox, or I'd be interested in reading your reasoning here.

Surely, you could find a true devotee here and there but in general religion is not important to a person's character.

This is interesting because a very common complaint of unbelievers about believers is that their belief/faith gives them such a poor character it is detrimental to society.


Anonymous JT December 01, 2012 1:44 PM  

slightly OT (speaking of ethos), but Vox:

have you done a study on the hypocrisy of the feminized church that always deals with the principle of a verse for men's responsibility, but when it comes to the nature of the woman they refuse to say verses like this apply to the attitude of women in general, but refers specifically to the city of Babylon—nothing to see here, move along! The pwecious little snowflakes must not have their assumptions challenged!

Isa 47:7 You said, 'I will always continue—Queen forever!' You didn't take these things into your thinking, nor did you think about their consequences.

and etc. Similar verses appear in Revelation.

Anonymous JT December 01, 2012 1:52 PM  

@Booch: Paul is culture-bound because Paul speaks about perversion (what heterosexually oriented folks do when they commit homosexual acts) instead of true inversion (what homosexually oriented folks do).

Actually the scripture refers to both - the effeminate, and the sodomite.

Effectively, it is the act that is condemned, regardless of "orientation" (whatever that is). The logical consequence of Bailey's argument is that God should also not condemn an adulterer who is naturally "oriented" towards adultery. Silliness.

Read the scriptures instead of social activist pamphlets.
=================================================

"soft" or "effeminate" malakos, in the Greek (You're referring to the verse in Romans). Most certainly, and can also be translated cowardly in submissiveness. It is something specifically mentioned apart from "abusers of themselves with mankind" which means someone who lies with men as they would with women, otherwise known as "homosexual".

Anonymous JT December 01, 2012 1:56 PM  

"Dominic,

Also, if you will allow an analogy I think the search for truth, which ends in asking for and receiving it from God, is much of the point of life. The story of Satan's fall is key here. Satan fell because he wanted to substitute his own truth for God's truth. And his own truth is ultimately nihilism, because there can be no truth but God's truth. The fall of man is because we won't accept what God is giving us due to our pride. Life is mainly about coming to accept God's truth."
-------------------===================------------------

Isa 48:3 I foretold the former things long ago; it went forth from my mouth, and I disclosed them; Suddenly, I acted, and they came to pass.
Isa 48:4 Because I knew that you are obstinate, and because your neck is an iron sinew, and your forehead is bronze,
Isa 48:5 I told you these things long ago; I announced them to you before they happened so that you couldn't say, 'My idol did them; my carved image or metal idol ordained them.'
Isa 48:6 "You have heard—now look at them all! How can you not admit them? From now on, I'll make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known.
Isa 48:7 They are created now, and not long ago; you didn't hear them before today, so you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew them.'
Isa 48:8 And neither had you heard, nor did you understand, nor did you open your ear long ago. Indeed, I knew that you would act very deceitfully, and they would call you a rebel from birth.
Isa 48:9 I defer my anger for my name's sake, and as my first act I'm restraining it for you, so as not to cut you off.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 2:19 PM  

@Joshua_D
Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 12:42 PM

... I am arguing from the position that hypocrisy does not require intent to deceive.

Then you are simply trying to change the definition of "hypocrisy" and the argument is moot.


Really now. Which dictionary are you using? Better yet, what planet are you posting from? Because here on Earth, a woman who condemns cheaters as horrible people, but then blames her husband/boyfriend's lack of attention to her needs for her own infidelity qualifies as a 'hypocrite'. Quite sincere in her hatred of cheaters while rationalizing away her own behavior. Happens every day.

Anonymous Log December 01, 2012 2:28 PM  

Definition of HYPOCRITE (M-W.com)

1
: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2
: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings


Victory by definitional fiat!

Anonymous Log December 01, 2012 2:30 PM  

It appears, contra Vox, failure IS evidence of hypocrisy.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

So much for "Christian theology."

Anonymous Marvin Luffer December 01, 2012 2:32 PM  

For Cying out loud people, QUIT quoting these obscure Bible verses!!!!!!

Everyone can interpret them differntly, and the conversation will ensue and never end.

It's become the time for not sucking up to the Bible. I got a hammer, and about 50 POST IT NOTES.

Blogger Joshua_D December 01, 2012 2:34 PM  

Dominic, what dicitionary? Pick one. Here's Merriam's

Definition of HYPOCRISY

1 : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion


Here's Dictionary.com:

hy·poc·ri·sy

1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.



The concept of "intent" or "pretense" is fundamental in any definition of hypocrisy. Without intent, or pretense, you don't have hypocrisy.

Blogger Booch Paradise December 01, 2012 2:38 PM  

@Porky and @JT

The point I was making is not that homosexuality is ok. The Bible clearly specifies that it is a sin in multiple places. The point was that to use a strict hermeneutic in one place and less strict hermeneutic in another based on what parts of the Bible you're comfortable with is hypocrisy.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 2:45 PM  

So much for "Christian theology."

You dumb son-of-bitch, if there was a polite way to say it I would but pardon my Christian suthron ignorance. We are all ignorant in the south and couldn't turn a handle, if it were not for our Yankee saviors. We ignorant believe in God down here and when the Northerners economy goes to shit they come down here and never make the connection and try to change us to their living hell, well, GFY.

Some people think it is the Mexicans I'll bet on the Yankees, they have the better track record.

Anonymous rycamor December 01, 2012 2:52 PM  

I mean, say what you like about the tenets of Christianity, dude, at least it's an ethos.

Nice riff on one of the best lines in movie history. Let's see who gets it.

Blogger tz December 01, 2012 2:53 PM  

Religion is bullshit - This implies you have something to compare it to, and religion can mean anything from primitive tribes to the architects of the great Medieval Cathedrals. Irreligion is Stalin and Mao. Why be ethical if there is no reason to be?

It is made up by man - No more than the periodic table. Is stealing, murder, betrayal and such wrong because you make it up or because there is some standard which you would say is greater than any man, there to be discovered, objective? If so who made it if not God?

It is full of hypocrites - yes, so they would welcome you as a brother. Have you always lived up to what you knew as a child to be right and wrong? And isn't it easier for you to take your most horrible fault and instead of admitting you are doing something hurtful, to shout loud enough to drown out your own conscience that it is really something helpful and good? The church is not a meeting place for saints as much as a hospital for sinners.

Blogger Duke of Earl December 01, 2012 2:56 PM  

Hypocrisy in moral matters might well be defined as holding up a standard for others that one holds to be universal, but excluding oneself from it.

The word itself is derived from the Greek for an actor, and Jesus used it to condemn those Scribes and Pharisees who made an outward appearance of piety without inward conviction.

Literally, a hypocritical Christian is a non-Christian pretending to be a Christian.

As for Christianity versus culture, it's wise to remember that Christian thinking has shaped Western culture for the last 2000 years. Those raised in the culture, cultural Christians as Anders Brevik described them, will still hold Christian values but those decline as Christian thought loses its hold. The pagan world of Ancient Rome is just around the corner.

Likewise the values of the secular world, which might be described as "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die," have influenced those in the Church, to the point where some accept such perversity as homosexuality or premarital sex (provided it's not p in v).

The question of an objective moral law is something of a red herring. Those who accept such perversity won't deny that a moral law exists, they'll try to deny that said law is binding on them, probably excluding those prohibitions from the status of a universal moral law. Why? Because they've adopted the secular code rather than the Christian one. In that respect at least, they are literally hypocrites.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 2:58 PM  

I'm saving that TZ, thanks. That was...

Anonymous Scintan December 01, 2012 2:59 PM  



There are billions of human beings on this planet who don't agree with your opinion that there is no divinely mandated objective standard.

Anonymous Scintan December 01, 2012 3:00 PM  

???? above comment was in response to Domininc's earlier post:

Nope, I'm saying no divinely mandated objective standard exists. It's hypocritical to claim to be in possession of something you don't have.

I don't know why the part of the post quoting him didn't get posted along with everything else.

Anonymous Porky? December 01, 2012 3:03 PM  

@JT

It's also contextually translated as "catamite" - an effeminate young homo.

Context is king.

@Booch

The point was that to use a strict hermeneutic in one place and less strict hermeneutic in another based on what parts of the Bible you're comfortable with is hypocrisy.

Still waiting for an example of this.

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 3:18 PM  

Australians always start their argument with, "All religion is bullshit. The Americans are full of themselves." Then you argue with them, and. " Jesus is alright, if he existed. He doesn't drive to a location and blow up."

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 3:22 PM  

@Joshua_D
The concept of "intent" or "pretense" is fundamental in any definition of hypocrisy. Without intent, or pretense, you don't have hypocrisy.

I provided a common real world example that both meets the dictionary definitions you listed and lacks conscious intent to deceive. I rest my case.

@Scintan
Ummm, good for them?

Blogger Joshua_D December 01, 2012 3:32 PM  

Dominic Saltarelli December 01, 2012 3:22 PM

@Joshua_D
The concept of "intent" or "pretense" is fundamental in any definition of hypocrisy. Without intent, or pretense, you don't have hypocrisy.


I provided a common real world example that both meets the dictionary definitions you listed and lacks conscious intent to deceive. I rest my case.


You can rest your case all you want, but your example doesn't seem to be an example of hypocrisy. Your example is a definition of "rationalization", which you use in your example. In your case, the women would be a hypocrite if she told people that cheaters were horrible and then went an knowingly cheated herself. But in her mind, in your example, I bet she doesn't see herself as cheating at all.

Blogger Booch Paradise December 01, 2012 3:37 PM  

@porky
See my first comment for an example. That was the whole point.

Anonymous trk December 01, 2012 3:45 PM  

even "No" is an answer to a prayer, it just may not be the answer someone wants.

Anonymous realmatt December 01, 2012 3:49 PM  

I pay very little attention to people calling others hypocrites. You're supposed to grow out of that after 14.

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 3:51 PM  

Log December 01, 2012 2:30 PM

It appears, contra Vox, failure IS evidence of hypocrisy.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

So much for "Christian theology."


How is your process of becoming faring, Log? What ideal pattern do you use as a model?

Blogger IM2L844 December 01, 2012 4:17 PM  

Is it even possible to define and identify hypocrisy if morality is truly subjective and contextually dynamic moment to moment?

Anonymous Log December 01, 2012 4:20 PM  

How is your process of becoming faring, Log?

Perfectly, of course.

What ideal pattern do you use as a model?

Christ and the prophets.

Lest some should deny that it's possible - per "Christian theology," as Vox does: "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"

Likewise, we hear that Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, were "blameless" and "righteous" before God (Luke 1:6). And check that out - they weren't even "Christians". No "Christian" theologians to tell them they were secretly full of abominations and iniquity.

Anonymous Johnny Caustic December 01, 2012 5:12 PM  

One of my favorite maxims:

Be a hypocrite. It is honorable to aspire to greater virtue than what you can achieve.

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 6:13 PM  

Likewise, we hear that Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, were "blameless" and "righteous" before God (Luke 1:6). And check that out - they weren't even "Christians". No "Christian" theologians to tell them they were secretly full of abominations and iniquity.

Good point, Log. I am sure they got baptized and became Christians, however. Some people do tend to gloss over the rewards of righteousness that the Patriarchs and Prophets have as an inheritance. Technically, they could not be Christians, so cannot aspire to Bride of Christ status, but their sacrifice is like unto that of the red heifer, that is, outside the camp.

Anonymous Log December 01, 2012 6:33 PM  

God is the same today, yesterday, and forever - that is something "Christians" fail to appreciate. The conditions of salvation were the same before as after Christ. The prophets and saints before Christ were Christians - Abraham, be it remembered, saw the ministry of Christ (John 8:56) - and it is curious to me that "Christian" theologians fail to draw the obvious conclusions from these things.

Anonymous Jesus H. Christ, aka your Savior. December 02, 2012 2:27 AM  

Log wrote "God is the same today, yesterday, and forever..'

I totally agree. God is total superstitious bullshit today, yesterday, and forever.

Beautifully stated, Log.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein December 02, 2012 8:12 AM  

rycamorDecember 01, 2012 2:52 PM

"I mean, say what you like about the tenets of Christianity, dude, at least it's an ethos. "

Nice riff on one of the best lines in movie history. Let's see who gets it.


TBG abides.

Blogger Markku December 02, 2012 4:02 PM  

It appears, contra Vox, failure IS evidence of hypocrisy.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

So much for "Christian theology."


It is just a part of the truth, for brevity. A more complete picture is found in 1. John 2:1

My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

The commandment is indeed to never sin. But if you fail, all is not lost.

Anonymous HH December 02, 2012 7:01 PM  

VD ... I am sorry to say that despite your best efforts to hide this fact, you are a good decent human being.. you should let this side out a little more often.

Anonymous Toby Temple December 03, 2012 2:34 AM  

from Merriam-Webster's dictionary:

hypocrisy
1: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

from thefreedictionary.com:

hypocrisy
1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess;

Here is an example of hypocrisy:

Toby: I believe it is wrong to eat pork because God made pigs unclean. ~Goes to a catholic fiesta and knowingly ate Lechon Baboy(roast pig)~

Blogger Markku December 03, 2012 12:16 PM  

Toby: I believe it is wrong to eat pork because God made pigs unclean. ~Goes to a catholic fiesta and knowingly ate Lechon Baboy(roast pig)~

It is a sin*, but not that of hypocrisy yet, at least in the sense that Jesus meant. The original word hypokritēs simply means "actor". It would only become hypocrisy if you later condemned someone of the action in such a way that would lead one to believe you've never done it yourself.

Repeat: Condemning the action is not hypocrisy yet, it is in the way the condemnation is done.


* Rom 14:23 But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Anonymous JD December 03, 2012 1:01 PM  

Hypocrisy has a definition all in a NAME:
Jimmy Swaggert.

Look up the Jim Baker debacle in the 80's with JS
waxing with grandiose self righteousness about Baker's affairs etc.
All the while...
in the back alleys in the red light dist. in dark limos...

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