Monday, October 26, 2009

Professing themselves wise...

Cynicism can be a cheap imitation of wisdom. It means, by definition, to doubt the good of things. The cynic does not think critically and carefully like the sceptic, the cynic dismisses and derides things as worthless. The cynic may consider themselves too wise to be taken in and fooled into believing in anything. And the cynic may think themselves wise and yet become a fool.
To the cynic, anything uplifting or good cannot be true. For sure, sometimes it is necessary to look at things carefully so that we're not deceived. Satan is the arch deceiver. It ( I can't use a personal pronoun like 'he' for something so vile) had its first ever contact with God's children in the Garden of Eden by causing them to doubt God's Word. And the modern approach is to say 'How can a loving God let bad things happen?' etc. The answer is that God does not control us all like little puppets and a lot of the bad things that happen are the fault of humans who make or let them happen. They are not God's doing at all. And if God does not stop disasters like cyclones or earthquakes, that might be because humans choose to ignore Him. Also God does not promise a rose garden, He promises comfort and salvation. But the cynical approach of the 'enlightened intellectual' scorns the idea. They say it is too good to be true. They compare the idea of a loving God to the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. The cynic therefore will not afford themselves the joy that they could receive, and worse, they try to deny it to others.
To themselves, the cynics of this world are too clever to believe in such things. But if they were really so clever, they could see the awesomeness of God in the good things that do happen, even in the midst of the bad. Trouble is, that would be embarrassing to them. It seems clever to just rubbish it all.
So the cynic will let their own 'wisdom' stand between them and coming to know the living God. It is easier to be destructive and contemptuous because it excuses their own mean ungiving behaviour. One author I admire put it this way: "We cannot endure the goodness of God". (Glendon Swarthout in "Bless the Beast and Children."
So the cynic turns their face away from the wonder of God's love and grace, and thinks they are being clever to do that. As the Bible itself says, "Professing themselves wise they became fools."


jel said...

howdy doo Andrew! :)

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

It is not that Christianity has been tried and found failing but has been tried and found too difficult Andrew.

Far easier for the cynic to ignore the pathway that is open before them, because if they did take it then they would have to admit that there is actually a greater being than them.

Andrew Clarke said...

Good point, Peter. It offends the pride of some people to admit the existence of a Divine. They would have to revise their egocentric view of themselves.