Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Hypocrisy--The Deadliest Sin?

In the midst of all the chuckling over Bill Bennett’s gambling problem, I wonder if anyone has given any thought to what we should expect of a society in which hypocrisy (or, at least, perceived hypocrisy) is the deadliest, and least forgivable sin.

Those who seem to be deriving the most pleasure from the revelations about Bennett are the libertines, overjoyed to have found a moral flaw in someone who shamed them. If Bennett is laid low by this, who is capable of stepping forward to fill his shoes? Indeed, if we only permit the morally pure to speak out in favor of virtue, can it be long before the concept of virtue is itself forgotten?

Discussions - 5 Comments

And your point is what?

(That’s what the libertines will say, anyway.)

Point taken. But I think what is required is a proper definition of the term "hypocrisy." Does the term apply to any sinner who dares to denounce sin? If this be the case, obviously Bennett is a hypocrite, but given our sinful nature so is anyone who defends traditional values. Of course, this plays right into the hands of the libertines.

Most people haven’t made a career out of preaching morality, to the tune of $1,000 per minute (for speeches). Bennett is getting exactly what he deserves.

May I remind our esteemed colleagues of Paul’s epistle? Romans, chapter two? Or am I "out of touch," to quote "that man" or that chapter Dr. Charles Ryrie called "Condemdation Of The Moralist"?

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

New American Standard version quoted.

Here is a definition for you. Hypocrisy = indifference to spoken words. It has something to do with the Seeming vs Being distinction. Of course focusing on the actions of a person, is a form of indifference to his spoken word. What is his being after all? Thus focusing on actions is also partially Hypocrisy. I do not see how David Hume is not right in saying that Man is a hypocritical being. (Man is a heap of contradictions) Man’s actions are not consistent with his stated goals or beliefs. So we have consistency involved as well. Are we to be analytic about consistency, or is our relation to consistency to be subjective? If our relation to consistency is to be subjective in terms of proceeding from our "true" beliefs and not our stated beliefs then we have not abolished sin, or hypocrisy, but rather stand to create this by action. To be consistent analytically is to be somewhat hypocritical, whenever we fail, unless we keep the idea of right and wrong at arms distance, and our concepts are not commesurate with what really grips us. Ironically perhaps I would say that the libertine is not being consistent in stooping to the level of condeming Bennett. After all many Libertines defend the "choice" of drug use without themselves taking part in any drug use. In fact it would seem conceivable that a Libertine could hold traditional values on a personal level and yet, be libertine. For the libertine, hypocracy cannot be the deadliest and least forgiveable sin. Hypocracy as a sin limits the range of actions which could be considered moral, to make any actions which the individual would not himself take part in, immoral. So libertines look to get rid of hypocrisy itself, by claimming that certain actions are amoral. Perhaps the libertines should speak out in defense of Bill Bennett, for they are the ones who believe the strongest that gambling is not a moral flaw (even if they don’t chose to gamble). How long before Libetines become consistent in defending the "choice" of moral condemnation so as not to take part in any moral condemnation?

Take this with a grain of salt, I am indiferent to these words, spoken in jest.

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