Friday, June 04, 2010

"To the Source": Babies, Like Other Humans, Are Natural Hypocrites

Guess what? Babies, shown simple puppet plays depicting good and evil, gravitate to the good puppets. Toddlers, shown the same plays, often try to punish the bad puppets.

The indispensable ToTheSource reports on research demonstrating this outcome, strongly suggesting an inherent moral sense in our youngsters--and ourselves.

Meanwhile, parents continue to observe that their children are profoundly selfish. The same child who wants to punish the bad puppet also acts like the bad puppet at least some of the time.

That, gentle readers, is the human condition in a nutshell: aspiring to the good but failing miserably to achieve it much of the time. Thus also the Christian Scriptures describe the human experience from the first chapters to the last.

This is why we affirm all who declare the church full of hypocrites. All humans are hypocrites, including especially those who proclaim themselves bad to avoid the charge of hypocrisy for failing to be good, as these hypocritically deny their occasional impulses, sometimes acted upon, for the good. Churches are full of hypocrites because if they're full of anything, they're full of humans.

Apply these truths generously all around.


Eric said...

hypocrites- I have a good friend here in KY that is a plain spoken gentleman farmer. A friend once told him he wasn't going to go to church because it was full of hypocrites. To which he replied "Never stopped you from going to Wal*Mart"

Jonathan Woodward said...

First, my laughs go to the above commenter.

Second, good post. I've often told those who use the "hypocrite" excuse for not attending the church, "I think that's a requirement. Otherwise, there would be no one in church!"

JB in CA said...

Hypocrisy is the profession of beliefs and values that one does not really accept as true. It is not (simply) the profession of beliefs and values that one fails to live up to. That's called weakness of the will. If—and I stress the word "if"—the church is full of hypocrites, then those who avoid it for that reason have a point. After all, who wants to receive spiritual advice from people who don't really believe what they're saying?

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

JB, we'd characterize the NT usage of "hypocrite" (Jesus' usage, really), a little differently: failure to live out the identity that one professes for oneself. Our post, however, doesn't focus on that definition or on yours; it plays with the looseness with which the term is used commonly. Your point is well taken if the term is used with the precision that you assign to it.