Category Archives: Hypocrisy

Do We Reject Science When Scientists Behave Badly?

It is curious to me when Christianity is rejected because of the bad behavior of people. There are complaints about religious wars, crusades, inquisitions, sexual abuse scandals and any number of hypocrisies of “religious people.” Somehow, these complaints are allowed to cancel out the good that Christianity has brought to the world. It seems as though the examples of the Saints, the hospitals, the universities, the scientific advances, the charitable contributions, the spiritual enlightenment, the eternal salvation of souls and any other good that stems from Christianity is cast aside.

The reverse is true for science and technology. Few people reject science or technology because of the atomic bomb, weapons of mass destruction, pollution, social disconnection, or the dehumanization of the person. It does not seem to matter much when people behave badly with science and technology. People still embrace science and technology and extend the benefit of the doubt. In fact, despite whatever evils may have been perpetrated in the name of science or technology, people expect such endeavors to somehow be the salvation of us all.

We need to be consistent. The reality of human nature is that people have the ability to behave badly with any gift given to them. Science and religion can both be abused. Why reject only one of them?

I suspect that focusing on the bad behavior of people can be a convenient excuse for avoiding the humility, holiness and submission that successful Christianity demands. Focusing on the good that science and technology brings strokes our pride and makes us feel in control. We don’t need God because we become “little gods” that are masters of our own destiny. We like our smart phones. We don’t like holiness. We’re afraid that holiness will restrict our freedom. Yet, we are willing to become slaves to science, technology, and our own pride.

G.K. Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

If the idea of “people behaving badly” keeps one away from Christianity, it should just as well keep one away from science and technology. If one focuses on the good, however, there is no reason to reject either one.

Tolerance?

Do you really want tolerance? We tolerate things that we hope will eventually go away, like a cold, bad weather and annoying people. What you actually want is for me to embrace, approve of, validate and agree with that which I know in my heart to be wrong. I think you can’t tolerate me.

Hypocrites In The Church

Imagine if you were watching the Family Feud game show and the host said, “Name a reason people stop going to church.”  The number one answer on the board would likely be “Hypocrisy.”  We hear this frequently.  “I stopped going to church,” or “I never go to church,” or “I changed my church,” or even, “I no longer believe in God because of all the hypocrites.”

The fatal flaw in such reasoning is that there is nowhere in the world to go where there are no hypocrites.  It has often been said that if you discover the “perfect” church, don’t go in.  If you go in, it will then contain a hypocrite, and you will have ruined it.  We are all hypocrites.  Some of us may try to deny it, but the fact remains that we are all imperfect.

Should you decide to eschew “organized religion” and worship God independently, all you will accomplish is to organize your own, private religion with one member that just happens to be a hypocrite.  So, that doesn’t solve the problem.  Your “private church” will still be full of hypocrites.

Hundreds of years ago, reformers tried to “fix” hypocrisy in the Church.   Consequently, all of the churches started since the Reformation have been started by imperfect human beings who happen to have all been hypocrites.  The Church was originally formed by Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the only man who ever lived that was a perfect, non-hypocrite.  Consequently, when choosing a church, why not at least choose the one that was formed by a perfect, non-hypocrite?  Why should an imperfect hypocrite believe that he or she can re-form what was already formed by the perfect, non-hypocrite, Jesus Christ?

Hypocrites in the Church do not negate the truth of the Church anymore than out-of-shape people in a gym negate the benefits of exercise.  Instead of trying to run away from hypocrites we need to be running towards Christ and embracing the benefits of His Church.  Otherwise, we’re just running from hypocrisy into the arms of more hypocrisy.